The world is heading towards free education and training – what next?
Since I wrote my last post, I have not been able to stop thinking about where things are heading ?
Remember the 80’s, no not the hair, the music, the shoulder pads! Websites. I remember them being well over $10,000. These days, you can instantly create your own website and have it live in hours, for little or no cost.
Now we see the same thing in elearning. The cost of elearning coming down all of the time with the introduction of rapid tools. (What that has done for online learning per se is hard to say, given that often time people can use the tool but not understand and apply sound instructional design principles, but that is another blog post all on it’s own)
We see the likes of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) run by incredibly prestigious universities, for free. www.cousera.org is a good example. I am currently participating in a Gamification Course, over 70000 people signed up, over 42000 are actively engaged. It’s 12 weeks. It’s free. (imagine if they had just charged $10, $20, $30 per head! I would have paid at least $100 to attend)
We see the Khan Academy, running most high school courses on maths, science etc. For free.
And the platforms go on, no or very low cost knowledge being disseminated via the web.
So that got me thinking, so where so that leave the suppliers of training, elearning etc, when there is so much information on the web and so many free courses, for such low cost. And that led me to Bloom’s Taxonomy (no surprise here as a Specialist L&D Company that we are called Bloom!)
And if you don’t know Blooms. Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). (More info here)
These are the levels of the ‘cognitive’ or ‘knowing’ domain, where most corporate L&D professionals work.
I believe that the ‘knowledge’ and possibility the ‘comprehension’ levels can be found on the internet. So providers of pure knowledge may struggle with declining work.
However, I see the opportunity to fine tune the service offering to:
Firstly, helping with higher order thinking. Helping people apply their knowledge and understanding. Helping them with the Analysis of their work in line with best practice. And helping them create new things from their knowledge (synthesis) and helping them evaluate. This lends it self to more workshop style delivery, facilitation rather than show and tell ‘talking head’ at the front of the room.
Secondly, not forgetting that one of humans biggest drivers after the basics is relatedness and social connection. These are things that cannot always be gained from getting your information from the net. Suppliers of training can create environments where learning and social interaction connect.
And thirdly, as experts in whatever field we choose, we may become curators of knowledge, and help those who are drowning in a sea of information, make sense and sythesise what is out there.
So it is not all doom and gloom, but I do believe those who will survive and thrive, will be those who take this shift into consideration and move to where the world is heading in term of learning, whether that be online or off line.
I hope to see your views on this phenomenon.