Danny Iny: "Education that Works: Leveraged Learning" | Talks at Google

Danny Iny:

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Danny. Eeny has been featured in the Harvard Business Review entrepreneur. And he contributes, regularly to, publications, including Inc Forbes. And Business Insider he. Has guest lectured, at McGill University as. Well as Yale, University. And he's the author of multiple best-selling. Books about, online education, his most recent book leverage, learning is hot off the presses it just came out in October, and it's the culmination of Danny's, research it's at the latest work in neuroscience. Instructional. Design and recent, breakthroughs, in education, the. Book aims to sow the seeds of education transformation. In the coming years so please welcome. To any to Google New York. Thank. You it's a privilege to be here. So. Once upon a time there. Was an emperor who. Was powerful. And influential, and. All of his strength and resources were exceeded, only by his, vanity. He. Wanted the most wonderful, resplendent, refinery, that could be found in all the land. But. Where was he defined this wonderful, resplendent. Refinery, there was no Google he could not type in where it is so, he. Put out an RFP, he. Had his missives, go out to all the tailors in the land saying bring to us your. Plans, bring to us your sketches bring to us your fabrics and the. Tailor's dead they, came to the Royal Court and they paraded in front of him and they displayed, their wares and, he was never satisfied. Until. Finally, two men approached. The Emperor they said sire we. Have the most wonderful. Garment. That we can create for you of a, magical, fabric, of unsurpassed. Beauty and. The. Emperor was excited, this is what he wanted the, best of the very best and so he had his men bring a giant, chest. Of gold coins to these two men they, took the, chest of gold coins and they went away to. Work. Except. They didn't work, because they weren't tailors, they were con men so, they goofed off a few weeks while they were supposed to be working then, they returned to the royal palace and they. Said sire, we have brought, to you this wonderful, incredible, garment. But. We must tell you something important about it you see it is made of a magical, fabric, and all. Who are wise are worthy who gaze upon it will, see the most beautiful construction. They've, ever seen with, their eyes but. Those who are not worthy those. Who are not deserving of their post those who are incompetent, will. See nothing. And. Then one of the tailors reaches, into his bag he, pulls out his arm and he's holding nothing. And. The. Court is smiling. Nervously, because. They're all thinking am I the only one I don't, want to be deemed unworthy. And incompetent, because being. Deemed as uncompensated. Beheaded. Outside, the, Emperor's Court and so, they all smiled nervously and, the, Emperor not wanting to lose face in front of his subjects, said Wow, what, gorgeous, refinery, I'm thrilled, and he made a show of putting on nothing. And, give. Them their gold coins and sent them on their way and then. Finally, he says I want the entire kingdom to see the great beauty. And wonder, that I now get, to wear so, he organizes a parade and he's marching, down the streets with fanfare, and music and all, his subjects, are smiling, nervously and cheering until, finally a small boy looks, at him and begins, to giggle and says, mommy. The Emperor is naked, and. As. Parents we've all had those mortifying, moments and. That's, how the parents felt for a moment but then the, crowd bursts, out laughing, because. Of course they had realized, that the emperor was naked. Now. This is an old story it was written by Hans Christian Andersen almost 200 years ago the. Emperor has no clothes, is an allegory, for something, that everyone knows is not true but. Nobody. Acknowledges, it's not true and for, that final moment when, the little boy points, at the Emperor says the Emperor is naked everyone, brutes up burst out laughing there.

Are Two awakenings. That have to occur, first. There's the private, awakening. This is the individual, citizens, gazing upon the emperor and thinking to themselves I don't. Think he's wearing any clothes and, that. Stays inside them. Later. There's a public, awakening. When they call. Out the emperor now. It takes a very different thing to have that private, awakening, and then to make it public the private awakening. Happens. When you have an impression based on your experiences, based on your thoughts based, on your perspective, the. Public, awakening, happens. When you feel strongly, enough about it and you feel that you can support the argument with enough rigor when, others disagree, now. Emperor's. Can be people but more often their ideas, their, institutions, and the, biggest emperor, in our modern world is, higher. Education we. Orient, our entire, lives around, it we spend the first eighteen years working, to get in we. Spend the next eighteen years paying it off and. Another. Eighteen years saving, up said our kids can start the same process, I. Had. Both. Of these awakenings about, higher education and, these two awakenings, were prompted, by two, pivotal. Moments. In my life the. First was. When I was fifteen years old. Now. A little, bit of backstory as a child, I was, the, goody, two-shoes teacher's, pet always, gets perfect, straight A's I was, that kid and. That worked for me until about the end of the eighth grade then I got into the ninth grade and it was like a switch flipped in my head and I sat there in class and I, just thought to myself oh, my, god I am so bored, I can't. Take this anymore and, so I started cutting classes, now. Here's the thing about me I'm a bit of an extreme personality. I don't do anything halfway, and so. In that first trimester. Of the ninth grade I missed. 152, classes. One. Hundred and fifty two classes, I was barely. There and. The. Number just went up from there and this went on for about a year and a half till about the middle of the tenth grade I was fifteen years old and then. I just, had this moment I looked in the mirror and I paused, I thought. To myself Danny, what are you doing like. What's the plan here, am I just going to keep cutting classes and going to the gym and watching MTV all, day which. Is what teenagers, did back then, this. Doesn't make sense so I think it's time I'm going to make it official I'm, going to quit school I'm going to start my first business. The. Prevailing, narrative around me at the time was. Not encouraging. Of this idea. The. Prevailing, narrative said, Danny. You, are making a huge mistake you. Are throwing your life away. Now. Let's unpack that there's two things there Danny. You're making a huge mistake basically. Saying the consequences. Of this decision will not be positive. I. Disagreed. I had, a different perspective I was like you know what I could see that I don't know everything I might be wrong but. Here's the thing I couldn't get on board with you, are throwing your life away this. Implied. Irreversibility. To the decision not just it's the wrong move but, your life is over this is it it's the end and. I thought to myself that doesn't make sense like, you know worst case scenario I can always just go back to school like. This is a reversible, decision. And so. I went ahead and I dropped out of school thanks, to the support of some people in my life especially my mom and, I. Started my first business and. It. Turns out it was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself I got. To experience things I never would have otherwise experienced, learned things I never otherwise would have learned played. Out great, now. As. A. Little aside. I want to clarify. Something because, there's. A difference between dropping. Out meaning. Opting, out meaning. Saying, you know I don't like the instructions, that have been set out before me so I'm just going to quit I'm gonna opt out I'm going to sit, on a couch watch TV and eat pizza all day long that's.

