School Is Out...Long Live Learning
Aristotle wrote in "Politics" that the purpose of political community is not living, but living well. One measure of how well a political community is living is the quality of the opportunity for education. Clearly, the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the traditional classroom learning model. America's school system failed the teachers, students and parents. This week, SRG looks at the lessons we have learned during COVID-19 about Learning.
Learning is changing. There are structural and technological trends that are underway that may revolutionize the way we learn.
Imagine a learning record that travels with you from early childhood throughout adulthood that you could use to show the world what you know. Not just what you know from formal classrooms, but from courses that you take online or periods of self-guided study or games/simulations and just plain life. You know that your educational experience is more than the formal accredited degrees that you have earned. Why shouldn't you leverage your learning record for personal gain? And, why shouldn't it travel with you wherever you go to show organizations and prospective employers what you know and what you are good at? From the Air Force to Apple, Harvard or HP. Imagine a future where people have detailed learning records that go beyond the standard reports — in a secure way — that inform your decisions and give you more control over your career.
That future is not too far away. It is being accelerated by the pandemic. It is going to affect you. And, if done right, it will empower you.
Scope and Path Forward
The scope of the failure of America's schools is epic. For example, millions of people who were unemployed during the crisis were unable to access their school records. What's more, employers were unable to verify the school records, which prevented them from hiring people.
So, instead of being able to use the time during the crisis to find future employment opportunities, many people were trapped, waiting until someone at the schools and colleges finally responded to the request.
Grading students during the COVID-19 pandemic was almost whimsical. That's because in the United States, grading is almost exclusively a local prerogative, with rules set by its more than 14,000 school districts. To try to give some shape to this far-flung, locally developed system, states and other public and private bodies have built a variety of policies around student grades to force them, imperfectly, into a common currency. Every state sets credit hour requirements for graduation, for example.
To better understand what just happened in education, we turned to The Advanced Distributed Learning Center, a government-sponsored learning initiative for research, development and policy stewardship of distributed learning: There are a lot of bits and pieces that need to fall into place to make this learning ecosystem, this ubiquitous learning, talent management transformation.