Imagine that you can learn finance in one year, achieving better understanding and skills of finance than people going through many years of college to obtain a bachelor or master degree. Imagine you can build up a very good liberal arts background in one or two years, beating most of the students going to top liberal arts majors in the country. Imagine that you can teach yourself mathematics very efficiently, learning things about mathematics that students in school will never grasp. Imagine you can learn writing novels just by reading extensively and communicating with people. How will you plan your life if you realize all these can be easily learned? These are all your possibilities in life, which have been denied by the school system for so long.
First of all, on a deep philosophical level, school is very badly suited for learning. Learning is very much intertwined in two senses: learning and no learning are intertwined, learning in various domains are intertwined. (Read my blog essays: https://freestone.wordpress.com/2005/07/26/learning-essay%e2%80%94business-liberal-arts-and-tech/ , https://freestone.wordpress.com/2005/07/26/learning-essay-learning-and-no-learning/ ).
School is not designed for you to learn things. School is designed for you to receive educations. To get to understand the nature of school better, you can read more about unschooling, a movement that has been going on for decades. Especially, John Taylor Gatto did an excellent job in telling you what school is all about (http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/index.htm ). Briefly, school is just an institution to enslave people’s minds. School uses tests to screw up certain kinds of people, who are not good at passing tests, make them stay as manual labor, and screw up some other kinds of people, who are good at passing tests, and make them stay as mental labor. We, essentially free human being, are screwed up this way.
Secondly, practically real life is a much better learning environment than schools. It is real. You get challenged and tested immediately in real life instead of by some artificial exams administered by schools. Real life is the most resourceful learning environment. Learning in a community is the most efficient way of learning. Sudbury Valley model is essentially for kids to unschool in a supportive learning community. Our goal is to expand this to the whole society for adults to learn in the real world.
Two key forces will be very vital in building up such a learning community. One is individuals engaged in learning and sharing learning experience. The other is corporation’s involvement in providing learning resources and opportunities to the community. Both measures will greatly bridge divided knowledge.
I feel the enabler will be a platform to allow people to find tutors online and sign up for various training programs provided by corporations. Such a platform should have rich learning features. First of all, it should allow learners to easily locate tutors and training programs that just meet their current needs. Secondly, it will be very desirable to have an online notebook system to allow individual learners to collect, organize, refine and share their learning experiences and knowledge. Thirdly, we need a viewing system to allow learning material to be viewed with maximum flexibility. Other features will include a voting system to vote for good articles, learning group and discussion group features.
I don’t know if this direction will lead to the commercialization of learning. Maybe commercialization of learning is a good thing, especially if it is free market based. Milton Friedman has fought for education based on free market through school voucher. You can read his articles regarding the reasoning behind education and free market.
Let’s take our lives into our hands by taking learning into our hands! Together let’s free learning!