The Electric Educator: Stop Going to School for your Education

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stop Going to School for your Education

Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn put out an insightful and daring article in Harvard Magazine this past week in which they discussed the possibility of Harvard Business school, of which they are both affiliated, being adversely impacted by the growing popularity of online learning.

The focus on Harvard was meant to demonstrate how even the most respect, well established learning institutions are likely to be impacted by the disruptive innovation of online learning. The part of the article that caught my attention was the claim that more and more people will be learning in-context rather than at a school or university. Cost, flexibility, and specificity are three reasons that potential business students would opt NOT to attend Harvard Business school, or some similar institution. 

The cost of education, especially higher education, is rising at a pace that few people can afford. This is true even of prestigious schools such as Harvard. Online learning is much cheaper.

Harvard's program is excellent, but isn't going to flex with your needs. Have a full time job, a family? Full time enrollment probably isn't going to work out to well for you. Online learning allows geographic and time flexibility.

As knowledge increases, the need for specialized training also increases. Just getting an MBA isn't going to cut it anymore. You need to get an MBA with experience with a specific product or type of business. Harvard can't provide industry specific training for everyone. Individual Businesses, with industry specific knowledge are best suited to offer this type of specialized training.

In the future, colleges and universities probably won't be the providers of advanced learning. Instead, businesses and industry organizations may provide cost effective, flexible, and focused training.


  1. I support you on High School education because one can learn online as these institutions shares and guides through emails, and video conferencing.

    But coming to elementary schooling, kids should attain or join school to know the environment and make friends, this will help them build them selves.

  2. Hi PeopleLink, yes, I certainly agree. Virtual education changes as you move down from the collegiate level. There are only a handful of programs that offer elementary education online. The focus right now seems to be at the high school level.


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