Education Is A Service. Ever since I started my path on educational business where I set up Go Doodle which is an online creative learning platform, I had been reading up about education. To me, education is very near to me as my mother is a teacher and still serving since 30 years plus of teaching. It is a career that never "dies" as all of us would need education to "upgrade" ourselves in some way. Plus, it is a business where we deal with people and gain satisfaction by helping others to gain a success ground in their life. In terms of lifetime value, I would consider this as very gratifying.
The Learning Points
There are several breakdown points by Liu Run on this topic:
What is the future of the education industry?
The future of the education industry is not about producing a generic educational product but is about creating a replicate-able service.
What is replicate-able service?
Firstly, we need to understand what is SERVICE. The core of service is about personalizing. No one likes to be treated in a robotic way as all of us are humans and possess distinct desires. This is similar to services like a tailor, barber, consultants like an architect and so on. As for education, the best education is a 1 to 1, personalized education to really cater to ones' need and learning pattern.
Well, the obvious thing about personalizing is that the marginal cost is high whereby each client will require different services that cannot be replicated. In another words, when I serve a client, I cannot use the same time to serve others. Such rigidness will cause the scalability of the business to be limited. Thus, when we are looking for good service, it is usually pricey as the service provided to us cannot be duplicated and used by others.
How to turn service into a product?
The issue with a standardized product like what we are using now in our educational system is that it is not 100% suitable for everyone. Some may not be benefiting from the system and some are very good at it.
Hence, in the education industry, there is a model called: MOOC: Massive Open Online Courses which record Masterclasses from different professionals and shared online and accessible to the public. This is one way of turning service into a product. From this, there comes Udemy, Coursera and other platforms.
However, there is an issue with the MOOC model whereby the course completion rate is low. The reason behind is that it is all about delivering the knowledge in a one-way manner. Education has to be in two ways. A good education model should possess discipline, motivation and interaction. Without these three elements, it is hard to achieve knowledge transfer.
How to improve the MOOC model?
The essence is to add additional services on top of the model. Just like how Dedao app is doing, their podcast is registered under ISBN: 978-7-900840-26-4, which is a rather standardized product. However, the act of interacting with students like replying to their message is what makes the difference.
The way Dedao app trying to manage the size of the class is having different models. For example, there will be a class that is 1:infinite where anyone can sign up and learn anytime and anywhere. While knowing that 1:1 is impossible as the marginal cost is high, what if there is a model of 1:10 or more whereby the model sacrifices a bit of personalize and largely decrease the marginal cost.
So the model that Dedao (Liu's class) is using is a BIG class + a SMALL class. First off, an experienced and capable teacher will deliver important notes about a topic. Then, follow by small classes of maybe 20 per class. Each small class is assigned with rather lower rate teacher to answer questions and not to deliver knowledge.
This is how Masters and Apprentices can work together and form a closed loop of education for the students.
Is any technology integration possible?
Talking back about the master delivering a masterclass to maybe 2,000 students. Then the apprentice level teacher will deal with 20 students per class with 100 separate classes shared by different apprentices. Yet, there is a limitation on how much an apprentice teacher can interact and check on the students.
Tasks like: marking home works, calculation checking, memorizing work checking and so on can be assisted by Artificial Intelligent. For example, in 有道app, students can use smart pencil and phone to answer questions. The app will automatically detect the answers through the writing motion and then the works will be uploaded to the CLOUD. By using OCR tech, the AI can start marking the works automatically. Once marked, the AI can pass the work to the apprentice teacher who may need 30 minutes to mark each work but now AI did it within seconds. With that, the teachers can focus on interacting with the students based on the marked work and identify where is their weakness and how to help them with personalized aid.
Another point that could help students to focus is that the AI can also detect whether the students are focusing if not the AI will prompt the learning website to have some motivational figure to pop up and encourage the students to continue. That would largely increase the rate of completion for the course.
Such a feature can be random and this makes the interaction becomes a curious exploration. Humans have a curious heart and such a feature will drive the students to continue learning as the feature is focused to bait the curiosity. With that, the role of the teacher to be present and discipline the students no longer needed which in a way can lower down the marginal cost.
To be honest, after reading this article, it makes thing clearer for me. It is obvious that we are at a time where we need a change on our educational system. The old system is great and has given us values. Yet, we need to have a better system to cater to the fast-paced changing world that we are now. Note that the technology advancement speed of the world now is like 5 years. Within 5 years, we may experience a large technology gap that may separate two generations entirely. In future, the speed maybe even faster. Thus, the speed of the educational system must follow up and serve the people well.
This is where I find education is very meaningful and it should be one of the life goals for me to pursue. Building a system rather than providing education alone can be even more impact. Of course, the bigger the challenge, the harder it is to accomplished. Challenge accepted!
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