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“Will this be on the test?” Rethinking online education

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The altMBA, the course we now run, has some surprising elements:

    The backbone is a hand-built, peer-to-peer learning environment, not a series of lectures. In fact, there are no lectures at all.
    Cohort-based, with groups of five to twenty people engaged constantly with each other (we use Slack as a surprisingly powerful peer-to-peer setting for experiential learning). There is very little time spent engaging directly from top down.
    There are no lectures, no proprietary videos, no secret lessons. Instead, there’s a deep syllabus of materials (some required, some optional, most of them free or low cost).
    Almost all of the work happens through the 14 assignments our students take on in the course of the month. Every few days, they complete another one.
    All of the final work product is in public. A lot like real life.
    Every student reviews and then comments on several of the other students’ assignments.
    Every student takes the five or ten comments received and turns them into a reflective script, detailing actual change, actual growth.
    Everything iterates, again and again.
    The students attending are from dozens of cities, more than a handful of countries, time zones around the world, but every admitted student shares the same mindset of seeking true growth. Self-selection plus curated admissions means that the support network is strong. Enrollment—in the outcome and the process—is the secret of effective education.

    …Enrollment—in the outcome and the process—is the secret of effective education.