Archive for February, 2013


February 11, 2013

A supplement to my previous post on disrupting education

Online Learning Insights

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  Albert Einstein

A change of thinking is almost obligatory when considering the future of Higher Education. Last week was the final week of the MOOC Current/Future State of Higher Education (CHFE12); its overarching objective was to explore the influences and pressures facing universities today and to identify where higher education is headed. Numerous esteemed educators [including author and Georgia Tech’s  Richard Demillo and Vice Provost Joel Hartman of University of Central Florida] shared their knowledge, expertise, research, and in some cases predictions via webinars, to shed light on the conundrums within higher ed. The results are surprising, encouraging and telling of what educators need to do to adapt and be prepared.

In this post I’ll share my synopsis of the course by focusing on three areas of change…

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Disrupting our learning

February 11, 2013

The school system is instantly outdated. The very second the students memorize the information and enter it into the final exam, they forget it. And why shouldn’t they? They won’t use it anymore.

We turn knowledge into subjects, and systems into streams. We favor the linear over the complex and we seek clear-cut problems with right or wrong answers rather than offer ambiguous dilemmas with uncertain consequences to our decisions, thus enhancing our leadership skills. Basically, we create a fabricated world that is irrelevant to how we live our lives, use information or make decisions.

For the past century, this system worked fine as the industrial age favored the belt-educated factory workers. But now in the information age, where everything and everyone is connected, no specialization can work in silo from others, and no field of technology can ever succeed without depending on a number of other subjects, along with their own branches of learning, style, and discoveries. How else can we employ analogy across topics and deliver creative outcomes?

Texture of the school subject


Some colleges and universities have attempted to offer a solution using a multidisciplinary approach. You major in two or more subjects and you find connections to improve all. Yet, this approach is delivered the same way as the rest of the majors, by experts passing their teaching of their specific subject and students learning from a number of experts from different fields try to find or relate topics to each other. Thus the student may become multidisciplinary but the teachers themselves are not.

What if we can find a way to teach and learn in a multidisciplinary process? What would it look like? What if everyone in the room is both teaching and learning at the same time? Using their own colorful style and subject? What if we all are trying to learn our very own subject in a brand new way? Will still be experts after?

This is an attempt I’m trying to make.

By inviting a number of creative minds, each specialized in a different subject, they will teach and learn at the same time. The process will keep in mind the different learning styles (auditory, visually, and kinaesthetically), as well as use different tools borrowed from the creativity toolbox and design thinking. The results will be circulated for all interested, including followers of this blog.

To kick off this project, join me in a MOOC webinar (#cmc11) on February the 14th (12:00pm NY time, 9:00pm Dubai time) to talk about this very “subject”.

If you are in or near Dubai, UAE this month, give me a shout and join our event in the last week of February 2013. More on that to come soon.