You Don't Need College to Get a College Education

Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, explains that the aims of online education don't differ much from those of traditional learning.

Salman Khan: The key to learning online is actually the same key that has always been to learning is that you have to take ownership over it yourself. A lot of people have — there's this illusion that is created in our classical education system and even at university that someone is teaching it to you. Really they're creating a context in which you need to pull information and own it yourself. And that especially happens at the university level where if you're not pulling and if you're not owning it, you're not going to do so well. And when you think online, that becomes that much more important. Because you can create the best software and the best video, but unless you set your own goals and you apply some of the work from Carol Dweck at Stanford, your own growth mindset, unless you exhibit grit and perseverance where you keep trying until you get to something, then even the fanciest software is not going to be of a ton of value.

And so what we do as creators is we try to make that easier for the consumer of the content. So at Khan Academy we do a lot of trying to virtually coach someone to have the right mindset, to be perseverant with things. And one thing that we strongly believe is videos you can learn from, but even if you're just looking at a video or reading an article, try to do so actively. Don't just passively listen to it, pause it; try to solve it yourself. Once you figure out what the person making the video is about to do, pause it and see if you can do it yourself. Review it yourself. And ideally there would be exercises. And this is actually where most of Khan Academy's investment is, is unlimited exercises that give people feedback and unlimited practice to make sure that they really do understand the material and allows them to review it in a spaced repetitioned way so they can understand when do they apply with skills. So it really is the active listening active learning and the practicing and getting feedback and reviewing this. And then actually applying it in your everyday life through projects and whatever else.

 

Universities don't provide education. They provide contexts through which education can be attained. Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, argues that the key to online learning is to take ownership over your own education. By investing yourself in self-learning and creating your own learning context, you can easily replicate the sort of education available at a university.

Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
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