The Rise of Online Education
When you think about how accessible education has become in just the past five years; it really made me wonder why I chose the path I am in.
Disclaimer: Not really a theory but more an observation, but I will link some sources.
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED529698.pdf (research paper)
Back then, when the internet was just newly created and you have your standard dial-up connection, you thought how amazing technology was. The baby-boomer generation and probably some post-war cohorts knew that the next batch of people is going to be intelligent. They weren't entirely wrong, but you can definitely see some close numbers. It's only natural for the world to only move forward, but now I clearly understand what it means to be left behind or leave it to the new people in town. The creation of the internet and expanding telecommunications and the prevalence of the internet across the globe quickens our learning capabilities. I can't imagine what my life would be like honestly if the internet wasn't around. As we may all know, the internet (world wide web) is just essentially weblinks, hyperurls, and server addresses. We just request data packets using signals and feed information in and out from our machines across the world. It's just amazing and in just (started around the 1960's) forty years, nearly the entire world has adopted it.
If I knew back then that choosing the traditional way of learning new concepts and knowledge would've been like it is now, such as Udacity, Khan Academy, Lynda, and much more, I would have just focused on that without having to feel stressed about learning various (and some useless) subjects (or classes) in college. If the colleges just offered a more focused curriculum with some really good like, you should know this type of courses to survive in life, then it wouldn't be such a waste of time for students and it would greatly decrease the stress of them not learning useless information that doesn't prepare them for the real world.
When I felt that way, that traditional college wasn't for me, it was in my third year of university that I realized I could learn the things I wanted to learn on my own or through much better places. The reason why I'm still in and sticking around is that I'm almost done now (hopefully, yes it took me five to six years... I'm not smart lol).
You see? The internet and online education seriously exploded with valuable knowledge that a potential teenager could probably be way more intelligent than I am (obviously true), and the best I can do wouldn't be enough to catch up because of the natural process of the extent and restraint of my learning capabilities through time. In which, they started earlier and I started late. Altogether, I wish I was exposed to online education sooner.
I wrote an article similar to this topic before, and I will find it and include it at the end.
Falling Behind From New Generations:
Clearly, this section has a negative connotation, but it doesn't necessarily mean so. What it means is that time and age will catch up to you, and you will have to rely upon and teach the new people the knowledge that took you a long time to learn. A staple example is a calculus. The guy, Isaac Newton, spent years formulating calculus and coming up with mathematical theories. Nowadays, we got kids learning all of it in less than a year! Image that; the power of knowledge that has been passed down to the new people. It's only a matter of time where that gap in knowledge is becoming noticeable. Luckily for this generation, that obviousness couldn't be more obvious.
One thing about the millennial generation is that we are extremely tech-savvy because we have grown up with it. We literally breathe the internet, we consume it on a daily basis, and most importantly we build connections to people, whom we couldn't have done without the internet. With those vital points mentioned, this has given us a huge advantage over the previous generations because of how life biologically works. The older generations cannot keep up with how to work these devices, and many of them did not grow up with these machines and devices and the internet. This process will repeat.
The next implication of our lack of knowledge for this (my) generation will be greatly involved in the STEM field. Soon it will be common knowledge of how artificial intelligence, neural networks, and types of math work. I'm not a genius, but I already know that on that scale of knowledge, I'm falling behind. So is there an equation that models this increase or gap of knowledge? I would think so. I would say that it's probably dependent on the current population of the environment (Earth) with respect to a constant exponential equation where the contributing factors lie strongly in the attendance of people seeking and learning in higher education (degrees, education after high school).
It is clear in this generation that the number of people attending college has dramatically increased. In the source above, we see an increase of people, which means that when we compete for jobs, the amount of knowledge that an employer will require (such as skills) is much higher than previous years. It's no wonder why it's hard for undergraduates to find jobs because of the amount of knowledge and skills available and needed is so abundant, that when a business hires one person, they want that one person to do what it previously took three people to do. I mean wouldn't it be better and profitable for a business to hire a competent full-stack developer who can single-handed manage their website than say three people of different skills? Yea, tell me why that isn't a bad observation. As a result, this clearly shows that the old employees have fallen behind the previous generation when it comes to skills. This is natural.