Not, Just dropping out of school it's dropping out of life there's. A huge difference between that and saying I'm, opting. In to, something else I'm. Going to take a self-directed. And, curious approach and I trust that I will find a way to do it so I'm not advocating that anyone, drop. Out opt, out, and that's it I think opting, for something, better is worthwhile, so. I was the first instance. I was 15 I dropped out of school and, it, worked out pretty well now. Let's go on to this second. Crossroads. In my life I'm gonna fast-forward 10. Years now. I'm about 25, and in those intervening, 10 years I have, been involved in a whole bunch of different businesses, I had gotten to, do a whole bunch of interesting projects, and most, recently I had tried to build a software company we were developing technology, at taught kids how to read which, is something I always cared a great deal about and. We. Raised some money from friends and family we got some really good early traction with our prototype, the experts loved it the kids loved it but, the parents and the teachers who, are the actual customers, they didn't get it I was. A very young and very inexperienced CEO. And what in hindsight is the. Most complicated, industry. On the face of the earth and, by. The time this young and inexperienced CEO. Figured, out what, I needed to do and how things need to go we, were almost out of money and it was August of 2008. In. September, of 2008. The, markets crashed the, bottom fell out from, under everyone, and I. Walked away from that experience with about a quarter of a million dollars, in personal debt it. Was not a great time in my life and when, you have that kind of setback you. Question, your. Decisions, you question, the path you've taken you, think maybe I need a little more security. Maybe. I need a little more stability maybe there's some virtue to a more traditional path, and I. Said what if I go back to school what. If I go to business school and get my MBA. So. I applied. To schools, I got into one of the top business schools in Canada I didn't. Have a high school diploma by the way. Because. Even institutions. Of higher learning that, value higher learning, they have exception. Paths for people who have interesting, background, an interesting experience, and who, are resourceful enough so even. Institutions. Of higher learning don't, actually value the traditional, path as much, as they pretend. But. I get into I get. Into one of the top business schools in Canada and. The. Prevailing, narrative around me this time was Danny. This is great. You. Are going, to set yourself up for life you're, going to learn the things you need to learn it's going to open all the doors you. Know this is the best thing you can possibly do, so. The expectation, is that the consequences, would be uniformly, good nobody. Talked about reversibility. Or irreversibility. Who wants to reverse something, that's going to be all good. Well. I went ahead I committed, the time and very. Substantial, amount of money that it, took to go through this program I earned my degree and as, it turns out if, I, had to make a list of the five or ten worst, investments. Of time and money in my life this. Would be high on that list I had. Some great teachers but I also had a lot of mediocre, ones I met, some interesting people I also, met a lot of mediocre, ones the, brochures promised, all the future leaders of tomorrow, the, class, held all the middle managers of today, so. It was not an impressive experience. It was certainly not. Worth the. Investment and, again. A clarifying, point people will often say Danny wait are you saying you're better off without, an MBA than with one the. Answer is no of course not but, it's not about am I better off with, it or without it the, question is am I better off with, it or with, the, other things I could have done with that time and money and the. Answer is I could have done much better things with that time and money so. It's about the opportunity, cost and it wasn't worthwhile now. The, contrast, between. These, two junctures. In my life was, interesting. Dropping. Out of high school the age of 15 everyone. Said it would be a terrible idea, with irreversible. Consequences neither. Of those turned out to be true and. Going. Back to school getting my MBA everyone, thought it would be a great move but. It wasn't, and it. Was completely irreversible I could never get that time or that back. What. I've since found is, that these experiences. Less. The high school thing because most people stick it through at least that far but, especially the outcomes, and experience, people have with higher education, this. Was not a unique, experience. Digging. Into the data I found that if you look at postgraduate employment. Look at people aged 22 to 29 who. Have a college degree almost. Half of them are underemployed. Meaning. They're working in a job that does not require a college degree so. They traded four, or more years it takes the average American seven years to complete a four-year program four-year program so.

They Traded four to seven years of their lives tens. If not hundreds, of thousands of dollars the average American, graduates, from, an undergraduate program with over $30,000, in debt would, you figure in the interest they're gonna pay over the life of the debt is more like forty six thousand they. Traded that time and that money to, get a job that, does not even require a college degree and of. The balance of these slightly more than 50% of, people aged 22, to 29 with a college degree who. Are working in a job, that requires a college degree three-quarters. Of them are, working in a field that is not what they studied. So. How much credit can the degree really take. That's. Kind, of messed up, now. I want. To be clear I'm not saying that all college, is bad, America's. Top schools have a lot, to offer besides, just the academics, and there are a few schools that are innovating, in really, interesting ways if, you look at Western Governors, in Utah, if you look at Arizona State you, look at northeastern, you look at the University of southern New Hampshire there's, some really interesting things happening, but. Many people don't, have great experiences. Or great, ro eyes even. At the top schools and most. Schools are not top schools of the. Thousands, of colleges, and universities, in the u.s. only. About 200, of them are what you can call selective, meaning. They accept less than 50%, of the people who apply, so. You get a mixed experience of, those top 200, schools and most. Schools are not anywhere, near that level of quality. Now. All. Of that. My experiences. And then finding, this data that. Led to my private, awakening, of okay, the. Emperor's not wearing any clothes there's something messed up about higher. Education, and people's, expectations, from it and it, could have just stopped there I could have just been part of the massive. Disillusioned. Silent, masses, but. There are two quirks, to my personality, that took it further, the. First is that, I am fascinated, and, inspired by. Education. Now. I'm not unique in being fascinated, and inspired by something, everyone. Is fascinated and, inspired by something for. Me that's education. I just. Find it magical. Not the not, the education industrial. Complex, which i think is a disaster, but. Education. The process, of empowering, people to do things they weren't formerly. Able to do there's. A great great quote that I love by Walt Disney if, you can dream it you can do it. Countless. People have been inspired to great action, by, this quote this idea myself, included and I'm, inspired by the possibility. Of what we can dream but. I'm also fascinated, by, the fundamental, on truth of it if. You can dream it that doesn't mean you can do it there's a world of a gap between dreaming, and doing and that, gap is bridged by. Education. So. That just. Fascinates, me, personally. I think it's amazing that we can spend a day watching videos on Ted and be, inspired. By all the amazing things we know how to do all the amazing problems, we know how to solve then, we close our laptop we walk out into the world we look around we're like where. Is all of it that. Gap between what we could do and what, we actually do, that's, what education does, that's really. Cool to me. The. Second quirk, about my personality, is that when. I'm fascinated by, something when I'm excited about something I talk, about it so.

When I was a kid you know when I was 4 years old or whatever in kindergarten, I'd come home from school and I'd say mommy mommy look at this thing I made and she'd look at it and say that's amazing, what's, it supposed to be. But. I was excited and I would do that every day and that hasn't. I write, books I write articles and I'll come home at the end of the day with a printout and say sweetie my wife sweetie look look you've got to read this article I wrote and tell, me what you think you want to tell you about the meeting I had I just AM, excited about something and so I want to talk about it that just hasn't changed. So. Being excited. About, fascinated. By education. And also. Frustrated. And disillusioned, with the, way that it works in real life and having, a propensity to, talk, about it means. That I found myself in a lot of positions to get a lot of pushback from. People who, disagreed, because. After all the people I have the privilege of talking to are smart they're, educated, and, people. As a, whole human, beings are invested. In the, things they have invested, in. Dan. Ariely --zz research into the IKEA effect has, shown that when we build something ourselves we, value it more highly than if someone else built it for, us back. When fraternity. Hazing --zz were a kind of sorta acceptable, thing the, rationalization, was well I went through it and look it worked out for me and so I must be invested, otherwise what, was the point we. Are invested, in the things that we have invested in and, so, there was all this pushback, all. This well no you know education, is important, it broadens your horizons, and it opens doors and it's not even about the classes, it's about the network and the, excuses. Would go on and on every time I would have a counter-argument, they, jump to a different one and there's. Something more, fundamental, going. On there which, is that people don't want to make the wrong choice with, the most sensitive, and important decisions they'll make in their lives there's. An old saying in business nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, people, used to say that IBM was in a different business that. Well. No. No one ever said that you're a bad parent because you sent your kid to college, right. If you don't a lot of people might say that nobody ever said you're throwing your life away because you're going to college there's, this fear, of getting, it wrong and this. Was the thing that really struck me I would talk to people even people. Who agreed, with me completely, about how fundamentally. Broken higher, education. Is, bad of a return on investment people, were getting and they. Were still, conflicted. About the idea of not sending their kids to, college it, felt dangerous. It felt almost heretical, and, now. It's just weird to me how. Can you look, at the numbers look at the data know that it's a bad deal and still think but I think it's too dangerous not to do it and that. Led me to, do, more research to dig deeper remember, I have an extreme, personality. So I don't do things halfway, so. I started reading articles, and I started listening to interviews. And I started talking to experts I started reading books and I. Came back to. The people who pushed. Back and I had counter, arguments, for them and they had counter arguments for me and so I went back and did more research and, this cycle accelerated.

Over A seven-year period until this. Kind, of passive, fun thing that I was doing became no, no no I'm taking this on this is a research project so. I went onto Amazon, and I ordered every book I could find about, education. Instructional, design the science of learning education. Reform and the, books arrived then I looked at the references, in the back and I ordered all of the books that they, were referring, to and I had a mountain of books in my house my. Wife was like Danny what are you doing and I. Looked at this mountain of books no I was like what am i doing, there's. No way I can read all these books in a you, know human. Lifetime and, so, I hired a research team and, I said I want you to read this book and write me a 20 or 30 page summary with page stamp so I can go back to the original source of every, idea and chase, it down and I, spent tens of thousands, of dollars getting. A library, summarized. That I can dig into and research and organize and think through I'm. A little obsessive. So. I did all this and. All. Of that research. Culminated. Into, leveraged. Learning the book that I published in, October. Now. I did all this research looking. For you know once and for all the definitive data that I could show people saying, look, this this direction, in which I'm saying education is going look, the data is saying that's really where it's going, what. I actually found in the data is that it's, already here. There's. A great quote by William Gibson he said the future is here it's just not evenly distributed. The. Future is here it's. Just not evenly distributed so. What. Does that mean, well. Let me tell you a little story a couple years ago I was, on a business trip at a layover so I'm hanging out at the airport killing, some time and, I, see a Brookstone store it's the store has all the interesting, tech gadgets and having, time to kill and liking interesting tech gadgets I step inside and I. See on display a Yoda, doll Yoda from Star Wars like this big on a pedestal and as. I approach Yoda's eyes open, he turns his head a little bit towards me and he says teach, you to use the Force I will and like, cool ok and Yoda. Says. Stretch. Out your arm and, so I'm kind of tentatively, doing, this and, through. Some combination of sensors. And motors Yoda, gets flung back and like, oh my god this is so cool I need. To buy this and bring it home and. Then. Of course I thought this won't fit in my carry-on and my wife will kill me so I'm not gonna buy it but this was awesome thank you very much, and. I keep walking in the airport and I, step into the men's room and I, see a line of men in front. Of a line of sinks waving, their hands frantically. Trying to get the motion-activated, faucet. To release some water. The. Future is here it's, just not evenly distributed. The. Fencers will get into the faucets, too it's just a matter of time now. What. Does that mean about, education. Has, the whole world caught. On to the fact that education is, broken not. Yet but they are it's, happening, is. Education, broken and broken already yes it is and people are catching on to that and, when, we're making big decisions about our education.

