Time for a New System of Education

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In today’s educational system, students are given a lot of information with only a smattering of real-time workplace experience. Consequently, graduates who enter the workforce abruptly wake up to the fact that they have not developed the skills necessary to be effective. Many of the theories they have developed about learning in the sterile context of the classroom–theories often based on solutions that were designed to answer yesterday’s questions–have to be unlearned before true learning can occur.

The time has come to break out of the mold of mass-produced education: education that is only supposed to take place in specially-designated rooms called “classrooms,” education that measures learning in precisely-defined chunks of time called credit hours, education that answers questions before they are asked, education that consists primarily of filling empty heads with words. Instead, we need an approach that fuses good information with good practice and thereby prepares students for today’s challenges.

There is a crying need for an educational system that provides students with the ability to adapt to the real-life situations they will face in the workplace. We need an educational system that takes the knowledge out of the classroom and embeds it into the soil of the 21st century workplace environment. And we should not conceive this process in a linear manner as learning before doing, but rather learning and doing should occur simultaneously.

Action spawns questions; these questions can direct the educational institution so that the institution itself learns better how to prepare leaders for today’s organizations. Such leaders will then be rooted not only in the core knowledge about their particular domain, but will also become experts in the process of learning itself.

As questions and problems arise, students will bring them to the faculty of these new educational institutions and these faculty resources will provide guidance and will adjust their course materials to fit the needs that come to the surface as students engage the challenge before them.

To summarize my ramblings, I am talking about the need for an educational system that fuses action and learning as an integrated system. Learning does not occur BEFORE action; learning happens in the midst of action.

Perhaps the greatest example of this type of education can be found in the New Testament Scriptures. Jesus–the greatest teacher of all human history–taught his followers in the hustle and bustle of daily life. He did not separate learning from action, but instead he fused learning with action.

How might we incorporate this kind of education system in today’s educational systems? Can it be done? Or is there a need for a radical transformation of how we do education for today’s world? Please share your thought in the comments section below.d.

2 thoughts on “Time for a New System of Education

  1. Yes, this type of reform is needed and it can be done, even in a climate that is not pro-education, that is reducing funding as we speak. On the very surface if we get rid of NCLB and put in place the action, reflection, learn cycle where that cycle is built independently for every child, and tie the actions to real life situations that are meaningful to the child…we have radical educational change. And although I’m sure you are speaking of adult learners, the learning how to learn cycle should be instilled in children before they even reach public school as it is the foundation of life long learning.

  2. Megan,
    Thanks for coming by our site. I agree with you. Children should learn how to learn for themselves. Unfortunately, I run into a lot of college students who have a hard time connecting concepts to real-life situations… In other words, application. That ability to move from concept to application is a huge step forward in learning how to learn, yet they come to college not yet knowing how to do this.
    Thanks again Megan for your thoughtful comments.

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