Education Through Deception

I happened upon this video via Russell Davies. You should watch it.

This video is important because we are all sitting on a massive shift toward online education, (I’m convinced of it.) The number of potential students in the world vastly out number the available teachers and the cost of education is skyrocketing. If you consider the number of mature adults who need to be retrained for new jobs the audience becomes even bigger. (sorry I don’t have statistics.)

There are institutions grappling with new cost models to deliver education given the continual cost of services. These institutions have two options, a) perform a self-surgery that reduces costs to a sustainable level or b) educate through cheaper, mass channels. This will be a Hobson’s choice; the latter is the only option.

The video linked above hints towards a big(ger) problem in online education; what got us here will not get us there. As we transition to an online learning channel, the methods that served us in an interpersonal method aren’t as effective in a distance method.

In the video, the moderator basically lays out two different education scenarios; one is a confirmation of what is known (similar to how we might have been taught in class room), the other a scenario constructed to deceive the viewer (to lull them into a learning moment.) After the learner is tricked into realizing there is more to be learned, they are open to learning. The multi-sensory environment of the classroom may have helped us learn this in the past, but in the future we’ll have to relay on new methods (this is just one).

As we transition to new mediums, we’ll deal with behaviors that struggle with the new context (hence the deception). Then as we move beyond moments interpersonal moments, we need to design for new learning moments. (and we should lean on metrics). 

We live in amazing times, and our new online mediums will not only help us educate masses, it will help us understand who leads better under what conditions. But the biggest thing to remember is that online learning will be nothing like the learning we’ve all received to this point. And (if we can get over ourselves) we’ll be all the better for it. 



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