From DSC:
I appreciate Kevin Wheeler’s comment on Jay Cross’ posting entitled “A Solution to the College Crisis” (emphasis below from DSC)

In response to Jay Cross:

Higher education in the United States is broken. Costs are ouf of control. Students are dissatisfied. Graduates can’t get jobs. Says MIT’s Andy McAfee, “What’s going on is halfway between a bubble and a scandal.” I propose we put higher ed back on track by founding Corporate Colleges. Corporate colleges break higher […]

Jay,

As you know I have written a book on Corporate Universities and have spent many years at the “coal face” of learning, work and formal education. What you propose is actually what many corporate universities are offering today (except for your funding approach). It works well at the professional levels where people already have skills and degrees but seek additional competence.

it works much less well with entry level folks and people with minimal education. Many of these folks lack basic skills or are functionally illiterate. Some are reluctant to sink time into learning, especially if it reduces pay. Many have social issues and have had bad experiences learning in school. They are not predisposed to learn in any way that looks like learning.

They need personal attention, work-based apprentice-like education, and a tremendous amount of coaching with consistent motivation or interest falls off. It is a dilema that technology works much less well at this level and therefore costs for coaching go up while the benefit to a corporation is minimal. Most organizations would rather invest in those who are already performing than try and educate entry-level or marginal folks.

Everything you propose makes perfect sense, but it is damn hard to get it to work in reality.

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From DSC:
This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been trying to address — if people don’t like learning, it will be very hard to get them to become lifelong learners (something that has become a requirement these days). 

To those of us working within K-12 and/or higher education:

One of the greatest gifts that we can possibly give to our students is a chance for them to identify and develop their God-given passions, interests, and abilities.  If we create the “space” for this to occur, an enormous amount of internal energy and will power will be released.

Check out this video for a perfect example of this!!!

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IfStudentsDesignedTheirOwnSchools-March2013

 

To those folks working within the corporate world:

How can your organization’s culture be tweaked to better support people and their development?  This might be putting more resources towards helping internal employees develop their own learning ecosystems — based upon their interests, passions, career goals — and/or hiring entry-level folks and then helping develop them.  Besides helping to make the world a better place, this approach just might just turn out to be a solid business move.

Nine rules for stifling innovation — from blogs.hbr.org by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

  1. Be suspicious of any new idea from below — because it’s new, and because it’s from below. After all, if the idea were any good, we at the top would have thought of it already.
  2. Invoke history. If a new idea comes up for discussion, find a precedent in an earlier idea that didn’t work, remind everyone of that bad past experience. Those who have been around a long time know that we tried it before, so it won’t work this time either.
  3. Keep people really busy. If people seem to have free time, load them with more work.
  4. In the name of excellence, encourage cut-throat competition. Get groups to critique and challenge each others’ proposals, preferably in public forums, and then declare winners and losers.
  5. Stress predictability above all. Count everything that can be counted, and do it as often as possible. Sweep any surplus into master accounts, and eliminate any slack. Favor exact plans and guarantees of success. Don’t credit people with exceeding their targets because that would just undermine planning. Insist that all procedures be followed.
  6. Confine discussion of strategies and plans to a small circle of trusted advisors. Then announce big decisions in full-blown form. This ensures that no one will start anything new because they never know what new orders will be coming down from the top.
  7. Act as though punishing failure motivates success. Practice public humiliation, making object lessons out of those who fail to meet expectations. Everyone will know that risk-taking is bad.
  8. Blame problems on the incompetent people below — their weak skills and poor work ethic. Complain frequently about the low quality of the talent pool today. If that doesn’t undermine self-confidence, it will undermine faith in anyone else’s ideas.
  9. Above all, never forget that we got to the top because we already know everything there is to know about this business.

 

From DSC:
The above posting reminds me of the phrase…”culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

On the flip side of things, see:

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Higher education and the fiscal threat -- from The Parthenon Group - November 2012

 

Addendum on 12/14/12:

  • Big construction costs, MOOC disruption mean ominous cocktail for higher ed — from educationdive.com by Davide Savenije
    Dive Summary:

    • After years of aggressive expansion efforts, higher education is facing the consequences — according to Moody’s, overall debt levels for rated institutions more than doubled from 2000 to 2011 while donations and investments shrank by more than 40% relative to the debt.
    • While debt has swiftly reached a tipping point for universities, they are not alone —  the total amount of student debt currently exceeds $1 trillion and nearly one in every six borrowers’ student loan balance is in default.
    • Experts and school officials are predicting an imminent reshaping of the field of higher education — Harvard’s annual fiscal report claims “the need for change is clear” as institutions face a decreased “ability to generate […] new resources”.
    • As prospective students become aware of the decreasing value of the higher ed degree, the sudden emergence of MOOCs are becoming an increasingly viable and economically-friendly alternative.

 

From DSC:
We had better step up the pace of innovating/experimenting – and move to do so quickly. But the problem is, moving quickly is not in the cultures of most of the more traditional institutions of higher education.

