Sign up FAST! Login

Degrees don't matter anymore; skills do.

Stashed in: Education!, Harvard

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

As the cost of a college education skyrockets it seems prudent if not necessary to improve education at all levels.  

The good news is that a total transformation of education is coming, whether the educational establishment likes it or not. I draw my account of this transformation of education from two prophetic books by Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen and his co-authors:

  • Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clay Christensen, Curtis Johnson and Michael Horn
  • The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out by Clay Christensen and Henry J. Eyring.

The road ahead is clear: the potential in each student can be unlocked by combining the power of computers, software, and the internet with the human touch of a teacher-as-coach to motivate that student to work hard at learning. Technology brings several elements to the equation:

customized lessons adapted to each student’s individual learning style at a cost that won’t break the bank

But since motivation—the desire to learn—is so important, a human teacher to act as coach is also crucial. In particular, without a coach, the flexibility for students to learn at their own pace can be a two-edged sword, because it makes it easy to procrastinate. 

In the end, none of this will be hard. The technology and content for that technology are already good and rapidly improving. And although it is a bit much to expect someone to be both a great and inspirational coach and to be at the cutting edge of an academic field, the number of great athletic coaches and trainers at all levels indicates that, on its own, being an inspirational coach is not that rare. Being an inspirational coach in an academic setting is not quite the same thing, but I am willing to bet that it, too, is blessedly common. By having the cutting-edge knowledge from the best scientists and savants in the world built into software and delivered in online lectures, all a community college has to do to deliver a world-class education is to hire teachers who know how to motivate students.

Skills always mattered. Now even more. 

You May Also Like: