Just-in-time (JIT) education: a model for an uncertain world

I once said to a gentleman older than I that “I am going to have to be Leonardo da Vinci just to survive”. This was a response to his comment on me dreaming too big and doing to many different things. Education is becoming more and more of a highly speculative bet, this explains my behavior. Unless your going all the way with physics or quantitative analysis, things are shifting so fast that betting many years paying out cash and forgoing income on school may not turn out well. Even software isn’t so solid as its development is getting more efficient, and other high skilled professions may gain the efficiency where less and less are needed in a industry. So, its best not to invest to much time in education unless the skills the are highly transferable. Say, seduction, a good set of hueristics from psychology and economics , a solid amount of math and physics, beyond that I’ll learn guitar when I get some tunes in my head, I’ll learn engineering skills and related tools when I have something to invent, etc.

Education has an inventory cost as well, I’ve been learning Portuguese again and again and again speculating that I will get to lie on one of those other worldly beaches in the Algarve Region within a couple of months. Didn’t happen, so my skills for a conversa just get rusty over and over again. The same happened to my MS Excel skills from high school, financial analysis wasn’t on my priorities list at age 15.

With more and more knowledge about the brain the know how is out there to get highly skilled really fast. We can have just in time education, and this frees us up to learn skills for a thing we expect to do soon. The Four-Hour Chef, by Timothy Feriss is the bible for this accelerated learning. It describes the DISS method which deconstructs a skill and focuses on the most critical, value producing elements. This is highly useful for anything where ones credentials is ones work and not some certification which is actually quite a bit (any art, any engineering that doesn’t require inspection, any content creation). This is perfect if you want to take part in this new vagabonding/sharing/gig/freelancing layer of society that does various jobs to get by. However, say the model that Duolingo, which offers certification based credentials, scales to other skill sets (coding, engineering, etc) we may be able to move to a world with the ability to have JIT education with certs. where you wouldn’t have to wait for a test which happens a couple of times a year or travel to a specific testing location. A problem could be cheetin, but Smart HR departments tend to test peoples skills at the interview anyway, see code interview. More importantly with the Duolingo model one can learn with extreme flexibility, and with more encryption, with the strategic reiteration of concepts from the program.

There is too much debt, gen Y looks like a bunch of blown up bankers, JIT education can probably fix this.



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