We, Have to think ahead because. You're gonna have to live with the consequences. Of the, decision, in the world that exists in four to seven years not, today, so. What does this mean for the disruption of education we hear a lot about the. Rising cost, of education, the student debt crisis, it's, one and a half trillion, dollars now in the US, second, only to mortgages, it's more than credit cards it, is also by the way the only kind of debt you can't even free yourself as by declaring bankruptcy it's. Also the kind of debt you're most likely to incur before you're even a legal adult. Pretty. Crazy. So. We hear a lot about the. Debt the cost but. We don't hear a lot about the other side of the equation which is what. Is all that money paying for what, is it actually buying. Now. We've already talked about post-graduation. Employment. Rates which, are abysmal they're a disaster but. There's a whole lot more, there's. All this stuff. That we think is true all these truisms. About the value of college that. Just doesn't add up let's take for example the. Lie, of lifetime. Earnings we've all heard the truism, if you go to college you'll make more over your lifetime, well. That's accurate, but, it's also misleading, because. You're looking at a massive amount of data as a whole rather, than looking at the right pockets, of it so let's. Start with a little analogy. Imagine you've got a bar and ten guys are sitting in the bar and they each are in the median American, household income of about $60,000. And then. Bill Gates walks into the bar the. Average income of a person at the bar just shot up by over a billion dollars but. None of those guys got any richer so, it's true that as a whole, college. Graduates, are in more over a lifetime than people who didn't go to college but. Let's filter out those top 200, schools which represent, less than 10% much. Less than 10% of college, education in, the u.s. let's, take that out of the equation let's. Also take out of the equation a very small subset of highly, paid vocation, granting degrees so we take out engineering. And medical school for, example most. Of those earnings differences, disappear. Let's. Also remember that, most colleges, are in major metro, areas which. Means the most college graduates are in major metro areas where the cost of living is a little higher and the income is a little higher let's. Also remember that if you graduate, saddled, with enormous amounts of debt you will have a bias to take a higher paying job that you might not want because.

You Have no choice to service that debt let's. Also remember that, just about all post, College, earning data, is, self-reported, so, the people who are excited about how much money they're making will presumably, be over-represented. So. Figure all that in and, that. Difference, disappears. And. It goes further because. There's also a question of attribution, let's, look at the top schools let's. Look at you know you go to one of those top 200, schools you will earn more over a lifetime but is that because you. Went to the top school therefore. You're, earning more or is it because the people who are earning who are going to earn more anyway went, to the top school it's. Harder to get into the top schools it, takes a higher caliber person, as judged, by academics. And whatever else that. Can, be a confounding, variable so research, has actually been done to try to untangle, those variables. Seth Stevens Davidowitz he published a great book the, last couple of years it's called everybody lies and. He got a lot of his data from Google, which is fascinating, so. What, he did is he. Looked at the because, you know do we know that people who graduated from Harvard or in more over a lifetime than people who went to Penn State which is a good but not quite as good school, yes, but. It's harder to get into Harvard so. He looked at the data he looked at the people who, applied, to and got accepted to both, Harvard and Penn. State they. Could have gone to either but, they chose to go to Penn State because it. Was closer to home it was cheaper there was a boyfriend or girlfriend there close to family whatever it is so. Let's compare that cohorts. Postgraduate. Earning with the people who went to Harvard it's. Exactly the same, so. Is it, that you, make more money because you went to Harvard or is, it that the people who are gonna make more money anyway, went. To Harvard. There's. A huge disconnect between what, we think education, will do for us and white actually does, but. It raises the question why, why, is education, so out of step with, modern. Life it wasn't always like this a hundred. Years ago 50 years ago even 30 years ago College. Really was the golden ticket to the good life to opportunity, to possibility, it really did open doors, so what, has changed. Well. Over. The last few decades. Everything, about how we need education to fit into our lives has. Changed, but. Education, hasn't not. Nearly enough, so. Let's start with the timing, of education the timing, of education, in our lives has, changed, education. Used. To follow a just-in-case. Model, you're, gonna spend a whole bunch of years studying at the start of your career just. In case you. Need it and this. Was always pedagogically. Problematic. Because we, know that the amount of stuff you retain, is a lot less than people think and so, stuff you studied in college five or ten or fifteen years later most of its just not there anymore but. Let's even let's put that aside the. Stuff that you learned could. Still be current right the world stayed more or less the same you could graduate, from college get a job and be, doing a similar job thirty years later better. Because you have more experience but it's the same fundamental skill set that's.

