Opportunity for Learning in the 21st Century

Since 2000, our systems of education have unprecedented challenges and some ongoing sources of failure. We are not preparing students for the careers of the present, let alone those of the future.

In K-12 education, two federal programs based on common standards have seemed to fail, first “No Child Left Behind” and most recently “Common Core” . The problems and controversies underlying these programs are many. They are related to how these programs are implemented and whether standards alone can help achieve learning. At the college level, traditional programs of study are largely disconnected with the requirements of careers and employers. This is due in part to the increased rate of change of professions that are becoming more specialized as a consequence of advances in technology (see for example, “data science,” as outgrowth of computer science and statistics ) There is clearly a need for a workforce that can adapt to and shape the changes in business and professions.

At both K-12 and college levels, the educational approach is largely unchanged from the traditional lecture, “sage on a stage,” that is designed to suit the needs of the teacher, not the individual needs of the students. This continues despite decades of research on learning and cognitive science showing the weakness of a one-size-fits-all lecture for a large audience. Unfortunately, most approaches to online learning have simply replicated the lecture-based approach, as is most apparent in the Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) supported by platforms like Coursera, Udacity and many others. The emphasis has been on the scale of the student audience not the quality of the course material nor the overall learning effectiveness. MOOCs have come under fire because of their low completion rates and questionable results.

Non-traditional approaches are only starting to gain traction in the last few years, for example, Alt-school and Minerva. These approaches have used technology as the key means for disrupting traditional ways of learning, in most cases by investing heavily in software and data-driven optimization which has been applied in other sectors of the technology industry (AI, machine learning, etc). Unfortunately, there are only a few who have sought to tackle the problem of corporate training and professional learning head-on in this way.

The result of this state of education and professional learning outside of school is that we have more new graduates and existing job seekers who are poorly prepared or not prepared at all for careers in the fields with the most demand, including in science and technology (STEM) fields. This puts an increasing burden on professionals to continue learning, and for companies to get more involved in training new and existing employees. In addition, employers need new ways of validating the education of job candidates beyond a traditional college degree, and professionals likewise need a way to prove their prior learning and experience.

Pensar Learning Approach

We at Pensar Learning believe these challenges in education and professional learning present an unprecedented opportunity. We have created a learning platform focused on the best learning content creation process guided by Learning Science and AI, and delivering the content across mobile devices and web-browsers. We provide a personalized learning experience that stays with the learner and tracks their accomplishments through digital credentials (a.k.a badges). For organizations, we offer the means to quickly spin up an online training program for all their employees, and track their employees’ individual and group progress. As more organizations and learners adopt this approach to learning and credentials, the hiring process becomes more transparent when job candidates share their credentials, indexed by job relevance. All of this can be done without hiring an instructional designer or software developer, as the platform is Software-as-a-service (SaaS), with professional services and support as needed.

We see employer needs evolving rapidly, as the environment shifts to need different skills faster than the traditional University environment can assemble. Using our platform, we can not only train better, but we can train faster, helping you get the ROI that you need from your training and educational programs.

 

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