We are all at a loss on how to educate our young people today. While some great steps have been taking for early childhood, with endless papers and discussion on how to motivate and encourage preschoolers to grow, many of which have been widely implemented, the school system itself seems to have changed very little. Education is still about learning a specific subject, mostly in a silo, for a short period a few times a week with the end goal being a test to mark how well you have retained the facts of the subject.
Of course there are some deviations to this, but in general that is how it is. In recent years there has been a big movement in the startup space, where instead of creating courses for people to sit through to learn how to do startups, you simply attend a weekend where you create a little startup. All the teachers (mentors) are at your disposal, with a recommended framework such as Lean Canvas being offered as well.
What if education in schools and all the way up through universities was more about doing? The issue is that in todays world we need to learn how to get to the required information, how to apply what we learn and how to constantly be learning, instead of learning specifics. I suggest that at least 50% of all education should be free-form execution of tasks, where students get challenges that they have to solve.
Imagine if you were 10 years old and along with your classmates you were thrown into a room with the objective that you had to knit a jumper (yourself) before the end of term, and that you would have to write up instructions as to how to do it. Additionally, you had to find someone that wanted a jumper and they would have to tell you what kind of jumper they wanted. In this room there would be a computer, and nothing more. Students would be able to request a budget (might even be fake in-house money/store) for any supplies they needed.
Even if they would take shortcut after shortcut – they would have to knit that jumper on their own, in that room (and there would be a ‘teacher’ present). But how to do it they would have to find online, or from friends, family (grandma?) and so on. Next term they might have to do similar work, but improve on it, or learn a new technique.
If this process of learning by themselves, and applying that learning, is throughout their education, each student will be totally prepared to tackle life and will not limit themselves to their education. It will not be the case of “I studied to be a hairdresser, so I can’t do accounting”, but instead “I need to do some accounting, let’s go and read up on that and see what needs to be done”.
Complexity: 2 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 4 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost: <$500K
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Photo Credit: Kim Cofino – superkimbo – License