This recent article in The Economist explains the status of an industry which has failed to evolve for too long. It is really quite mind boggling that today, education is largely delivered in the same way as it was in the industrial revolution. In fact the article says that is has barely changed for centuries.
It is hence not surprising that even in the most developed economies, there is a funding crisis, particularly in higher education. According to Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School, “Fifteen years from now, more than half of the universities in America will be in bankruptcy”.
Online education is only just starting to explode. Apart from taking a lot of cost out of an archaic system of learning, it will level the playing field for a game, which was been designed for the rich, powerful and famous. With technology and the internet, the best content can be delivered by the best educators to most remote and marginalized communities. This, to me, is the most significant aspect of this evolution and revolution. I will write more about this later.
The article also examines some of the issues with online education. I will also write later about how I see some of these issues could evolve. I can imagine wonderful and exciting prospects when we embrace and leverage technology and social media in the field of education. Not least of which would be the impact on global warming.
The third point that this article made is about continuing education and adult learning. In the past, a college education can pretty much see us through our working life. Today, we have many first year students in a 4 year education program who will graduate into jobs that have not been invented yet. Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, of Oxford University, reckon that perhaps 47% of occupations could be automated in the next few decades. The article suggests that traditional education models will not be able to compete with digital/online delivery in cost, speed, scale, accessibility and relevance.
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