The pace of change in the world is not slowing down, in fact, it is actually speeding up. With the increasing pace, the skills every day workers need are rapidly changing as well. Gone are the days where you spend ages18-23/24 doing tertiary education and that’s all the education you need. Skill development and skill acquisition are becoming more and more important which is why we see companies like skillshare, codecademy, udemy, etc. becoming more and more popular. It is all centred around the community of individuals who want to learn a certain topic that enables individuals to interact with those on the same journey. I wanted to write a post that outlines my experience with online communities and why I think education is leaning towards this direction.
Intention of learning versus really learning
The formal education system has a solid learn and test feedback loop where the individual is tested at the end of each semester to see if they ‘really know their stuff’. Online material is just information. You can read it backwards and forwards but knowing the words on a page and understanding how to use it are 2 completely different things. With online communities, the learn and test feedback loop evolves from a test-once –> get a grade to an iterative approach where if you get it wrong, you can ask questions, find out EXACTLY where you went wrong instead of sending an email to a professor and waiting 4 weeks for a vague response. The stronger the feedback loop, the better each iteration is going to be.
Longevity of learning and a feeling of progress
Learning alone is completely fine, sometimes its even better learning yourself than with a group of people. With online communities, you have the best of both worlds. You can choose to interact with others on the same journey or be a lurker and just take the information you need from it. When interacting with others on the same journey, you will be involved with people further on the journey, the same stage of the journey and behind you on the journey. It creates an intuitive sense of progress when learning and developing the skills you just learnt. You will know the answers to questions you had before when they are asked by new comers and you will have new questions that didn’t know you needed answers for as you progress. There is an insatiable sense of growth that fosters a growth-mindset and creates a life-long learner. This feeling is what creates individuals how are always pushing and learning more every day.
Overall, a sense of community is what it boils down to. When you are learning with others, you are surrounded by like-minded individuals that satisfies an innate biology need and it just makes everything better.
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