This post is highly unstructured. It is a set of questions and thoughts for a broader essay on how broader technological advancement plays out in education and work.

  • To understand the future we should look into the past. How did the current K-12 and college come to be? What was the innovation that drove the creation of these institutions? What can we learn from those forces, if anything. Detail some of the forces of government, religion and industry have played defining roles in the formation and purpose of some of the world’s ‘top’ schools.
  • Let’s dive into the relationship between industry and education. How have they played a role in the past, and how do these forces drive each other. Look into the major revolutions - agricultural, industrial and information.
  • In the knowledge economy, education and work are tied together much more closely than prior revolutions. In the past - education was theory and work was practical. Now, those worlds are intertwined. Learning never stops, and the application is fundamental to the learning experience. These facts reinforce the connection:
    • Companies are playing increasing roles in supporting the student journey (from the rise in co-operative education, ISA’s, to company sponsored education). Examples of this are Lambda, Holberton, Springboard.
    • Companies are learning machines that produce capital and knowledge. They behave like learning communities. In the past, the knowledge of company operation could be managed by a small group of executives. Now, there is so much knowledge being created at all levels that acting on business knowledge is required at all levels.
    • The tools of learning are shared with the tools of working. What we do to compound information, individually and in teams, play roles in achieving student outcomes.
  • As education and work become more intertwined, credentialism doesn’t just belong to the education sector. A 5 year stint at Google may be more respected and lead to better economic outcomes than a Harvard degree. But it goes beyond that. We have to recognize that learning is a lifelong journey and people acquire skills throughout their life - and our credential system looks less like a diploma mounted on a wall. It looks a set of badges representing skills both learned and applied. There is an interesting opportunity to turn every college degree into a set of badges, and solve the global credentialling crisis where credit isn’t recognized across borders.
  • We are seeing a micro-ization of work and education. The rise of the gig economy is allowing people to diversify their income streams. Self directed workers, the micro-entrepreneurs. The availability of online resources making self directed learning impossibly easy. Instead of spending years at school and then years at work, people have started time dividing their careers into smaller chunks. 8 years seems like a lifetime at a company.
  • This is not a zero sum game - the existing education system will always have a role to play, but the rise of a new system will allow for self directed learners and workers. This brings opportunity to support this infrastructure as well.