Learning outside of the classroom—culture and context will drive spiky use

TeachStreet is one of the latest entrants in informal peer-to-peer learning space.  See interview with CEO Dave Shappell on The Deal.  There was lots of conversation about P2P learning at the Union Square’s recent Hacking Education conference.

Universities see this coming and are tripping over themselves to follow MIT’s lead by taking their content to mainstreet.  iTunes U  got big fast by making it very easy to get physics on your iPhone.  Academic Earth wants to the YouTube of edu; only  YouTube Edu was launched this week

Now that it’s possible to learn anything anywhere, it will be interesting to see how fast and to what extent learning migrates from a compulsory institutional public delivery system to a disintermediated informal voluntary just-in-time affair.  What people in what places for what reasons will take advantage of this new ability?  It really comes down to culture and context. 

Despite the economic jolt that has sent many Americas back to school, I’m afraid I don’t see the passion for learning here that is so evident in emerging economies.  Check out the most watched videos on YouTube Edu—they’re from the Indian Institute of Technology.  

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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