What’s our vision for the future of learning?

For 150 years, formal education has adopted an ‘inside-out’ mindset – schools and colleges have usually been organised around the needs of the educators, not the learners. In areas such as research, this is nothing to be embarrassed about, KQED reports.

Ground-breaking inventions and pioneering new thinking often arise from the selfishness that informs so-called ‘blue-sky’ research. Defending such freedoms from the external drive for practical and commercial implementation has often encouraged a necessary insularity.

The new landscape presents a significant upheaval. Inventors and researchers are increasingly working independently outside academia, finding collegial collaboration in the Global Learning Commons. Learners also find themselves in the driving seat because formal education is no longer the only game in town for those eager to learn. How colleges and universities adapt to the customization and personalization of education will largely determine their survival.

… The challenge presented by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is a high-profile example, but not the only one, of a desire for us to ‘hack’ our own learning. The development of MOOCs has been likened to the creation of online music stores.

The emergence of the mp3 allowed listeners to assemble their own playlists of music. Whether paying for it, or pirating it, suddenly, they didn’t have to buy a whole CD to get to the one song they really liked – they began to ‘hack’ their music listening.

And we all know what a cataclysmic event that was for the music industry. It has to be conceded that they did themselves no favors by persecuting 13-year-olds, when they should have been rethinking their business models to reflect consumer preferences.

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