The Brave New World – Is Here~

(This may not SEEM like a business blog, but it is!)

When you write blogs, you do a lot of thinking.  I write a LOT of blogs for other people and always try to stay on top of what’s happening – sort of.  I tell people that life is changing at a pace that couldn’t be imagined 25 years ago as the web and online “stuff” got going. 

HOWEVER while a lot of people TALK ABOUT change and new methods, they don’t really “believe” that the change will be absolute as it really is.  This particularly true in education, whether we’re talking about teaching our young people OR staff and employees.

The way people learn, at least in this country, is pathetically out of date.  Yes, we quite teaching people cursive, but the process is still tangled in old-school (literally) technology.

Even those of us who make our living getting people to change have issues.  I LIKE analog clocks and classic literature.  I know there are newer and better ways to visualize time and teaching or at least discussing important abstract human issues, and yet the current process hasn’t been updated.

Why are almost all tests based on memorization?

Why do we have to learn how to do simultaneous basic equations?  Why are the moral equivalent of the old “Cliff’s Notes” to help folks get through turgid prose?  The answer is “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it, and you should learn how and why to memorize.” Then why do we have the internet?

I used to teach in colleges and universities, and – when I figured out that I wasn’t doing my students any favors by lecturing or showing PowerPoint presentation and then giving tests – I changed what I did.

The purpose of education is to help people learn how to learn critical thinking skills, processes that will allow them to analyze and come to valid conclusions, NOT to memorize things.  Why do most college professors lecture?  They do it because they LIKE to do it, and it was how THEY learned.

The Issue for Business

One of the main reasons for public education is to provide students with some basic knowledge so they can be successful and contributing members of society.  Schools and educational groups within government are well-intentioned, BUT we need to learn LOTS of “stuff.”  Their educational and training processes don’t really provide the total solutions for achieving mastery.

Most schools, including colleges and universities, are turning out – except for the STEM curriculum, and even that is clunky and wheezing – graduates with skills perfectly suited for the mid-twentieth century.  Students in the elite communities and schools MAY be getting enough of the right learning, the right way, but the vast majority of the other students are NOT.

A Huge Problem for American businesses

How can YOU succeed in a highly competitive global economy if your employees don’t have the right education?  Do you want to hope and pray that handing out multiple pages of “type only” material, a couple of webinars and maybe some OTJ (on-the-job training) will make YOUR organization literally competitive in a “world class” way?

You just have to find a 21st century type of learning process to re-boot the 20th century thinking “software” that old-school teaching has created.  Fixing the schools is going to be a major issue that will take a long time and a lot of strife and tumult to fix.  However, having a learning process for your employees doesn’t have to be.

(Andy Chiodo is President of Charisma PR, which has a deep background and understanding of modern learning processes and successfully works with organizations of all sizes and types on education and training.)