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Eugene Frier

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How can we best engage college students in the idea of learning instead of just getting a degree?

I work at a 4 year, public university and I see a great deal of students who come to school to get their degree (which they equate to money/success) and do not care about learning. What are your thoughts on the best way to engage them in the actual process of learning. I have my thoughts, but would love to hear my fellow TEDsters thoughts.

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  • Mar 30 2013: I find it interesting how many answers interpret the word "learning" in a very specific way, as method and not as objective. Your cue, which opposes learning to "getting a degree" leaves me with the interpretation of learning as "knowledge for its own sake", or more to the point; "knowledge which enhances ones quality of life in ways that are not directly marketable."

    I see the essence of your question as: "how do we convince students that 'non-directly-marketable knowledge' has its own self-defining value?" .

    I think our culture is so currently so wrapped up in "education as survival skill," that the idea of paying money to gain knowledge which is not immediately weighted by its ability to return a visible, quantifiable profit (by your implied definition) lies, essentially, outside of the awareness of most current academic settings, public forums, political agendas, and, finally, and most telling for our collective future; candidates for, and graduates of, higher education. May you find success in your efforts.

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