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Let's Start a Learning Revolution


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This presentation was originally given at The Feast Salons (November 2010) in NYC.

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Let's Start a Learning Revolution

  1. Let’s Start a Learning Revolution Michael Karnjanaprakorn, @mikekarnj Skillshare, CEO/Co-Founder
  2. I’m an entrepreneur based in NYC.
  3. Where is our learning revolution?
  4. Today, we’re going to challenge the traditional notion of education.
  5. Why?
  6. Because today the pinnacle ofeducation is getting into college.
  7. And not learning.
  8. Which is a massive social problem.
  9. I’m going to tell two storiesaround learning and education.
  10. And for fun, I’ll teach you the secretbehind being a winning poker player.
  11. The first story starts here...
  12. University of Virginia
  13. Where I took an Economics course on Game Theory.
  14. Which is a theory of competitionstated in terms of gains and losses among opposing players.
  15. Zzz.
  16. Boring, right?
  17. But I memorized everything for the final exam.
  18. And barely passed!
  19. But, I was so focused on passing the test.
  20. I didn’t really learn anything.
  21. I still didn’t understand game theory.
  22. Sound familiar?
  23. Fast forward to May 2010.
  24. I’m in Atlantic City with Annie Duke.
  25. She’s also my poker coach.
  26. Who gave me a lesson on...
  27. Game Theory and Decision Making.
  28. Poker is a game of decision making under conditions of uncertainty.
  29. So, my gains are exactly balanced by your losses (sum-zero game).
  30. And my success depends on thedecisions of others (game theory).
  31. As a poker player, my job isto always make the best decisions.
  32. While you makethe wrong decisions.
  33. Which is how I win in the long-run.
  34. I’ll break it down for you.
  35. In poker, once you make a bet, the money isn’t yours anymore.
  36. This is called a sunk cost.
  37. So, you shouldn’t makebad decisions on getting it back.
  38. Another example.
  39. How many of you have friends in bad relationships that stay together?
  40. Because they’ve been together for “five years?”
  41. This is another sunk cost.
  42. And a really bad decision.
  43. Because you shouldn’t makedecisions based on past investments.
  44. In other words,your friends should break up.
  45. This is the secret to winning poker:
  46. Decision Making and Game Theory
  47. A topic that I found insanely boring turned into the most interesting topic of all time.
  48. Because it was something Ipassionately wanted to learn about.
  49. The second story starts with EricaGoldson at Coxsackle-Athens HS.
  50. She gave a valedictorian speech to her 2010 graduating class.
  51. And she said some remarkablethings against schooling, like...
  52. “I excelled at every subject just for thepurpose of excelling, not learning.”
  53. “We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class.However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.”
  54. “This is the dilemma I’ve faced with the American education system.”
  55. I agree with her.
  56. The U.S. education system is fundamentally broken.
  57. So, where does a recent HS graduate go from here?
  58. “9 out of 10 American highschool seniors say they want to go to college. Source: The World-Wide Expansion of Higher Education in the Twentieth Century
  59. So, how did this happen?
  60. Before the 19th century, there were no systems of public education.
  61. In 1900, about half a million people worldwide were enrolled in colleges. Source: UNESCO (2009)
  62. “Just because a boy wants to go to college is no reason we should finance it.” - President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1939
  63. Today, there are 150 million students today enrolled in some kind of education beyond high school. Source: UNESCO (2009)
  64. “We will provide the support necessary for all youngAmericans to complete collegeand meet a new goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest portion of college graduates in the world.” - President Obama
  65. Why is there so much importance on a newinstitution like college?
  66. College degree leads to success.
  67. “Over an adults working life,high school graduates can expect, on average, to earn $1.2 million; those with a bachelors degree, $2.1 million; and people with a masters degree, $2.5 million.” Source: U.S. Census Bureau
  68. College also has intangible benefits.
  69. You experience the world for the first time.
  70. You make new friends.
  71. You gain critical thinking skills.
  72. You learn a lot about yourself.
  73. You mature.
  74. All of these aregreat and needed!
  75. But, let’s paint a new picture of college.
  76. Background Disclaimer: I like college.
  77. Background Disclaimer:I went to college twice.
  78. B.A. from UVAM.S. from VCU Brandcenter
  79. But, here’s my beefwith higher education.
  80. We need to debunk the myth that a college degree leads to success.
  81. It doesn’t.
  82. “17M Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.” Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
  83. What’s the value of a degree from college? A job as a waiter?
  84. Richard Vedder from The Chronicle of Higher Education debunks the myththat a college education will result in higher paying returns.
  85. “The stats have always been skewed for certain subgroups—particularlyrelatively disadvantaged groups withlow education outcomes—are higherthan the average marginal returns to education in the population as a whole.” Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
  86. Focused on a small subgroup of the entire education ecosystem.
  87. Here’s the reality...
  88. Not everyone goes to Harvard.
  89. Harvard only enrolls20,000 students per year.
  90. 18.2M students enrolledin college in the U.S. (2007)Source: National Center for Educational Statistics
  91. NYU: 50,000 studentsMichigan: 41,000 studentsBerkeley: 35,000 students UVA: 20,000 studentsStanford: 15,000 students Yale: 11,000 students
  92. So, where do the other 18M college students go in our country?
  93. Since the pinnacle of education is getting into college.
  94. I believe higher education has shifted from learning to short-term profit maximization.
  95. 500,000 students
  96. Extremely profitable business.
  97. 2009 Revenue: $3.7B
  98. Triple the revenue ($800M) of Facebook (2009).
