What’s The Most Effective Means Of Education Today?

What’s The Most Effective Means Of Education Today?
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Some of the smartest people I know (or just know of) didn’t go to university or bother to graduate. Many think the school system is broken, and there are better ways to learn. The question is, if the way we’re supposed to learn isn’t effective, then what is?

Dale Stephens, writing for CNN, believes university is a waste of time because it promotes all the wrong things:

I left college two months ago because it rewards conformity rather than independence, competition rather than collaboration, regurgitation rather than learning and theory rather than application. Our creativity, innovation and curiosity are schooled out of us. Failure is punished instead of seen as a learning opportunity. We think of college as a stepping-stone to success rather than a means to gain knowledge. College fails to empower us with the skills necessary to become productive members of today’s global entrepreneurial economy.

Stephens believes that university was a primary means of identifying good, new workers to the companies seeking them. He suggests that the internet is replacing this function of tertiary education and rendering it mostly useless. This certainly seems to be the case for some people, but it is currently no majority.

What do you think is the most effective means of education today? Is it the system we have in place, a reformed version of it, or something else entirely? Share your thoughts in the comments.

College is a waste of time [CNN Opinion]


  • Erm… in my case, it was books, and… TV, mostly science fiction, but a lot of other stuff too, I think I have learned more from these than I ever learned at school! OK, when it comes to algebra and physics etc. I’m dumb as a bag of hammers, but I was never gonna go there anyway… :]

  • The whole education system needs reform because it’s running on theme of yesteryear. It runs on the non-existent notion that our society is still in the 30s as if the assembly line was still a good thing.
    Our schools are under-funded assembly line factories controlled by short sighted bureaucratic conservatives that don’t have our interests in mind.

    I do not have any power in this because I’m only one person. But if we all took a stand we could change the world for the better.

  • That’s all well and good to say that, but with a new baby on the way I still have to pick a school for them to go to!

    “What schools are best at not doing this?” is a better question to answer 🙂 I was looking at Montessori – looks OK

  • “it rewards conformity rather than independence, competition rather than collaboration, regurgitation rather than learning and theory rather than application. Our creativity, innovation and curiosity are schooled out of us. Failure is punished instead of seen as a learning opportunity.”

    Although high school sucked, and electives I’ve taken at uni have sucked, I’m doing two minority majors so this isn’t true of my degree at all. But I’m going to take a wild guess that the small amount of students means the professors have more room to switch things up and support students on a more personal level.

    So I’d go with a reformed version of what we have today, with educators free to try new things even if it doesn’t run smoothly, and small classes.

  • I think the education system that we have now, from kindy to uni degree graduate focusing on outcomes based memory testing, is moronic in the extreme. It doesn’t reward innovation, creativity, teamwork or any of the things companies actually value, all it rewards is an individuals capacity to consume and recite information.

    Right now though, your choice is the existing, creaking ancient Edwardian system or touchy feely montessori schools that tell children they’re all special and wonderful no matter how lazy, selfish or cruel they are. There’s no middle ground and as a parent of three kids this is intensely frustrating.

    If our government wanted to be really inovative they’d copy the Swedish system of handing the reins over to teachers (and paying them over double what they’re paid now AND require all teachers have a Masters and not a one year Dip Ed) and let them set their own cuuriculums rather than force them all to follow the same politician approved national dry as toast curriculum. In Sweden this has produced a standard of school student second only to China and their terrifying communist controlled system.

    Unfortunately our society is sprung from this bad seed of regurgitative education, so if we try and opt out of ‘the game’, like i did in Uni after studying my ass off to get there, when we try and get back into the working world it’s damn hard.

    Basically in our society either you have a real talent that you work hard to develop or you catch lightening in a bottle with the right idea at the right time. Otherwise you’re a production line wage slave from the crib to the grave.

    Oh god I am so depressed now.

  • Sure, the system is a bit moronic, but there aren’t many ways to expose that many people to that much knowledge. Yes, it could be done better, smaller class sizes, more flexible assessments, etcetera, but by and large, university is what you make of it.
    If by the time you graduate the most significant moments you had at uni were your classes, you’re doing it wrong. Uni can do a great job of teaching people many things, and you might just come away with a piece of paper certifying your body of knowledge, but of course it’s not going to work brilliantly if you think your only options are become a mindless automaton or drop out. I, for one, know my degree will teach me a lot of useful information without which I couldn’t be successful in my chosen field, but I also think that my extra-curiccular activities will have a significant impact on how well I do, and I wouldn’t have had all of those experiences without attending Uni.

  • here is a solid arguement for a university degree, in the form of a question; would you prefer it if the people who designed and built the car you are driving, or aircraft flying overhead had a recognised education? or would you be comfortable if they got their abilities from professor google and an unstructured self paced pseudo-education?

    I used to think like I could do anything I wanted to without a uni education, then I realised that the only thing I want to do is engineering.

    It isnt true for ALL disciplines, but a university education is a good foundation on which to build our creative and innovative futures.
    and furthermore, dont forget that you can re-learn creativity, it just takes time and practice, just like the first time you learned it during your childhood.

  • I just happened to watch a RSAnimate video on YouTube “Changing Education Paradigm”. Great video, I highly recommend it if you are interested in this topic.

  • I go to University right now. They tell us that we should form study groups. We even have group assignments that we would fail if we didn’t collaborate. In the final exams there are many questions that cross many of the modules we have learnt and so encourages lateral thinking. Also, we must create experimental investigations within our group and perform the investigation together.

    Just putting what I’ve seen from my university out there 🙂
    First year – University of Queensland.

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