 

Also relevant:

My notes on two presentations from the Learning Without Frontiers Conference, London, 26th January 2012:

My notes for:
Sir Ken Robinson’s talk

Practice <–>Theory <–> Policy

  • People who practice don’t often have time to get the latest and greatest information re: theory
  • Theorists don’t have much time for practice
  • Policy makers don’t know much about either 🙂

Purposes of education:

  • Economic.  Not solely, but there are economic reasons for providing education. Academic vs vocation programs – Sir Ken doesn’t subscribe to this dichotomy in educational DNA. Need new sorts of education
  • Cultural. Aim to pass on cultural genes – values, beliefs
  • Personal. The most important! In the end, education is ultimately, personal. Too much impersonal testing that students aren’t engaged in.

Key point:

  • There is everything you can do – at all levels; many of us ARE the educational system – at least for the group(s) of students that we are working with. So we can make immediate changes; and collectively this can create a revolution.

Education not linear, not monolithic. Rather, it’s a complex, adaptive system – many moving parts, like a vortex…not like an undistributed canal; more like an ocean with different forces tugging this way and that. (From DSC: I agree with what Sir Ken is saying here, but I especially agree with this particular perspective — thus the name of this blog.)

Personalization is key! Education needs to be customized to the communities where it’s taking place.

Principles

  • Curriculum – towards disciplines (skills, processes, procedures) and away from subjects
  • Teaching & Learning – dynamic; flow of knowledge; not static; forms need to tap into streams; move towards collaborative activities; active learning trumps passive learning
  • Assessment – must move from judgment to description

 


My notes (part way) for:
Jim Knight – If Steve Jobs Designed Schools

What if Steve Jobs had re-invented the education system rather the computer and consumer electronics industry?

Steve Jobs was a contradictory character, combining control freak and Zen Buddhist, and technology with design. He had a revolutionary impact on computing, animation, the music industry, printing, and publishing. Last year he and Bill Gates together expressed surprise at how little impact technology had had on schools. Jobs’s wife is an educational reformer, he was a college dropout; but what would it have been like if Steve Jobs had focused on education? What would the Jobs School be like?

How do we make an insanely great school?

  • Must go really deep to create something that’s easy to use (from DSC — I call this “Easy is hard.”) Need to de-clutter the teaching & learning environment, the curriculum, the qualifications, and the people.
  • How does it make me feel when I walk through the doorway of your school?
  • Get to choose who you want to learn with and from
  • Simple, beautiful space; flexible; social; reflective, all year round
  • More seductive, intuitive, enthralling
  • Does it inspire curiosity?
  • “Don’t need instructions”
  • Not just a school – learning doesn’t stop when school bell rings
  • 24×7 thing
  • Curriculum
  • Is there a range of things to interest everyone?
  • Need more choice; selection; more control of their learning
  • All ages
  • Enterprising
  • Creative, technical, practical…but most of all, it would be fun!

More here…


 

http://edudemic.com/2012/02/remixing-high-school-education/

Excerpt:

The Hip-Hop culture is one both traditional and dynamic, an approach or philosophy as much as a term connotative of the East Coast rap scene. And as Sam Seidel explains, it has the potential to inform re-imagining of how we learn.

We’re going to have a much closer look at this concept in the March of our iPad Edudemic Magazine. For a quick preface…

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7 billion -- from the National Geographic Society

Also see:

 

 

 

Questions for God from behind bars — from redletterchristians.org by Morf Morford

Excerpt:

What question would you ask God? I was naive enough to raise that question in my class at the county jail. These guys; felons, addicts, forty year old high school drop-outs, had some remarkable insights about who a believable god should be – and what He should be able to do – and how – or whether – it mattered that anything like God existed. Dinosaurs, injustice, seemingly unfair or exploitive actions by others – especially adults toward children – and why it was so much easier to be bad than to be good.

I left the worksheets behind and came into the jail with a large sheet of paper that I could stick to the bare wall and some markers. I had no lesson plan, no materials, no agenda. I took a big gulp and entered the jail with prayer and my blank sheet of paper. I asked the inmates what they needed to talk about.

A devotion for Wall Street — from www.redletterchristians.org (a blog by Tony Campolo & friends) by Shane Claiborne; with a special thanks going out to Mr. David Goodrich for posting a URL to this item via LinkedIn

Excerpt:

A reporter recently asked me, “As a Christian leader, does your faith have anything to say about Wall Street?”  I said, “How much time do you have?”

The Christian message has a lot to say to Wall Street.

Theologian Karl Barth said, “We have to read the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.”  For too long we Christians have used our faith as a ticket out of this world rather than fuel to engage it.

In his parables, Jesus wasn’t offering pie-in-the-sky theology… he was talking about the real stuff of earth.  He talks about wages, debt, widows and orphans, unjust business owners and bad politicians. In fact Woody Guthrie breaks it all down in his song “Jesus Christ”.  The song ends with Woody singing, “This song was written in New York City… If Jesus were to preach what he preached in Galilee, they would lay him in his grave again.”

From the Start here page at RLC.org:

The goal of Red Letter Christians is simple: To take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture, and especially embracing the lifestyle prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount.

