What should education look like in the 21st century?

The frameworks of our “modern” educational institutions were established before radio and television even existed. Western primary and secondary education systems are based on the Prussian “Volksschule” model, which was designed to produce literate, organized, and obedient citizens. The institution of the University, now seen as the gold standard in education worldwide, was born in 1088 and, until very recently, consisted of a relatively small community of scholars and professionals.

In a world where Google and Wikipedia can deliver the sum total of human knowledge to any individual that wants it, primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools are no longer gatekeepers of knowledge. If people can teach themselves almost anything on their own time, what role might the “next generation” of educational institutions play?

Universities, in particular, seem to have turned into credential-givers rather than education providers. The number of students enrolled in undergraduate programs has skyrocketed over the past thirty years, with no obvious gains in learning outcomes. The quality of education university students are receiving, combined with the ever-increasing costs of tuition, suggest that the postsecondary industry is bound for some kind of disruption.

“Imago” is the working name for an ongoing project where I plan to aggregate cutting-edge educational research alongside best practices in human development, regardless of sector or industry.

Topics of Exploration

“The Territory”
  • What are the fundamental drivers of human nature and human capability?
  • What are the psychological and behavioural constraints we have to work within?
  • What are some of the things we understand very well but don’t make enough use of?
  • What are some of the things we don’t understand very well, but may prove to be useful?
Best Practices
  • What institutions in our society are working hard to educate and develop people? How are they doing it?
  • What are the advantages (and shortcomings) of traditional primary, secondary, and post-secondary education?

Key Themes So Far


Reading Notes

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