The New Learning Paradigm- Get off the textbook!

Recently, I was reading up on the Thiel Fellowship- An Acumen Fund Type Fellowship or Ashoka Fellowship for super bright young professionals and undergrads under the age of 20, who are real early starters. The catch is however, that these smart chaps take an off from formal tertiary education for two years and spend time in pioneering their own research projects or commercial ventures. A 100k USD scholarship is a decent carrot for their prodigies. Dale Stephens, is a Thiel Fellow and founder of the Un College Movement, which believes College is way to perennial debt and 4 years of needless fun. He is formulating a firm which delivers self directed learning mechanisms. A graduation degree is an equivalent of a high school diploma, 30 years back. We are diagnosed with higher education degree dependence and paralysis. Now, one grad degree is not enough, its the age of double degrees, MD-MPH, MBA-MPP in simple words, one degree is passe! In the age of hyper connectivity and smart phones, data is ensconced in our consciousness. With TED, Open Courseware and multiple learning sources on the internet, learning is open source and free.  The Khan Academy, is providing school tuition classes for free online, which is accelerating the learning curve.

The Text book in this Web 2.0 era is obsolete. Wikipedia was a game changer in democratizing access to information. However, Access to Computers and High Speed Net Connectivity is a limiting factor in the developing world. In the next decade, as technology proliferates and penetrates the walled cities built by the digital divide, things will change for the better. Learning in ten years in a conventional classroom setting will be very technology dependent and will usher in the era of personalized education. The best of simulations and visualizations are available online for science and engineering. Almost almost all books and textbooks are available in e-version on peer to peer sharing websites. The education industry would have to radically shift its business model, if it has to stay relevant in the coming decade, as an alternative education model is evolving.

5 thoughts on “The New Learning Paradigm- Get off the textbook!

  1. The textbook in its current state will be obsolete, with no updating for years, fundamentals will be fundamentals, although the textbook in its digital avataar will be dyanmic

  2. The book will not die so easily. However, online learning is certainly the way to go. Also, the coming up of such fellowships as Thiel’s is a clear sign that education as it stands today is unimaginative, does not help boost creativity and does not empower people with the skills necessary to be employable. All we have achieved so far is to say no to everything.

  3. Education has to enable us to think as well as to do, the traditional academic set up has serious lacunae in producing the right talent equipped with correct skill set and attitude, dogmatism has to give way to pragmatism

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