Disrutive TechnologyEducation is ripe for disruptive change – are you?

INTEGRITY ACADEMY believes education is ripe for disruptive change leading to innovative practices that improve learning outcomes for our students. What might have worked in the past will not necessarily have the same impact today, as the world has changed dramatically in a short period of time. It’s safe to say that the seismic shifts we are witnessing as a result of technological advances will continue to reshape our world in ways that we could never have imagined. Disruption has become commonplace in the new world and organisations have moved from adaptation to evolution in order to not only survive, but more importantly thrive.

Excitement about technology

We at INTEGRITY ACADEMY are excited about the role of technology can play in improving education and we believe that is a good thing. Education is a segment that needs disruptive innovation. To me the hype around things like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) represents a longing by many for “a better educational future” – presumably involving lower costs to students and better career/life fulfilment, not to mention better global citizens needed to solve our global challenges. Let’s face it - there is a general sense that the current education system is not up to the challenges of the future. And, it’s not clear how we get from “here” to “there.” With INTEGRITY ACADEMY, you can register 24/7, 365 days a year. Pay online and get immediate access to your educational programme. If you can't sleep, you can register and start 02:00 in the morning if you so wish.

Leader’s role

But, as leaders in the education segment we do need to get better at understanding where we have been and where we are going, what constitutes innovation and/or disruption that is worthy of investment? Are you an investor? I would argue that any individual that is putting time into educational technology leadership at any level is an investor, but certainly institutions that are spending on innovation, and yes, venture capital investors (investors in this segment, including some pretty big names, are making some bad decisions right now about where they are putting their money – but this post is more about how institutions should decide to invest their resources).

Educational online shopping

At INTEGRITY ACADEMY, we make use of an online shop front, to enable you to purchase your educational programme, qualification online, via our online system 24/7 365 days a year anywhere on the globe, where internet access is possible. Once payment is confirmed you immediately have access to the learning materials, videos, audio files, presentations, workbook assignments, etc. This means no registration deadlines blocking you to start whenever you are ready. Next, we are available via an online system to assist you with your questions, or via e-mail, SKYPE or telephone. You choose how you want to interact.

What is education all about?

1.  Education is a complex services business in which quality is difficult to define. Disruption in the education space requires better service models that are built around improved educational program quality. Comparison of education to the disruption of the steel industry by mini-mills (a connection some have made because Christensen uses this as a classic example of disruption) is not a valid comparison. Disruption in education is not about replacing the low end of a well-defined product. It’s about redefining quality in a much more complex world of knowledge than that from which most current educational models were designed. So, for instance, a true disruption in education would be highly desirable/effective Financial Services qualification (for example: National Certificate in Financial Planning Level 5 or 6) within 1 year versus the current 2-5 years (ideally that meets the needs of underperforming representatives as well as traditionally successful representatives). Importantly, it must not inhibit or slow any person in their progress towards successful completion of the qualification.

2.  The next phase of true progress will be to come out of the current era of massification into a new era of more real world relevant and personalized educational pathways. Massification of educational experiences will not be the ticket to success in the next wave of educational models. It seems that many of the entrepreneurs and investors in the education space fail to realize that we have already been in the era of massification of education for the last 30 years or so in developed countries. The disruption in terms of content will need to be content that enables educational experiences that are up-to-date (read “relevant”), adaptive to the interests of the learner, easily adaptable by teachers and yet thorough in terms of teaching the educational foundation that are defined via #1. No offence to our colleagues at other educational institutions that are still holding on to paper based and snail based models. We are fully online/offline in electronic format. All our assignments are marked electronically, uploaded back on the system and easily accessible via our cell phone APP, which is available on Google Play Store, just type in “integrity academy.”

3.  Education is the ultimate “long tail” market with a growing proliferation of high value niche providers and boutique programs. This is only going to increase in the future. Contrary to other recent online phenomena like facebook or twitter, education is not a “winner take all” market. Education, if done correctly, is life success enabling. The more unique and distinctive your educational experience is, the more valuable it is. The ability to produce knowledge is the key currency in the current and future global economy. There is no distinctiveness to attending “Massified University.” And, a credential from a massive provider will most likely be such a commodity that most will prefer not to waste their time on it (other than for pure fun or reference). We need many more niche-oriented institutions that provide specialised, career-enabling and life-enabling education. Note that even large public institutions, while having many students, can engage this philosophy to create a large number of differentiated programs of study. Therefore, the “disruptive technology platforms” for education will need to enable great diversity. Diversity in terms of delivery models and blending of high touch with personalised self-service. Disruptive platforms will also need to enable seamless integration among cooperating providers of the various components of a solution – meaning close partnership among institutions as well as innovative learning tools. Old style Web 2.0 thinking of the single pervasive platform or the single way of analysing data will not work for the future of education. Education is not that simple (sorry!).

So, what should you do, now that you have read all of this! Ideally you should go to www.integrityacademy.co.za and register on our site. Now this is disruptive: you will be surprised by the fact that we give some programmes away for FREE. Wow!! This has already enable quite a few students to complete a programme and receive a certificate to add to their CV, without any cost to them.