Not How our world works today the, world changes, so much faster I mean. You know here at Google anyone who learned how to code 20, years ago and that, was their knowledge they'd. Be useless they couldn't do anything right the, world has changed Larry. Summers the former dean of Harvard is on record saying everything you learn is going to be obsolete in five or ten years, so. We're shifting we're seeing a shift from, a lot of Education just in case at, the start of a career to, actually a lot more education. Just, in time over the duration of a career the. Timing, of Education, in formal, institutions, has not kept up with what, we need but. Even more importantly, the, way in which we need to be empowered by education. Has, changed. Compared. Again the world a hundred years ago 50 years ago 30, years ago with, the world today it, used to be pretty static things, stayed more or less the same but, now things are changing at an ever-faster pace, because. Of Moore's law because of how quickly technology is changing because of automation because, of AI because of the acceleration, of all those factors coming together. Thirty, years ago the, world was ruled by experts. But. Today expertise, is cheap being an expert basically, means you can answer the questions at Google can answer and Google, is faster. Now. We need people who can answer the questions, that Google can't. Answer and that's, not, the same thing 30, years ago a model, employee was, someone who could follow instructions. With, a high degree of competency, and. Education. Did, a pretty good job of training people to do exactly that. But. Things have changed we've, all heard the cliches, right. You know the hottest jobs today didn't exist 15 years ago we're training people to solve problems, that aren't problems yet using tools, that haven't been invented yet etc etc we've, heard those, cliches, and they're true they. It raises the question well then what does it take to succeed in that world today, and into, the future. Well. Let's, do a little thought experiment. Imagine. You're about to start the most ambitious. Challenging. Complicated. Sensitive, high-profile, project, of your, life and career. But. You don't know anything about it. Now. Build your team. Who. Do you want on your team with you you, can't say well I need a full stack developer, and I need a copywriter, and I need a police, chief you can't say I need these things because you don't know what, the subject matter is.

So. You're probably going to say well I want people who are resourceful. And think, well on their feet people, who take initiative and responsibility people. Who handle ambiguity well, and people who play well with others so. How, does that play out in the real world think about the best, people you've worked with in your careers, the. People who got great results delivered. Great, outcomes. Everyone, wanted them on their teams I'm willing. To bet that other than their subject, matter expertise, which is also important, these are all people who were resourceful and thought well on their feet who, took initiative and responsibilities, who, handled ambiguity, well and who played well with others and. What. Do employers tell us they want they. Want people who are resourceful, and think well on their feet they, want people who take initiative and responsibility they, want people who handle ambiguity well. And they, want people who play well with others. Competence. Is no longer enough our. World demands excellence. Memorizing. The dots is no longer enough we have Google, for that. Our world demands that we find novel ways of connecting those, dots, knowing. The answers, is no longer enough. Our world demands that we learn to ask better questions. So. Given those needs, how. Does higher education, stack up, the. Answer is poorly. Higher. Education, does a terrible. Job of, preparing us to think critically, and creatively, there's. A great body of research and find the book called. Academically, adrift, documenting. It showing. That over 1/3 of people, going to a four-year college career. As a student shows. Zero, games in critical thinking skills over. That, time this, from institutions. That are teaching, you how to think not. So much and is, especially scary, when you consider that most people going through this for your type program they're, in the age range of about eighteen to twenty-two this is a time in our lives when brain development, is still happening you would expect Cod cognitive, critical thinking abilities, to, be growing no, matter what you're doing so. What. Is really going on there, now. This is what, I found in my research this is what I documented, in my book I found mountains. Of data reaffirming, story, after story of, people, who felt baited. By the shiny project, prop excuse, me by the shiny promise, of the good life made, my college and then switched to, the soul-crushing death, and dubious, job prospects, that they actually got this. Is what led to the second, awakening this is what led me to speak, out and say look. The. Emperor is naked and I'm. Not alone in saying that Clayton, Christensen, who teaches at Harvard he wrote the innovators, dilemma, he's on record saying that he expects, 50%. Of colleges to be bankrupt in the next five or ten years I'm not. Quite that. Optimistic. But. I'm close. Joseph. Owen president, of Northeastern. University wrote. A great book called robot, proof talking about all the ways in which higher education, is falling short when it comes to preparing people to, the world of tomorrow Ryan, Craig has written a couple of great books on the, topic college, unbound, and a new you Brian, Kaplan, has written about this many others have as well we. All see that for too the, cost of education has been going up and the, value it provides has been going down now. This. Is a familiar pattern, cost going up value, going down that's, the definition of, a bubble and bubbles. Always, burst. Sometimes. They, burst, dramatically. Like the financial markets did in 2008, Bank it's all gone right, 3/4 the value disappears overnight but. Sometimes it's more gradual, sometimes. The way a bubble bursts is more like the air being let out of a balloon. And. We. Have good, reason to believe that this is already happening when, it comes to higher education over the, last 5 years the u.s. saw an undergraduate, enrollment. Decline of 2.4. Million people. That's. Almost 7 percent of, would, be students, recognizing. That despite the huge power commanded. By the emperor he, just isn't nearly, well dressed enough to justify investing, years, of their lives and tens if not hundreds, of thousands of their dollars. So. Where does that leave us and what. Can we do, well. First, we can all be smart about our own continuing. Education, I'm. Not necessarily, unilaterally. Suggesting. That you forsake and condemn, institutionalized. Education, but. I am saying you shouldn't take it as a magical, golden ticket either I'll. Get it I'll pay the price and I'll just trust and hope that things will work out the, cost is just too high, what other area, of life do we invest that much time and that much money and just.

