Online Learning Hasn't Fully Democratized Education, Yet
Online learning has set the stage for the start of democratized education, but some argue that total equality is still a long way off.
Online learning sites, like Khan Academy, Duolingo, Udemy, and Coursera, have helped provide anyone with access to an internet connection to a college-level education. Anything that you would ever want to achieve or learn is at your fingertips — regardless of your race, gender, or socio-economic status.
Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, believes that in order to benefit from online learning, people need to take ownership of their education in order to make an impact. Not just passively listening to a video, assuming you'll learn something through osmosis, but by engaging in the content that's being lectured.
This idea is all well and good, but Marc Sollinger from PRI argues that there are still quite a few barriers that prevent Khan's vision of democratized education from becoming reality. Sollinger interviewed Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at the University of California Irvine, to get her take on whether e-learning is the revolution everyone is making it out to be.
“Often, when we think of the open internet and resources being freely available, we assume it has a democratizing function. That anybody can access this stuff; it’s free and open, so therefore it must be more equitable. The sad fact is that we know historically, that when you provide fancier technology, it actually increases inequity.”
She cites one barrier being access to new technology: the haves and the have nots, if you will. But even if we lived in an ideal world where everyone had a laptop, iPad, and smartphone, she says it doesn't make a difference if the people most in need do not have context for using this technology. A great example of this is the difference between girls and boys growing up in the computer age during the 1990s. By the time both of these groups got to the classroom, most boys already had context for how this technology functioned.
Online learning still has a long way to go before it's an equal playing field, but Ito says that educators are determined to help it get there:
“The sector around educational technology is very progressive and quite aware of these issues, and is grappling with them in a serious way.”
Read more at PRI.
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According to TwoFold CEO Alison McMahon, a leader who doesn't care (or can't pretend to care) about his or her employees isn't much of a leader at all.
Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.
By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:
Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.
Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.
McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.
It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.
But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.
Read more at LinkedIn.
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