Education is not the same thing as learning

Seth Godin
Apr 11, 2019 · 2 min read

Education is an industrial system

It’s a system that’s often mandatory. It’s based on command and control and compliance. It processes humans and seeks to get them to conform. It involves tests and other units of measurement, and if you’re defective, it processes you again.

Not just elementary school, but large-scale higher education. And much of what happens in corporate training as well.

The alternative is enrollment.

Enrollment is what happens when you’re already engaged in the journey, when it’s something you seek out, something you’re eager for.

One becomes a baseball fan not through industrial education (textbooks about baseball! quizzes on the history of baseball! a ‘A’ in baseball!) but through learning. Voluntary engagement in the process.

That’s why we built Akimbo. A series of workshops built around learning.

My theory is that adult learning is different from mandatory education. That adult learning is peer-to-peer and has few of the tropes and expectations of industrial education. That a video lecture is insufficient to actually learn something.

If you want to learn to build a boat, take a workshop.

The internet has always thrived on connection. email, chat, ebay, social media, online dating — these are all tools about connections between and among human beings.

I think learning works the same way.

Show up because you want to be there.

See the others.

Tell the others.

Teach the others.

Fail safely.

Learn from what doesn’t work.

Do work that means something to you.


Isn’t the way we’ve learned everything that matters? From walking to talking to cooking, that’s how humans learn. Because they’re enrolled.

The altMBA has proven to us that this works. That it’s more efficient than 2 years at Stanford, more engaging and opens more doors — in thirty days, surrounded by coaches and fellow travelers from all over the world.

Go, find the others.

PS new story about trust.

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