TED Conversations

Juliette LaMontagne

Founder & Managing Director, Breaker


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What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning models that exist outside of traditional educational institutions?

With the growing number of alternative learning pathways and opportunities to better serve the needs of individual students, what's working best? And what can we learn from the failures and tensions? Where and how have the models in the margins effectively disrupted the status quo?

I'll add to the conversation my current initiative, Breaker - driving alternative learning and social innovation by mobilizing interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to design product solutions to global challenges.

This Live Conversation will start on Feb. 15, 2012, 1:00pm EST/ 10:00am PST


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  • Feb 15 2012: Slightly off topic but I think there are two things we need before we can achieve what I believe to be the purpose of this question: to develop a better, new, educational system.

    Firstly, we need to know what is the aim of an education. Knowledge? Human-qualities? Experience? Intelligence? and what balance of these skills?

    Secondly, we need a place to amalgamate all these innovative educational models and test them against that basic metric of skills.

    When we have those two we can look at what aspects of which models deliver what results and by taking the best of all models we can deliver a new, evolved educational system.

    Just an idea worth spreading.

    p.s. Thanks for the brilliant conversation idea.
    • Feb 15 2012: can education make someone more intelligent?

      That may be true at early developmental ages, but I seriously doubt it's true at higher ed.

      I see many companies that require higher ed degrees in fields and jobs that don't need or benefit from more knowledge. Add to that the fact that higher ed is going to be teaching stale information, and it becomes even less valuable.

      I think there's a lot of percepetion out there that college makes people smarter, and forcing employees to go to college will improve the workforce. But if you're getting the same employees, 4 years later than you would've, is it work the huge price tag?

      A lot of higher ed is not directly relevant to basic job skills that one learns on the job. Of course that's not true for fields that require lots of CONTENT knowledge, but is probably true for many jobs that require intellegence and creative thinking.

      I think some people (and our economy) would be better served to start work earlier, and then with context and real tangible problems (and potential solutions) in mind, take some higher education in a directed way.

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