Hope For the best. Nowhere. And. Regardless. Of whatever formal. Training, you do or don't pursue you, have to take ownership and responsibility for. Developing yourself into. The sort of person who will thrive in the modern world someone. Who is resourceful, and thinks well on their feet who, takes initiative and responsibility who, handles ambiguity, well and who, plays well with others. So. How do you do that well. I can I would. Love to give you a set of instructions and people, ask me and that's. What they're looking for but, I can't and there, are two reasons for that first, everybody's, different what they find fascinating, inspiring and fulfilling won't. Be the same for someone else but. More importantly, how, could you possibly develop. Things like resourcefulness. Initiative. And comfort. With ambiguity by. Following someone else's clean, set of instructions, it. Doesn't work. What. You need is a shift in orientation. You. Move away from thinking like a navigator, towards, thinking like an explorer. Navigators. Follow directions, they're looking for the shortest or safest. Or most direct path from A to B, explorers. Aim to learn because they're excited about what, they might find. So. How to explorers get good at exploring. By. Exploring, do, you have a model for this right here at Google you're famous 20%, time for engineers, the idea being you should be working on things that are not core, to, your job you. Need to take that same ethos, to your own learning, investing, whether it's 20% or whatever the appropriate time, is for you of your, time in learning and growing in areas that are not immediately, relevant, but are interesting. And fascinating and, fulfilling and the. World is abundant with tools, to help you do this there are books and online courses there, are TED, Talks there are coaching programs, there are personal research projects, there, are entrepreneurial, ventures there, are many ingredients but, you have to invent your own recipe. And that's, the key if. You have kids or friends or siblings who, are considering college I'm not saying that they should read some books and watch some videos instead I'm. Not even saying they shouldn't go, to college necessarily. But. The first step is to be crystal, clear about what, it is that you want and take. The time to do it people. Can be forgiven, for at the age of 17, not knowing what they want to do for the rest of their lives how. Many of us today would, like to be held responsible, and attached to some, decision we made when we were a teenager right. It's okay if they don't know but if you don't know take, the time to find out do. A gap year read, a bunch of books about things you might be interested in make, a list of areas. That you might like to work in reach out to people working in those areas and take them out for lunch and say what is it like to work in this area right. If you think this is a field you want to pursue say hey can I work for you for free for, a month or two months or three months all I want is to see what it's like and get half an hour of your time at the end of the month to ask you questions, but, what this experience is like people. Sometimes tell me Danny what do you mean work for free and, I say that's a lot better than paying tens of thousands of dollars, get. Clear on what it is that you want and, sometimes. Something funny will happen sometimes this process will, bypass the rest all together it'll just lead to a job offer and if that happens that's great but that's not the point once. You know what, it is you want to do you, can decide on the best path to get there maybe college is the best path someone. Who knows they want to be a surgeon will have to go to medical school someone. Who thinks they want to be a surgeon goes, to medical school and then discovers, they don't like it and I. Know people like that that's. Unfortunate, and many. Paths don't require, college, as the fastest, way of getting to where they want to go fundamentally. Some. Training, some education, is vocational, it teaches you how to do the job but in many cases is just some generic calling.

Card It's a degree that is supposed to impress. A very small number of people in order, for them to open a very small number of doors so. If the goal is to impress a very small number of people and you're, allocating, years of your life and tens if not hundreds, of thousands of your dollars to, doing it is there not potentially. At least a more, efficient, way of getting the job done so. For. Many people college. Will not be the answer and then. The question becomes and I get this question every. Day well, Danny if not college, then what and what. People are asking for with that question is a one-size-fits-all. Answer. Right. If everyone doesn't. Go to college everyone. Should go to this thing instead, but. That's still the assembly, line model, of Education with everyone, going through the same stations, and that, doesn't fit our era, of personalization. That's not how things work anymore, what. We need is the opposite, of a one-size-fits-all. Approach where. Everyone follows some right, set of instructions, and that. Leads. Us to the, most important, ingredient, which is self, direction, it's, not about opting. Out and quitting. And saying well I'm just gonna watch TV and eat pizza, it's, about being proactive in, deciding, here, is what I'm going to opt for instead. It's. About being led by curiosity and, charting your own path and, you. Need to do it everybody. Needs to do it but before everyone, can do it the, people around them need to trust that it can be done because. That's the terror will wait no I mean people left to their own devices will, just watch Netflix, right. And people, are reflecting, on a very limited subset, of their own experience, they say you know I work hard at work but when I get home at the end of the day or on the weekend I just want to binge Netflix, it's, like yeah because you're tired from your work all week long but. Left to our own devices people. Are curious. People. Are interested, people are engaged to, research everything, that we know about education shows, that a people. Can do this and B. We, must do, this. When. We talk about deep. Learning, powerful. Learning, there's. A lot of misconception. About how it works many. People have heard of the 10,000, hour rule the idea if you want to become an expert master, in a subject, you have to work for 10,000, hours, this. Was popularized, by Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers a great fascinating. Interesting, book he's incredibly, talented and it, is based largely on the research of dr. K, Anders Ericsson, who. Was so frustrated, by how misrepresented. His research was that, he wrote a book called peak that. Talks about deliberate. Practice, there. Are three big steps in any educational, process, the, first is the consumption, of the, new idea of the new knowledge, right, that's where you're attending the lecture watching the video listening. To the audio whatever it is the. Second step is. Application. Taking what you've learned and doing. Something with it and that, can be theoretical. Doing homework writing essays whatever it can be practical, applying it in the real world and then. The third step is when, you get feedback here's, where you got it right here's where you got it wrong this can come from a coach it, can come from a teacher it, can just come from the real world I tried to sell something nobody bought that tells me something although, hopefully the feedback is more directive. And helpful than just a binary yes, or no. Learning. Happens not. In that first, bucket, of exposure. To ideas it happens in the second and third buckets, of playing. With the ideas working with them applying them getting, feedback and improving. It's. About doing. That work and doing, it at the edge of your comfort zone. But. It's hard to do that it's uncomfortable you're gonna be pushing out of your zone of comfort all the time you're gonna be doing things that are difficult you're gonna face setbacks and that, means you need to be able to push through discomfort, you need to persevere. Now. Angela Duckworth calls this grit she, published a book about this recently but she published, her first research paper on the topic in, 2007. And. Since. Then the idea of grit has inspired. The imagination of. Educators. If grit. Leads to success then, we just have to teach people to be more, gritty. But. There's. A key thing that gets missed which is that nobody is gritty about, everything. Nobody. Is gritty about things that we have no interest, in we. Are greedy about the things that we care about we're. Greedy about the things that fascinate, and inspire, us so while it's true that grit, is a cause, of success grit. Is also an effect, of, self-directed. Inspiration. So. For us to engage in that deep and powerful learning and push, through the discomfort, it has to be on things, and in ways of actually engage, and fascinate. Us and that. Is what leads to actual, success in real, life again as documented, by research, the.

