Below is an email I wrote to a friend about the implications of what I’m working on for the future of learning and education…
I got to this point by pivoting towards the vision of finding the future of learning.
I’ve been down in the details of startup culture for awhile so I forgot about this implication…
I actually believe if this format of support and learning is figured out with the most premium startups, it represents the future of learning and will trickle down to revolutionize education.
I think all the edu-startups have education wrong. They are trying to solve the problem through new ways of content delivery. But to transform education we have to look at how people actually learn and make an impact.
The best way to learn is very analogous to the lean startup. It’s about having a vision for something you want to do and then going and testing that hypothesis immediately by trying it. Whether it’s medicine, law, mechanical engineering or entrepreneurship. People need to test what it’s actually like as soon as possible and see if they can experience “flow” engaging in this activity.
The goal is to find something you really want to go deep into. John Seely Brown has my favorite quote in that regard, ““very often just going deeply into one or two topics that you really care about lets you appreciate the awe of the world … once you learn to honor the mysteries of the world, you’re kind of always willing to probe things … you can actually be joyful about discovering something you didn’t know … and you can expect always to need to keep probing. And so that sets the stage for lifelong inquiry.”
Another great quote from Steven Pinker is: “Accomplished people don’t bulk up their brains with intellectual calisthenics; they immerse themselves in their fields.” When colleges say they are teaching you how to think or building analytical rigor, this why it’s BS, because it doesn’t translate as well as they think it does.
Education is about supporting people to move through these 5 stages:
(1) No Desire — or intrinsic motivation (2) Desire to make an impact but uncertain about what, how or why (3) Possess an idea for a project but lack the knowledge and ability to know how to begin (4) A prototype has been built but need help gaining traction (5) The project has succeeded on a small scale but needs support going mainstream.
Essentially what Founders First will be doing is accelerating the A+ Founders who are very close to the finish line and then begin working backwards. The farther back you go there’s actually less a need to invent new things and more a need to just aggregate and streamline many of the programs that already exist to inspire young people and help them take the first step.
I wrote a quick post trying to adapt lean startup principles for education: http://maxmarmer.com/2010/05/lean-education-and-learning/