Open-source knowledge.

The other day I listened to CBC Radio One show “Re-civilization” with episode curiously titled ‘Open-source knowledge’. Their feature guest, among others was John Seely Brown, a very famous scholar, and while listening I found it almost as if hearing myself. Take a moment and listened to the first 15 minutes of the podcast (HERE), I’m sure you’ll share my excitement.

John talked about ‘entrepreneurial learner’ as a concept that will disrupt the whole educational space by putting the learner at the center, thereby driving the personalization as a game changer in education. He, too, thinks that content should be free and not coming from prescribed places, that “classroom is just a transmission media” and that content instead should be ‘creatively picked up on the fly’ while collaborating with fellow learners.

The show then continues with MIT Open CourseWare which, too, is claiming that open-source knowledge should be free, and now offers their MIT course for free (see HERE).

I continue to find it very interesting how we are at the stage where most people agree that the barriers of traditional classroom should be changed, if not broken, and to believe that the driving force behind this change is going to be the very learner, the students of all ages. They have nothing to lose, while all other constituents of education (publishers, platforms, schools, etc.) do. That is exactly why they call that approach DISRUPTIVE, because it works against their current deep-ingrained notion of how the things should be done.

Even on the venture capital side, I am starting to see a recognition of this dissatisfaction with defending the status-quo while shouting over each other.  In his blog HERE, Rob Go says- “… the biggest challenge for companies targeting K12 is excessive friction in winning customer …”  and that “…  investors get excited about opportunities that bypass traditional sales channels in favor of a more direct-to-consumer approach  …” . In saying this, Rob actually points at the end user, the student, who should be the only vote we should be fighting for.

What most companies have not figured out yet is how to monetize on those ideas and how this “build it, and they will come” solution will attract investors, given its hugely disruptive approach.

Here, at Knowillage, we believe that we have a very good idea how to do that. Like I said earlier, much more than just an idea.

We are building a publicly accessible web site where you will be able to see some of those ideas in practice. Subscribe to our blog, this is where we’ll make an early announcement.


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