While the traditional model of higher education has served many purposes over the last six decades it is now beginning to display some serious flaws. There have no improvements in productivity in a hundred years with the result that the cost of tuition is creating an unmanageable student debt burden. What follows is an offering of concepts of how learning can be delivered by different models.
Places like Chautauqua, New York and Lakeside, Ohio offer primarily summer programs that are aimed at the entire family. It would seem the ability to explore new ideas with family and friends offers an entirely new level of community learning.
Imagine if colleges and universities whose campuses could be considered destination learning resorts could offer year round chautauquas that provided for individual, family and organizational learning on a week, month and yearly basis. One could imagine partnerships with Hilton and Hyatt.
From Wikipedia: The Agora (Greek: Ἀγορά, Agorá) was a central spot in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is “Gathering place” or “Assembly”. The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city.
Imagine if schools were transitioned from the industrial factory model to a learning community model where young and old could share ideas and learn to appreciate one another. With the ability to provide content, exercises and assessments online we can look at the role of teachers from a new perspective of being a learning guide. Just as robots have replaced manual labor in the factory the manual labor of teaching can be replaced by technology enabling the teachers to preform higher order functions for a much higher salary.
Over 1.2 billion people participate in virtual worlds. The vast majority of these people are under 16. Virtual worlds offer a multi-dimensional platform for experiential learning. Quests can involve peers from around the world. A leader in this area is Dimension M which produces a Massively Multi Player Online Game, MMOG for Algebra.
On a personal individual basis MoDoh Island provides a financial literacy game for teen and young adults that teaches them about credit and the impact of decisions about school.
The list is endless.
During the Stanford introductory course to Artificial Intelligence students used the course blog to ask questions. These in turn were evaluated by students with the Facebook system of “like”. The best questions rose to the top. Then other students would post answers to the questions and students used the Amazon system of five stars to rate the value of the answers. The best answers rose to the top. This created an environment where students around the world were teaching one another.
It is hard to imagine anything that could do more for world peace than a system where the students and citizens of the world learned together by helping one another.