Saturday, July 2, 2011

Online Education

I was impressed with this article in Harvard Magazine covering online education.  It ties together a number of threads:  Disruptive innovation, the unsustainable increases in tuition, the potential impact of dynamic programming tailor learning to the individual.  Best line:

When America’s traditional universities arose, knowledge was scarce, which meant that research and teaching had to be coupled tightly. That is no longer the case.

Even sharper is this analysis of the structural problems with traditional universities:

Examining the traditional universities through the lens of innovation, we see that a muddled business model is causing the industry’s ruinous cost increases...  A typical state university today, for example, is the equivalent of a three-way merger of the consulting firm McKinsey—focused on diagnosing and solving unstructured problems; the manufacturing operations of Whirlpool—which uses established processes to add value to things that are incomplete or broken; and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company—in which participants exchange things to derive value: fundamentally different and incompatible business models all housed within the same organization.

Good stuff!

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