If learning was free

Writing If TV Ads were Free, Seth Godin looks at the business and says that the reason there was so much talk about advertising instead of just doing it was because TV ads are expensive. Not all ideas could make it to the broadcast medium. However, with web social media, the cost is minimal with few barriers to entry:

You guessed it: new media is largely free. So why teach it in school as if it were a scary theory? Why encourage people to be afraid? Just do it. Build your own platform. Appear in the places that seem productive or interesting or challenging or fun. Experiment quietly, figure out what works, do it more. No need to be a dilettante, and certainly you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin or quit at the first sign of failure… but… quit waiting for the right answer.

Anybody see a parallel here with instructional systems design or curriculum development? These processes take time and money and once the investment is made, nobody wants to do it again. Web media can be created quickly and, if designed in an open manner, can change according to the needs of learners and facilitators. For instance, we developed the Work Literacy site in about a week and at no cost. It was added to and modified by the participants. Everyone was an unpaid volunteer. Total cost: zero.

Design is a craft and takes practice and so does instructional media design. Now you can practice these for free. With the web, learning is free; “quit waiting for the right answer”.

6 Responses to “If learning was free”

  1. Sloane

    Can’t believe you wrote that! I was thinking the same thing this past few days. Subscribed to Tony Karrer only few days ago and now I find this! THANKS! In fact dropped an email to Scott Mcleod yday about uncanny parallels between marketing/education.


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