  99. I did learn something in Economics:
  100. When Demand > Supply
  101. $$$
  102. Which is why I believe higher education has shifted from learning to profit.
  103. In other words, colleges act ascorporations like Goldman Sachs.
  104. Speaking of Goldman Sachs.Remember the housing market crisis?
  105. Well, the college bubble is bursting, too.
  106. And it could even be worse.
  107. Students at For-Profit institutions represent only 9% of all college students, but receive roughly 25% of all Federal Pell Grants andloans, and are responsible for 44% of all student loan defaults.
  108. There is an inevitablestudent loan crisis coming.
  109. Need more proof?Check out these headlines.
  110. “Americans now owe more ontheir student loans ($830B) than their credit cards ($827B).” Source: Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010
  111. “Consumers who have questionedwhether it is worth spending $1,000 asquare foot for a home are now askingwhether it is worth spending $1,000 a week to send their kids to college.” Source: Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010
  112. $300B of the $830B student loan debtshave been incurred in the last 4 years. Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010
  113. To put this in perspective, the US economy is burdened with$4 trillion of excess mortgage debt, which is 30% of GDP.
  114. At this rate, we’ll break1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000)withinthe next year for student loan debt.
  115. And to make matters worse, the “defaults on student loans areskyrocketing amid a weak job market and steadily rising tuition costs.” Source: Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2009
  116. “Default rates for federally guaranteed student loans areexpected to reach 6.9% for 2007. The highest rate since 1998.” Source: Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2009
  117. “College seniors who graduated in 2009 carried an average of $24,000 in student loan debt.” Source: Project on Student Debt
  118. “Unemployment for recent collegegraduates climbed from 5.8% in 2008to 8.7% in 2009 – the highest annual rate on record for college graduates aged 20 to 24.” ” Source: Project on Student Debt
  119. And it’s happening everywhere. Even in our backyard.
  120. “N.Y.U. enrolled students without asking many questions about whether they could afford a $50,000 annual tuition bill.” Source: The New York Times, May 28, 2010
  121. “Then the colleges introduced the students to lenders who underwrotebig loans without any idea of what the students might earn someday.” Source: The New York Times, May 28, 2010
  122. Sound familiar?
  123. “It’s just like the mortgage lenderswho didn’t ask borrowers to verify their incomes...” Source: The New York Times, May 28, 2010
  124. It gets even worse.
  125. You can not walk away from student loans in the same way as mortgage holders.
  126. Federal bankruptcy lawmakes it nearly impossible todischarge student loan debts.
  127. And tuition will always increase.
  128. Because the government is a hugemandated buyer and guarantor on student loan debt.
  129. Which means that tuitionwill always go up. Forever.
  130. But, we can fix this.
  131. Not everyone has to go to college.
  132. Yep, I said it.
  133. Not everyone has to go to college.
  134. Yes, it has obvious benefits.
  135. And we will always need aninstitution for higher education.
  136. But, why not challenge thetraditional notion of education?
  137. Is a college education reallyworth a $20,000 student debt?
  138. That will take the next20+ years to pay off?
  139. What happens when you switch careers?
  140. Get laid off?
  141. Or work an underpaying job?
  142. Because you decided to take the road less traveled to pursue your dreams?
  143. College is not theholy grail to success.
  144. Having a college degree will notensure that you will be successful.
  145. So, what can we do?
  146. Here’s one simple idea.
  147. Who made up the rule that wehave to attend college for 4 years?
  148. Why not 2-years?
  149. This reduces tuition which willreduce the amount of student loans.
  150. It allows students to spend the 2 years doing something.
  151. Maybe travel around the world?
  152. How about starting a business?
  153. The possibilities are endless.
  154. Here’s another idea.
  155. Why not pay students to quit college?
  156. Peter Thiel pays would-be entrepreneurs under-20$100,000 to drop out of school. 
  157. But, that’s not really scalable.
  158. Here’s an even easier, scalable solution.
  159. Why not go back to thetrue goal of education: learn new skills
  160. Where is our learning revolution?
  161. But, even bigger than the student loan crisis is the “people crisis”
  162. We are misleading our kids down the wrong path & promising them the wrong things in life.
  163. At TED 2010, Sir Ken Robinson stated “many people go through their wholelives having no real sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of.”
  164. “Education dislocates people from their natural talents. And humanresources are often buried deep. You have to go looking for them.”
  165. “You have to create thecircumstances where they show themselves.”
  166. This will only happen if we bring learning back into the US education system.
  167. And by debunking the myth that a college degree leads to success.
  168. The pinnacle of education should be learning, not going to college.
  169. We need to stop creating a cookie-cutter experience around education.
  170. We need a learning revolution inside and outside of the classroom.
  171. Here’s our solution:
  172. Platform to learn anythingfrom anyone in your community.
  173. Learning shouldn’t be confined to the four walls of a classroom.
  174. Your city, network & community is the world’s biggest university of excess knowledge and skills.
  175. It just needs to be shared.
  176. What do you want to learn?
  177. Better yet, what can you teach?
  178. Want to learn how togreen your rooftop?
  179. Bake the perfect cupcake from Magnolia Bakery?
  180. Or how to increase your happiness?
  181. You can gain this knowledgeand more through Skillshare.
  182. Because piquing yourinterest, finding new passions & learning new things should be a life-long process.
  183. Because everyone should be a life-long learner.
  184. We need a learning revolution.
  185. Thank you.
  186. "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." - Albert Einstein