The Greatest Change in Education since the Printing Press

Life long learning and self development are two hallmarks of truly great people. But isn't it difficult ot get time to learn, at least in the formal sense?

The corporate approach for decades has been to select it's best and brightest and dispatch them to the recognised business schools. The MBA was the passport to bigger and greater
things. The message in the annual report of the company was - 'We invest in our people, we have an eye to the future and this is a key element of our succession planning strategy'

Professional bodies placed emphasis on continuing professional development or CPD to enable members to remain informed and current in their practices. Perhaps some of these bodies did not do enough to challenge emerging practices that ultimately contributed to financial meltdown.

Any way, the point is that learning and development in the traditional sense has heretofore been a highly organised, regulated and controlled activity.

 

Alvin Toffler, the great American writer and futurist, says that the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

In the digital era that defines much of what we do in 2013 and beyond, learning is more crucial than ever.The pace of change now upon us drives obsolesence of all kinds; products, services, professions and yes, people. To remain relevant, one has to learn and learn continuosly. Numerous enablers have evolved, are readily available and for the most part, free! Blogs, websites, free content from businesses, TED videos, Google Scholar and the list goes on. Learning has been democratised in a sense.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) phenomenon is exciting and has to be the biggest change in education since the printing press! MOOCs are delivered fully online via streaming video, online forum, written and interactive online materials. Social media tools - Google Plus,
LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype enable students to share, connect, collaborate, create and learn.

And yes, they cost nothing! Some of the most august institutions worldwide - Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Berkeley are now providing incredible opportunity for those who want to learn.

How to access these? A former Stanford professor is a partner in Udacity, MIT have set up MITx, 2 Stanford Professsors have launched Coursera; Harvard and MIT have launched edX; Coursera now offers 400 courses from 60 plus top universities around the world, all free!

Polarised views are expressed by educators and other stakeholders in regard to MOOC. As with any emerging tech enabled development, there are problems that need to be addressed. 

Folks, it is time to start MOOCing. Embrace the incredible opportunity that we are presented with. Learn things you always had an interest in but never had the time or the money to pursue.

Think of it, all that opportunity to learn and grow and develop personally and professionally; to be relevant in the workplace, to develop new skills and knowledge; all at your own pace, your own time, your own life long learning.

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