The Inverse Khan Academy

Zach C
Zach C
Nov 27, 2014 · 5 min read

How to Reinvent Education After Computers Replace Lectures

Why Lectures?

Modern colleges look a lot like lecture farms. Huge halls bring hundreds of students in a room so they can sit and passively receive information. Tests ask, “What do you remember from the lecture?” Class schedules are an itinerary of weekly talks.

The Automation of Educational Content

In the past, the most economic way to transfer information to students was by lecture. Schools can charge hundreds of students high prices for a seat in the hall. If you weren’t in the hall, you didn’t get a lecture.

College is About Sociality

With content widely available, what’s next?

The ‘college experience’ is more about sociality than content. It always has been. Now we have the technology to focus colleges on this strength.


With computers taking care of areas like administration and lectures, colleges now need to look for other things to do. A phrase I like to use is “we need computers to do computer things so that humans can do human things.”

Khan Academy says, “Here’s all the content. You figure out the process.”

The Inverse Khan Academy says, “Here’s a process (or let’s figure one out together). You find the content.”

The Inverse Khan Academy focuses on the human stuff.

A Critical Mass of Interesting People

Who you hang out with likely determines more about your education than what lectures you hear. So what colleges need to do is to bring together a critical mass of interesting people [2]. When you hang out with smart people, you get smarter. So get smart people in a shared space.

Taken to an extreme, this model starts to look more like a club than a college.

Big, impersonal lecture halls are replaced with intimate areas for individual focus or group collaboration. Students may spend much of their time working or adventuring outside the college itself. Beyond a skeleton crew, faculty is on constant rotation. Like a Boy Scout troop, students enjoy group discounts for their excursions together.

    Zach C

    Written by

    Zach C

    Technical: Node, React, Serverless, GraphQL and more… | Human: focus, optimism, minimalism |