isaac morehouse: what's driving change in education these days

this is a two-part post on more of isaac morehouse’s thoughts from his interview on the human current.

part 1 is about what’s really driving change in education these days. part 2 will be about what’s going to happen to higher education institutions as the change happens.

ok so, like many of our existing human systems, our educational systems are in crisis. in some ways (along with racism), the privatization of education is an symptom of this crisis. the system isn’t working. it’s not producing the outcomes people (generally) believe it should.

isaac believes (starting at 14:16 into the episode) that education is a really complex good. and therefore, it’s possible that it provides a lot of things. however, one of the main goods education is assumed to proivde is knowledge via information.

so, in a crisis, if the main good is information, it makes sense that and some people believe new delivery mechanisms (like the mooc) are where innovation and salvation of the system is going to come from.

contrary to population belief, though, isaac thinks that the good education provides is trust.

having a degree from x insitituion is a verification. because people trust x institution, they can therefore trust that anyone approved by that institution have the knowledge associated with that institution.

why does that matter? well, when being educated to a particular level was a key component of gaining work, it was expensive for am employer to find out if someone was the right candidate or not. job interview and approval processes are expensive and making a bad choice is costly. having a credential (a degree for example) helped people verify that they were making a good choice.*

but nowadays, especially because of the internet, the barrier to proving your knowledge and skill is very low. an employer can just go see my work online and look at my github repo, online portfolio, photo gallery, whatever.

so in isaac’s opinion (and i fully agree) this is what education systems are contending with.

this is why the mooc, while hot now, isn’t actually the key of where change in the education system is going to come from.

so where is it going to come from? in the process of bringing people together (in time or in space or in both) to learn and think together… and also give them opportunities to practice… anyways, more on this tomorrow.

* and a big proof that isaac is right about what education is really about is that we all know people who have good credentials and are still shitty workers and we also know people without credentials who are great workers.

transcript available here.

more thoughts from this episode coming up

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