Key Isn't to try to make people gritty about, things that they don't care about it's, to empower, them to focus their energies, on the things that they do. Ultimately. We, only become, the sort of people who will succeed in the present and in the future if, we get excited about learning to figure it out on our own and trust. That we can I. Hope. You will all do that I hope you will encourage, the people that you care about to, do the same thank. You. All. Right questions. Thanks. I'm curious. About the role of social interaction, in institutional. Education I agree, with your assessment completely. For. The sake of argument I ended, up at Yale and I'm. Grateful, for that opportunity most, because of the people I met in my class, and I think I've learned the most in the last couple of years from. Those people and to your point about you know maybe it's the ones who are destined, anyway who end up there, where. Does that end to the balance in the big picture oh I think it's huge I think it's incredibly, important, and incredibly, valuable I would. Just question. And and I mean everyone, can kind of be divided into two categories they're the people who have, functionally. Infinite resources and the, people who don't so. You, know is it easier, to just go to Yale where all these smart people and great people already are sure. But, does that convenience. Justify. The incredible, cost of going to Yale maybe. Not because if the whole goal is to find all these great people and build, relationships. And develop, the networks they're, more efficient, and effective ways of doing that like a case in point you know you could move to New Haven and, hang. Out with students and like you can do things without investing. And all that so a lot of the, component. Pieces of. Higher education, are valuable, but, the challenge is that it's a bundle it's like when you, know you had a cable chat you know you're gonna get cable you get 427. Channels you only really want six of them but, you're paying for the 40 other 421, as well, and. College has to be that way because of the cost structures it's not an easy thing for them to change so. It's, incredibly, important. But. They're probably cheaper and and faster, ways of getting just, those important pieces. Hi. So. I'm like totally bought it and you're the god of this thing and I'm like totally, into it to, the point where I. Have. A like, a side project which is an educational program so I'm like fully immersed, I, just, you. Know I've been doing this for about a decade or so I have a nine-year-old now that I'm shuffling, through the New York City public school education system, and with, the Manhattan Upper, East Side parents, you know it's really, hard not to get caught up in the whole. Culture. And the, the vision of what.

You Know if. I'm saying like the college is this terrible thing we. Should do it you know I shouldn't push my kid into it I also feel like what, if I'm wrong like, you, know but this is my child's, future that's, like really, in my hands like she'll basically, right now buy into almost anything I tell her I think, part of the problem I, have, is that this, ongoing narrative, that even for my generation, that we've been telling. Ourselves which, is like oh I'm. The first in my family to go to college or I'm the second, generation to go to college my parents went to college I went to go there's, something that has built up and for me to come in and say, but. Now my daughter will not go to college I feel like there's this downshift. It's, really, hard to like you know connect those neurons and be okay with it unless. We had other. Narratives, around, but. You know Uncle Joe he did go to college and he's got like the successful, business and then there's you know cousin, you know Suzanne, and she did we just we, don't have those stories in in the kind of middle-class families that, I think something like this is trying to touch what. Do we do about that. So. I love that question, which, is really 11 questions. And. So I'll try to cover, all of it if I miss some like, call. Me out no I'll try to come back to it. So. There's a lot in there right, part of it is it's very hard to go. Against, what you have been taught, and trained and society around you tells you feels, right you. Know there's all this stuff, out there about follow your heart it's. Easy to follow your heart it's a lot harder to follow your brain when, your heart and your feelings, and people around your town do something different I think. It helps a lot to, remind. Yourself that the. Worst case scenario is not that bad because it is a reversible, decision, right. I I don't think anyone should make a unilateral well I will never send, my kids to college I do, think everyone should move away from the default, that, option, is that my kids go to college right. Let them chart their path figure out what makes sense and if it turns out to be College okay. There. Are a lot of other paths to success I also think. There's. An unfair, and unreasonable bar. For, going, to college versus, not right. If you go to college success. Means you. Know you land, a, good, job you make a high, five figure low six-figure income that's like you know the bar for success, you. Say well I think I'm not going to go to college you. Know and other, people have been successful not going to college yeah you're not Bill Gates you're not Mark Zuckerberg so, if, the, bar for success for going to college is a. Six-figure, income why, is the bar for success for not going to college becoming, a billionaire like that, doesn't make sense, that's, not how ROI, works so I would. Just keep all of that in mind and. The. Counter-argument. Is. One. Of the things I didn't touch on is that a big, reason why the, value of college is declined, aside. From the the you. Know internal, actual value of what it prepares you to do and all that College. Has been a signal right. It's been a signal that look the person who bears this has gone through certain experiences has. Certain. Wherewithal. And financial resources comes, from a certain National Honor Society etc. Etc and. The value of that signal is declining. For. All the reasons we discussed but also because of ubiquity, right, it used to be that you apply for a job 40, years ago and you're your.

Resume, Has MBA after your name you're, the only one so, you stand out if everyone, has an undergraduate degree you don't stand out at all and. If you don't, it might actually be an interesting differentiator. Well what does this person done instead, and. So, that's a reason why it's gone down that said. That. Ubiquity. Is kind of shift and that's part of why the the decline in the value it's kind of shifted what, the degree signals, you to say look, the bearer of this degree is better than everyone, else now, it says the bearer of this degree is no, worse than anyone else and. Unfortunately. And I hate to say this but. For. People, in society, who are in a position where they will not be given the benefit of the doubt right. Where you know whether it's women whether it's people of color people who are, coming, from a disadvantaged, position that. Stamp, of look, you're no better than everyone else but you're no worse than anyone else either could. Have more, value so, I don't advocate it, in general, and I think there there are good reasons to if you're going to do a find a way to do it there's cost-effective. But. That could skew, that. Could skew math. Alright. Can. We keep going we're, actually at time. All. Right. All. Right so. If you have any questions come talk to Danny. You.

2019-03-01 17:23

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Danny is awesome, been following his work for some time, lots of good stuff.

