I want to share some points of view about a topic that I am absolutely passionate about. I hope this post helps you better understand what the state of play is and then encourages you to get more actively involved in helping me fix things…
Without question, education is the great equalizer in this world except something is massively broken. We now live in a world where innovation is increasing in frequency every day and time is actually speeding up in a way.
This is a relatively recent phenomenon when you consider that human beings have been around for about 300,000 years and life for most of them hardly changed at all from birth to death. When change did happen, it was incremental and linear in nature.
Slowly but surely though, human beings started to invent technology that allowed us to share information with each other faster than ever which ultimately resulted in us building on top of each other thoughts, ideas and technology at a pace we have never encountered before. In 2018, the only constant is change. And if you think things are moving fast at the moment then brace yourself. We’ve only just got started.
So what does this have to do with education? Well I believe that education is the process of understanding how the world will work in the future and then gaining the necessary skills to be relevant and valuable in this time to come! This is why we send our kids to school in hope that they will learn valuable skills to be relevant in the future. But the current system hasn’t taken the increase of change into consideration so it’s actually preparing our kids to be successful ten years ago.
The disconnect has come about because formal education was originally designed to help people answer the needs of the industrial revolution around 1750. During that time, formal education was needed to help people become better factory workers and once we had this system in place, it became so successful that it moved the world forward at a pace we could never have imagined.
But ever since then, we have been iterating an old system designed for a previous time. Today, we live in the digital revolution which plays to the rules of exponential change while the industrial revolution played to the rules of linear change.
To be clear, I am not against formal education. In fact, I believe it has brought us every good thing we have today but I believe this old system has desperately outrun itself.
By the way, education doesn’t only relate to young people. Today, if adults want to be able to earn money and provide for their families in 1, 2, 5 and 10 years time then they should also take note. Everyone, regardless of age, should be constantly educating themselves so that they are valuable in the future.
My point is this: For us to be prepared for the exponential future that is hurtling toward us, we need to do more than overhaul the old system. Rather, we have to build a new one from the ground up. One where we prioritise self-directed learning, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity over memorisation of facts that are fast becoming irrelevant.
We have to understand that this isn’t 1996 just faster. We live in a new time with a new set of rules that govern how the world works. And more importantly, these new rules won’t stay stagnant but will continue to evolve and become more complex as time goes on. This is why the learned behaviours that previously made us successful won’t take us forward anymore. As a result, we have teach people of all ages to learn how to learn!
The more you study how the world is changing and WHY, the more you see that education in its current state simply won’t suffice. But here’s where it gets really interesting. The world is changing at an exponential rate thanks to a plethora of new age technologies which ironically also enable more and more people to learn about the world at virtually no cost. The internet allows anyone connected to learn about anything at any time at virtually no cost. Combine this with face-to-face learning that’s engaging and interactive and there might just be a new educational dawn on the horizon… Wink.
PS. I started Suits & Sneakers to solve this very problem. It’s all I think about every day! The more people that help solve this problem together, the better.