Liberating Learning

The Hoover Institute at Stanford University shared an interview with Terry Moe, a professor of political science at Stanford, who discussed his new book Liberating Learning.  The ten minute interview presents a more “economical” and “political” perspective on online learning.  Here are a few of the main points:

  • The benefits of online learning are abounding – allows for individualization, instant feedback, remediation, self-paced learning, access to high quality courses, etc.
  • From an economical perspective, the potential exists to use technology to enhance the productivity of education.  Moe states that education has largely been unproductive.  Technology can be used to substitute labor, and technology is cheaper than labor. 
  • Technology is very threatening to established, powerful political groups (i.e. teacher unions) because it has the potential to impact their job security.  Moe emphasizes how strong unions are and how they typically block innovation.  He distinguishes technology as different than other initiatives or innovations as technology is “…this massive social force”, transforming human society.  It simply can not be kept out of the schools.  As it seeps in, it has very real consequences for teaching and learning.  Also, with online learning, teachers will become more dispersed thereby potentially weakening unions… which he says is truly the “liberation of learning”. 

Interesting and bold perspective… one that accounts for the pervasive nature of technology in and of itself.