For a moment, I want you to forget everything you know about traditional education. Don’t think about whether schooling as you know it is good or bad or anything.
Instead, I’d like to invite you to imagine what education could be.
As you think it over, consider the world we live in.
Smartphones. 5G networks. High-speed internet. Live-streaming. Video conferencing. Social media. Online learning platforms.
Long story short…Our world thrives on connectivity. So just consider the unprecedented opportunity that same collective, digital experience offers when it comes to education.
Instead of thinking about how to preserve systems of the past, what if we created new pathways for learning? Faster. Cheaper. And more similar to the way people already experience the world – digitally.
What if, instead of:
- Driving costs higher and higher, education became more affordable than ever?
- Extending the timeline to “become educated” farther and farther, education became faster and more effective than ever?
- Cramming more and more information into a “standardized education,” education consisted of less and less “when will I ever need to know this?” material?
- Pitting students against one another on a quest to perform best compared to each other, education provided a customized learning experience, tailored to the interests and needs of each individual learner?
- Weighing every young person down with massive amounts of debt as a first “rite of passage” into the real world, education offered true upward mobility and access to a better quality of life?
- Prolonging childhood longer and longer, education treated young people as capable and critical, independent-thinking individuals?
- Measuring success through artificial metrics, the value of an education took into account an individual’s capacity to create a life he or she deems fulfilling?
- Awarding framed wall decor, education resulted in higher quality of life?
Questions like this could go on and on. But the main point here is to use your imagination to think differently about education.
Recently, we conducted a survey of more than 35,000 subscribers to get at the heart of some of these questions. They offered a range of suggestions. And I want to highlight several responses that offer some ideas about what education could be. So, without further ado…
What is the purpose of education?
“The purpose of education is to gain knowledge and skills.”
“To expand the mind, explore the world, learn to learn, and build skills.” – Mark A. Montgomery, Founder and CEO, Great College Advice
“Education means to “bring up” and “draw out” the best out of a human being. The “purpose” of education is 2-fold: #1. To give people the tools to create life for themselves the way they see fit. #2. To be the “soil” that nurtures mutually beneficial relationships (a healthy give-n-take) with oneself and the world around them.” – Chase Gielda, Owner of Over Active Mind Meditation
“To give a student the intellectual tools to accomplish his goals.” –Steven Crow, PhD Caltech
“The purpose of education is to introduce new experiences while encouraging critical thinking and connection to inner wisdom–a process that never ends.”
“I think to allow you to fulfill your desired life.” – Justin Rankert
“The purposes of education is to discover what excites you, what obsesses you, and what gives you purpose, meaning, and growth.” – Joel Bein
What do you think are the most important results of a successful education?
“DISCOVERY! From the root word of education, it is obvious that the main purpose of education is to discover hidden talents, purposes, potentials, skills, and all.” –Abdulrasaq Amolegbe, Founder JnrTalks
“Confidence, character, and continued learning. Also mastery of the specific skill set out to learn.”
“Successful education results in the confidence to learn new things, to try new things, to find resources and answers when necessary and to never give up.”
“The most important outcome is the happiness of the student.” – Alex Wahl
“Whatever results matter to that individual”
“Finding a path that suits their personality and leads them to a life of happiness and success; knowing success has several different definitions.” –Dionne
“A person who is independent, who knows who they are, knows what they like doing best, and knows enough about the world around them, and is fully practiced at participation in democratic life as an individual.” –Derek Sheppard, Democratic Learning and Living Admin
From your own experience, what do you feel is the most effective way to learn?
“From my experience, the most effective way to learn is to be immersed in a subject. Physically practice it; find a connection to a subject though some life experience or fascination.” – Edia Stanford-Bruce, M.Ed.
“There is no single manner that is most effective. Each person learns differently.” –Tamara Lever, MEd, M.A.
“To learn subject matter – content consumption. Including reading articles and books, watching videos, and listening to podcasts/audio-books. To learn professional skills: Practice and real-world experience. Organize data in excel, send out your own cold emails, launch your own marketing campaign, etc. You won’t truly learn a skill until you actually do it. In other words, you can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar.” –David Fraile
“I prefer self-directed learning where possible– reading, hands-on, experimenting.” –Doreen Hendrickson
“In order to truly learn anything, you need to feel motivated. You have to have a want to.”
“Self-directed with mentor’s guidance and hands on experience.” –Mary Lipscomb
How should what people learn be determined?
“They should choose what interests them.”
“It should be mostly determined by the individual doing the learning.” – Brianne Good, Homeschool student turned Homeschool Educator and Evaluator
“By personal desires and needs.” –Rehn Hunt
“Choosing WHAT you learn is as individual as fingerprints. It starts with interests and curiosity, The rest fall into place.” – Joel Bein
“Their personal interests. Many people have a distaste for school but I know very few people who couldn’t name a class from high school or college that they’d be willing to spend all day in. I think people would be happier if they had more options to pursue what they’re passionate about rather than trying to put everyone in the same shaped box.” – Alex Wahl
“Individuals should determine what to learn based on their own interests and motivations (with parental guidance).” –Mona Koerner, Executive Director, Parent Led Academic Network Team, Inc.
“Beyond a core knowledge that every independent citizen needs to possess, most people will effectively learn any topic in which they have interest.” –Doreen Hendrickson
What do you believe the future of education looks like?
“The internet is leveling the playing field for students that want to further their education. Hopefully employers will realize that a college degree doesn’t make a good employee.” – Mark Rumsey, Senior Visualization Specialist at Kia Design America
“I think slowly people are rejecting the idea that education only happens with a classroom and a lecturer. I think smaller collaborative groups will start to emerge as will internships and self study.” –Mary Lipscomb
“A hybrid version; some online, some on campus. Hopefully new shorter cheaper paths emerge and grow, maybe in technology, fintech, other fields beyond just coding etc. that lead to good jobs. Build a culture that no longer worships the traditional bachelor’s degree. Have employer AI systems that look beyond traditional degrees. Have HS seniors and parents appreciate these things (remove the stigmas) so they are not pressured into traditional college, at least not right away. Hopefully costs come down drastically.” –Dave Wynn
“Online. Self-directed. Self-paced. With feedback to help in the learning process.”
“Decentralized. No more central credential. Schools that use Neuroscience, Gamification everywhere and incentivized education – users are rewarded to learn using cryptocurrency like Ethereum.” – @33_Nanoseconds
“A network connecting individual learners to multiple mentors and other resources unique for each learner.” –Mona Koerner, Executive Director, Parent Led Academic Network Team, Inc.
“The future of education is privatization. Literally just look at the numbers. Over $100 billion dollars was spent on INFORMATION PRODUCTS just last year (2019). Information products represent the movement of people taking their education into their own hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if more niche-like communities began popping up holding “workshops” teaching people how to do certain things. Eventually I see this throwing a wrench into a whole new world of privatized certification.” –Chase Gielda, Owner of Over Active Mind Meditation
“Far more customizable (or what Celente referred to as “bite sized learning” a # of years ago in his futurist publication). More distance-, remote-, online-delivery. (Learning from the mistakes of the original “MOOC” movement). Better aligned with the economy. Far less “time based” and more “competency” centric.” –SJ Barakony, Founder, Service Before Self Leadership
Well, there ya have it folks – the start of a discussion about what education could be. This is by no means a comprehensive proposal for the future of education. And it’s not meant to be. Instead, it’s meant to be the start of a conversation. We’re going to continue diving into this topic on the blog and our latest podcast (which you can check out here). If you’d like to join in on the conversation, just tweet at us @DiscoverPraxis with your answer to “What could education be?”