The Future of Education

I’ve noted elsewhere some exciting developments in online education (most interestingly, this year, the opening of MITx, which is worth checking out).  This recent article about educational badges available online helps me to formulate, a bit more, a thought that has been gelling in my mind: If lower information-sharing costs help to make distributed systems more realizable in financescientific research (see here, too), hardware design and development, etc., etc., then why not in education?

A key quotation:

Employers might prefer a world of badges to the current system. After all, traditional college diplomas look elegant when hung on the wall, but they contain very little detail about what the recipient learned. Students using Mozilla’s proposed badge system might display dozens or even hundreds of merit badges on their online résumés detailing what they studied. And students could start showing off the badges as they earn them, rather than waiting four years to earn a diploma.

The current university system’s great asset is that it concentrates people in a learning environment.  But it also, as the quotation above implies, limits visibility to the student’s actual learning, limits student flexibility with regard to learning goals, defers recognition of achievement for several years, and does not lend itself easily to synchronous immersion in the professional world.  I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts on the viability of the model suggested in the article.


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