Ironically, it was a secular Jewish country-and-western disc jockey in Nashville, Tennessee who first suggested that title. During a radio interview with my friend Jim Wallis, that deejay declared, “You’re one of those Red-Letter Christians – you know, the ones who are really into all those New Testament verses that are in red letters!” When Jim said, “That’s right!” he answered for all of us. By calling ourselves Red Letter Christians, we refer to the fact that in many Bibles the words of Jesus are printed in red. What we are asserting, therefore, is that we have committed ourselves first and foremost to doing what Jesus said.

The world changed, colleges missed it — from edreformer.com by Tom Vander Ark

A bunch of colleges are going out of business, only they don’t know it. They pretend that trimming costs and jacking tuition is a solution.  They haven’t come to terms with a world where anyone can learn anything almost anywhere for free or cheap. Art Levine, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, sees three major change forces: new competition, a convergence of knowledge producers, and changing demographics.

To Art’s list of three big change forces, add shrinking government support, the press for more accountability, and emerging technology…the next few decades will be marked by a lumpy move to competency-based learninginstant information and the ability to learn anything anywhere.

The shift to personal digital learning is on.  Some colleges get that.  Others will seek bailouts until they go out of business.  Working adults are getting smart on their own terms.

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From DSC:
Time will tell if Tom’s assertions are too harsh here, but personally, I think he’s right.

I have it that:

  • There is a bubble in higher ed
  • There also exists a perfect storm that’s been forming for years within higher ed and the waves are cresting
    .The perfect storm in higher ed -- by Daniel S. Christian

  • Institutions of higher education need to check themselves before they become the next Blockbuster
    .Do not underestimate the disruptive impact of technology -- June 2009

  • We must not discount the disruptive powers of technology nor the trends taking place today (for a list of some of these trends, see the work of Gary Marx, as well as Yankelovish’s (2005) Ferment and Change: Higher Education in 2015)
  • Innovation is not an option for those who want to survive and thrive in the future.

Specifically, I have it that we should be experimenting with:

  • Significantly lowering the price of getting an education (by 50%+)
  • Providing greater access (worldwide)
  • Offering content in as many different ways as we can afford to produce
  • Seeking to provide interactive, multimedia-based content that is created by teams of specialists — for anytime, anywhere, on any-device type of learning (24x7x365)at any pace!
  • “Breaking down the walls” of the physical classroom
  • Pooling resources and creating consortiums
  • Reflecting on what it will mean if online-based exchanges are setup to help folks develop competencies
  • Working to change our cultures to be more willing to innovate and change
  • Thinking about how to become more nimble as organizations
  • Turning more control over to individual learner and having them create the content
  • Creating and implementing more cross-disciplinary assignments

.

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Creating a culture of innovation — from Gallup Management Journal by Jason Krieger
In the “new normal,” fostering innovation will be a driver of organic growth. Organizations must have these six key steps in place.

Also see:

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From –> The Ultimate Use for 360 Feedback (2008).

Starting at paragraph #3:

A much more powerful application of 360-degree feedback goes beyond the diagnosis to support changes in behavior (emphasis DSC). A doctor’s diagnosis can reveal the disease, but this information can’t cure it. Likewise, 360-degree feedback can identify priority areas for improvement, but this information isn’t enough to improve work habits. Changing a behavior pattern may require instruction, followed by months of reinforcement. Try changing the way you eat or the way you swing a golf club. Tiger Woods made changes in his swing early in 2004, and he didn’t start to win again until almost a year later, after persisting through hours of practice every day.

The problem is that even with the best of intentions, when people try to do things differently, initial attempts tend to feel awkward. When these efforts don’t achieve the desired result, frustration and discouragement follow. Without a formal program of follow-through reinforcement and without support from the direct manager and others in the workplace, people tend to fall back on what feels familiar and comfortable. They eventually return to their old way of doing things. (emphasis DSC).

To achieve the desired changes in behavior, 360-degree feedback needs to be followed by several months of reinforcement, involving ongoing learning, ongoing feedback, coaching and accountability. It takes that long for the brain cells to grow and reconnect into new pathways that are the physical basis for new behavior patterns.(emphasis DSC).

From DSC:
I’m reflecting on this in that I agree that:

  • It takes time to change
  • It takes a sustained, purposeful, often-times tough effort to change
  • It takes buying into the need for change

Now…I’m thinking about what it takes to change behavior on a massive scale…say as in a university or college. Affecting the culture and/or the strategic directions of a university or college — to the point of a massive change in behavior — WOW! No wonder why culture is so hard to change.

It’s hard enough to get people to change when they see the need for change. But now consider our current predicament…how do you get people to buy into the need to change directions when they can’t yet see the need for change?

Problem is, a time is quickly coming on those of us in higher education where change is not going to be an option — not if you want to keep your doors open. The need for change (i.e. a significant decrease in enrollment) may not be seen until it’s too late. Even given a new game plan to deal with things, the culture may not be able to sustain that kind of change. It doesn’t know how. It’s not used to that level of change.

So my advice is to start sewing the seeds of change now within your university, college, or school. Develop a culture that is more responsive…more nimble…more willing to change and to try new ways of doing things. If you are successful in helping the culture be open to change, you have made an enormous contribution to what it will take to survive this next decade.


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