Compared to the past though, the gap in which a generation can surpass each other, usually took longer. However, with the boom of online education, this gap starts to shrink, and within a few years, your job can be done even better by a new person (better retire early, I'm joking).
Implications of Online Education:
Once we saw the first iteration of online learning, few people decided that it would be a great idea to share knowledge publicly to people by using the internet. They didn't realize though that by doing so, they created competition between themselves and the traditional institutions that taught valuable knowledge. This would then result in a general population knowing that going the traditional way of school, or our system, is complete trash. The only real needs of going through the traditional system are if what you are trying to learn or become requires proper guidance, labs, and use of on-school equipment (primarily STEM field and some arts). Let us not overlook the fact, that we are living in a boom of information, so if you plan to get a degree in something you can learn through online guidance and sheer practice, please just get a regular day job and focus on your passion! You will save yourself from being in debt, nonsense stress, and from wasting your time.
Not only is online education starting to overcome the traditional way of learning, but you can see that many online courses and programs are extremely cheaper than going to and possibly relocation to go to a big name University. Like, one really big name online course is Hackreactor. Hackreactor is online, but they are like the Harvard for online courses (mostly for computer science disciplines though). Thus, with the recent budget cuts in our school education system, we see a decrease of teachers and definitely a decrease of people wanting to be a teacher because of the abysmal future prospect of being in a situation where your job can be replaced with online learning. For one thing, an online class or course can be taught without a need of a teacher as long as the workload and material content is well-suited for students. It's just an automated world at this point on, really.
Online education has even started to be seen as a real way for preparing people for real jobs, especially in computer programming disciplines. This is because programming is a universal language and can be learned and practiced as long as you have a device such as a computer. Other disciplines like a nurse, doctor, or neuroscience can't be easily taught online because the person needs real experience with an actual thing in front of them (or they can use an online simulation). However, what does this ultimately means for all the big name universities, schools, and private schools? You can spell it out easily. They don't make a significant impact on how you should get a job. They don't mean or have any value as much as they did back then. If you really think about it, you can learn anything you want these days.
Now the only real reason why our current hiring managers or systems (filtering) care about a degree and (grade point average) GPA is that they lived in a world where the internet and online education wasn't available. However, the millennials will change that, and the next generation and more to come will have better opportunities and more to showcase than just academic-wise, and enrich themselves with strong skills knowledge.
When Education is Everywhere:
Education isn't restricting anyone from learning anymore. All you need is an online connection and the power of knowledge is yours. Yet, how many people actually will take the time to scourer the web for information? It's like going to the library and reading tons of books. Except in the online world, there are fake news, fake learning, and fake websites. Even so, it is still easy to avoid and steer-away from those types of online education websites.
Does online education really help us though? If education is everywhere isn't that a sign that we are limited to our research of studies? The answer to that is a yes from me. There are already some fields of studies that do not require any more research; and with the rise of neural networks and all the artificial, and machine learning research, you may not have to study as much as you did back then. With all the freely available education, it's better for it that it remains free or of a low-cost. This is because a more intelligent society will be more beneficial for us because it not only increase our overall intelligence but our awareness of all types of situations and how we handle problems and conflicts. Another point is since education is now so easily attained, there is no barrier for us as a society to limit the restriction of accessible knowledge in higher education, research, and scholar. In a short sense of thinking, I like to think that where the circle starts is where the circle will end, no matter what. You know, I wonder if in dimensional-time analysis we can use artificial intelligence to solve things.
Finally, I just wanted to point out that online education has been making a huge impact in the world. For many of us still following the traditional way, it's clearly becoming quite coherent that it's about time to join the younger generations in the new style of learning.
Thanks for reading this article! I hope it was insightful.
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