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The Text book in this Web 2.0 era is obsolete.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.