I'm unable to get this book in India, please anybody help me in getting it here in India. Or please share a PDF copy at my email address- mymk.sharma@gmail.com

I don't understand nothing

His father is Muslim. He tried to hide his identity as a Muslim. Thank you

+fiona fiona I love you.

Who cares?

+Mr NoPersona Good for you. Thank you

I come from space.

The education system is a two edged sword. Political Socialism is one edge, the other is learning BEYOND what is taught in class. Traditionally, eager students studied on their own, after classes. Today, students listen to mostly PC leftist propaganda by teachers, pay only as much attention as needed to pass tests, and move on. With that said, when they enter into the work world, they often accept mediocre jobs that have less than ideal pay and benefits. This isn't entirely the fault of the education system, the fault is more so on today's culture. Our society has been ravaged by hate, greed, politics, and false teachings. More than ever, peer pressure controls young people, to the extent that an individual FEARS deviating from the status-quo of the main peer groups.

Traditionally one didn't have to do anything but pay attention in class, I now couldn't possibly do as little and expected a job. Jung people, as susceptible, as we are to peer pressure, now have much more freedom to choose our peers and develop in the same way. I, as much as I doubt being "leftist" is a product of propaganda (its more livable income and data driven than that), respect your opinion but want to remind you, "the right" has more negative impact on my life than paying European tax rates ever had (by restricting my travels, education, media access (and they do) and most importantly the social welfare, that will or will fail to give enough people a chance to avoid an increase in home grown terrorism, institutional collapse and future democratic back-sliding.

Great talk! I recognized myself as one of the people who are completely underwhelmed by higher education. Most of it is just reading a bunch of books, writing a bunch of essays about them and discussing them with your fellow students. Even the more practical courses are usually just a set of assignments in which you apply what you have read from the aforementioned books. I mean, the books are already there regardless of the existence of the courses, so anyone could just read them and have the same knowledge. Many of the books even have the practical assignments in them! The role of professors and lecturers is pretty much just presenting the books' information in a summarized power point format, telling students to do the assignments in the books, setting a deadline for returning them, and grading them. It's primary education all over again, and an infinitely boring and inefficient way of trying to learn anything. The system really needs to change.

One of the best talks clarifying education's incompetence or need of improvement. Awesome

excellent talk

What I got came at the very end, generated, of course, by what preceded it! And that was Danny's statement that a college degree, which when I was growing up meant that "you're better than everyone else," now means "you're no worse than everyone else." I have tried to help my children and now my grandchildren to dig into the things they are curious and excited about, whether or not they had anything to do with higher education. Now I will be encouraging them even more.

Excellent insights; beautifully delivered! This subject has a special relevance to our family in two generations. My in-laws exemplify your point of non-college educated business successes. We have chosen to home-educate our children from birth through their early years of high school (they finished their school at the local community college with dual credits). Your points on what learning needs to be for this generation is a large motivation for many who choose to home educate, and it leads to a wide variety of successes. This ranges from those who have learned valuable trade skills, to sought-after college students, to excellent homemakers, to military successes, to entrepreneurs. In other words, your model creates an environment to pursue individual interests based on personal skills, talents, and opportunities. Though not everyone has the opportunity or calling to do this, the point of your education model is proven in the pre-college home-schooling education. Thank you for encouraging others in this truth!

Thank you for being brave enough to say it and saying it so well: Self-directed learning is more valuable than prescribed, scripted, institutionalized education. I fully support the idea of questioning whether a college education is worth the massive investment of time and money, and what other options exist to "opt in to life" while opting out of the educational system. Very inspiring talk - and your research and experience runs deep!

Insightful talk, as has been my experience with Danny Iny's other articles, books, talks, and other resources. Having worked in the continuing education industry for nearly 20 years, the struggle is shifting mindsets. I see too many professionals approaching their lifelong learning from a compliance standpoint rather than as Danny said "be smart about [their own] continuing education" and take full advantage of all the options out there to "connect the dots", "ask better questions", and prepare themselves for the world to come in the next few years.

Great talk. Made me think about my children’s education and my own self directed learning. I particularly like the idea of explorer vs navigator. Just watched the film “the boy who harnessed with wind”- very ironic. PS I’m a Muslim and proud. Don’t believe all the negative propaganda about Muslims.

Danny is one of my favorite people to listen to. He models the educational practice he's advocating very well. This is such an important topic. It's utterly crazy that our children are encouraged to start their adult lives in a manner that incurs such financial burden with very little 'question' as to whether doing so actually serves them the best. Thank you, Danny! Great talk.

Beautifully delivered Danny! Something's a miss with the conventional style in education. So which direction is appropriate? Danny says people need to figure out on their own.

Thank you Danny, your talk was very inspiring and encouraging. I have been listening to people's arguments for continuing higher education by attending college since I graduated high school. I have never believed the hype that has been circulating around me for decades, and therefore, I have no college debt. Many people have been surprised that I know what I know, and when they asked where I went to school, they heard me answer that I have not gone to college, "I am self-educated". Sometimes people demand to know what credentials I have or where I was educated to back up how I have obtained my expertise, and I have not been motivated to offer them much of an explanation to prove myself by much more than the short, simple truth. The way you explain how the popular way of thinking about higher education that probably most of us have been programmed to believe, does not make practical sense while delivering data to back that up, is very encouraging to me and gives me a little more ammo when put in position of defending my own education to others. Not that I think I have to defend myself, but I would like others to be motivated to trust my expertise without having had a formal education.

Sometimes higher education might not be the best way to get there, but you don't know any other way, and you do get there. On another note, I would love my son to watch this talk. But he's two years old right now!

Right on target! Why I ditched college in 1970 after one semester, and why we home educated our own children.

Nobody can choose their nor their bosses. But one can choose to be himself, which one picks on the way by shedding the conditioning.

@fiona fiona I love you.

@Mr NoPersona Good for you. Thank you

It's like watching a smarter version of Adam Sandler :P

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