Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Jan 7 2019

“New Front in College Admissions: Nudging Students to Decide Early,” by Douglas Belkin, in the Wall Street Journal

“Some high-school guidance counselors, students and parents say the emails are often read as pressuring students into committing to a college before they are ready. Students who receive these emails and decide to apply early decision aren’t guaranteed to be accepted, but if they are admitted, they are obligated to pull all other applications. That means they can’t compare different financial-aid packages.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Belkin goes on to quote Mark Hatch, Colorado College’s vice president for enrollment, who said, “We’re all pushing early decision now. This is a runaway train and it’s not going to stop.”

With the average tuition discount touching 50% for this year’s first year students, colleges are turning to any lever they can to increase yields on admissions. Unfortunately, pressuring students to apply early and decide early is not always (usually?) in the best interest of students. This is especially true for students from underresourced communities, who may think that a bird in hand is better than two in the bush, only to discover that their financial aid package is going to fall short of their need.


“Your Job As A Leader Is Not To Be An Expert. It's To Be An Expert Learner,” interview of Rudi Kindts by Adam Bryant, on LinkedIn

Q. A big pressure people face, in addition to the workload, is a sense of uncertainty. With so much disruption, there is no playbook to follow any more.

A. People do struggle with not knowing […] if executives are really honest with themselves, they don’t know. Some thrive in the not knowing. Others really have an issue with that because they define leadership as someone who knows everything better than anybody else.

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Kindts goes on to say,

If you define leadership as having all the answers, you’re going to struggle. That leads to a conversation around being an expert or an expert learner, and the difference between those two. It’s about having the capacity to navigate your way through different fields of knowledge, and to hold different viewpoints at the same time.

In an Age of Accelerations, leadership is more about being an “infinite learner” and asking great questions than it is about fooling ourselves into thinking we have all the answers.

But how many schools encourage students to develop the skills to ask better and better questions? How many schools encourage students to be more curious than certain?


“Learning from Every Job,” by Heather McGowan, on LinkedIn

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“Think about your first jobs or even all job to date or as I have here your jobs in chapters of your life. What did you do and what did you learn? I clearly was interested in experimenting with all forms of work as I had many many jobs before my undergrad. (I was only fired once and it was the best experience of my life). As I believe the future of work is learning, each job or engagement becomes a learning moment. What have you learned? I think being fired when I was in my 20s from a professional job was a tremendous growth opportunity for me because I had to figure out how to reinvent myself and be relevant again.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Our friend Carla Silver over at Leadership+Design likes to point out that school is the only place where the kids graduate, but the adults keep coming back year after year. This can distort educators’ understanding of how quickly the world of work is evolving. Because curriculum is always a lagging indicator for that world, it is all the more important to equip learners with the capacity to learn how to learn. If they can discern the patterns of how they choose, how they use their skills and strengths, and how they handle unknown situations, they will be better equipped to navigate a world in which their next job may not have been invented yet.


Question of the week: Are your learners encouraged to be more curious than certain?

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Christian Talbot