Decomposing and rearranging the education value stack

Posted at 2:39 pm on 02/14/2018 by Rahul Razdan

As we have discussed in previous articles (HERE) or the Ted Talk (HERE),the current educational system largely views students as commodity vessels into which knowledge is poured in an industrial manufacturing process. The fundamental structure of the current model is driven by an economic imperative from the last century around the scarcity of the instructor and classroom which is actually no longer true. Also, the actual process of teaching occurs in a craftsman-like model which has not changed for hundreds of years.

Today, the current education system has evolved to a point where academics are actually only one of the services provided by current k-12 schools. It is instructive to examine the services provided by schools in more detail and examine the organization which maybe more optimal.

Conventional schools build a value stack which primarily consists of five layers:

  1. Transportation Services: Bus Service to School
  2. Facilities Services: Building availability, security, and access to educational tools.
  3. Cafeteria Services: Availability of food and integration with subsidized nutrition.
  4. Athletic Services: YMCA like services
  5. Academic Services: staff of teachers who teach in a craftsman-like model

With the advent of the internet, the academic services have moved from the craftsman model to a deeper decomposition consisting of:

  1. Instruction Creation: Typically, this is done with a team of specialists and the subject matter expert.
  2. Assessment Creation: Automated systems for assessment and feedback.
  3. Delivery of Instruction/Assessment: Cloud based Internet infrastructure
  4. Delivery of Laboratory Services: Virtual, local physical (ex: Kitchen), or mailed kit.
  5. Delivery of Certification: Through a combination of teacher and automation
  6. Delivery of high-engagement teaching: Virtual one-on-one connection
  7. Delivery of high-engagement collaboration: Virtual blackboard approaches

An ideal reorientation of the value stack would involve two changes in governance:

  1. Certification Independence: If certification is separated from the model of education, the two models can operate on an even playing field. As an example, high school diploma is not a function of attendance but passage of a series of tests.
  2. Facilities Independence: Conventional schools integrate facilities and teaching. If these services were separated, all citizens of the locality would have availability of physical location, security, cafeteria services, and even athletic services was available as an independent services. Again, this would even the playing field for the disruptive model.

With these changes, highly available, low cost, competency-based education would be available to students while not losing the benefits of the engagement models which are best done with a local physical presence.

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