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15. Learning Experiments

Video: The Khan Academy, which offers online courses via YouTube.

German entrepreneur Bjoern Lasse Herrmann is the creator of Supercool School (LINK), an online teaching platform where anyone can set up a school. Supercool School is a platform that has the potential to change education globally, because anyone can offer a class or register to take a class. Some are free while others can charge fees, depending on the way each school is run. The plan is to give people anywhere in the world access to practical, useful education—and the social context for keeping people motivated, according to Herrmann.

Video: The founders of SuperCool School explain their concept.

“Supercool School is based on a simple idea,” Herrmann said. “Let’s do for education what blogging has done for media. Let’s offer education to anyone—education that is relevant to them—but let’s base it purely on the supply and demand of people. There are so many people out there with useful skills that they can teach to others—so let’s leverage, or unleash that potential for teaching and learning. Obviously this is a model that focuses on practical skills; it is not based on certificates or formal education programs.”

Herrmann is also the co-founder of the Startup Genome Project to explore whether innovation can be identified, traced and replicated.

As the education system collapses under the weight of multiple challenges, alternative education programs are growing, homeschooling is increasing and new kinds of schools are taking shape.

New education models range from experiential based programs to programs that aim to undermine linear thinking and foster innovation and creativity.

Experiments to ensure access to core subjects while students gain 21st century workforce skills are also taking root. The Khan Academy, for example, is a digital repository of lessons that offers remote tutoring on a wide range of subjects using videos on the web to teach and “empower everyone, everywhere with a world class education.”

Have you been involved with experimental learning environments? What kind of experiences have you had?

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