Learning is a way of life, not a TO-DO list
Thanks to the digital revolution, knowledge lies in the pocket of everybody. This global phenomenon has radically changed the role of learning. Education used to be considered as a pure acquisition of a general knowledge by the youth at school. Once people left the education system, they were considered as intellectually ready to cope with the professional world.
But this period is over : according to most studies on the future of work, the majority of the jobs in 2030 are not created yet. It means that knowledge taught at school no longer acts as an insurance against social precariousness : If jobs and skills are changing at a fast pace, people need to learn on a permanent basis.
Unfortunately, only a minority of the population has acknowledged this change yet.
Despite the frightening character of our time, this period has actually extremely positive aspects : the fast pace of change creates new opportunities for everyone to learn new skills and radically change the course of their lives.
At Maria schools, we help people to embrace these new opportunities through a simple but powerful vision : You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf it 😉
Learning new skills has never been that accessible
Barriers to knowledge access have constantly lowered during the last decades. Exposition to high-qualitative knowledge used to be realistic for people frequenting the best schools, universities and jobs. These institutions of knowledge had established financial, geographical and cultural barriers preventing knowledge access to be a democratic reality.
Nowadays the reality looks much different : e-learning platforms allow students to access high-qualitative content from the best professionals through a simple internet connection, regardless of their physical location. People from the french suburbs or rural areas may access high level programs thanks to a simple Internet connection. On the financial side, innovative models appear to ease the funding of education for people ( the ISA funding mechanism is a great example).
Step by step, innovations are lowering the geographical and financial costs to access the best of educational programs. We are very slowly entering a meritocratic area.
Anyone is able to reinvent its professional career: several schools built for adults such as Maestro and Ada Tech School in France or Holberton and Lambda School in the US are emerging. If the barriers do not lie on the knowledge access anymore, the evolution of learning has reshaped a new frontier. Indeed, the role of learning has moved from an accumulation of knowledge to the training of critical thinking. The understanding of this shift divides people between the permanent learners and the ones trapped in the former paradigm of knowledge accumulation.
Culture is the new frontier
Our collective ability as a society to bridge the gap between the beneficiaries and the losers of the digital age is not a matter of knowledge acquisition. It is a matter of culture. Culture is the strongest barrier to education and in fine, social and economic integration.
Culture is a historical barrier to a democratic education as the french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu emphasized in his famous book Les héritiers (1964). He defined the concept of cultural capital as the systemic social advantages held by the french bourgeoisie thanks to the accumulation of specific knowledge and know-how both in their families and within the school education system.
We may decline this concept of cultural capital to the era of the digital age. Culture acts currently as a barrier between two groups : the ones that adopt a posture of humble, curious permanent learners on one side, and those trapped in a mindset of passive consumption of information.
At Lion, we have developed a program called “Lion du samedi”. This program aims at providing a global acculturation of trainees to the habits and values of the digital age. We provide a framework to grasp the cultural changes brought by the startup ecosystem on a full range of business-related topics. Our teachers are professionals that deliver their own empirical knowledge based on their experiences in their current and former companies.
Through this program, we wish to bridge this cultural gap by providing our students a mindset of test and iteration. We do not teach a general truth, but the ability to develop critical thinking and learning habits.
Critical thinking is the most valuable skill
Knowledge is on a constant change, eternal playbooks no longer exist
Teaching a mindset of lifelong learners comes with the development of critical thinking. As knowledge is everywhere, students cannot take for granted the content provided by their teachers. Nobody has a complete overview of a topic. It is the role of the students to challenge their teachers, and the role of teachers to be humble and open to update their knowledge.
There is no more absolute dichotomy between teachers on one side and students on the other side. The knowledge of a topic may be represented as a continuum, where everyone remains a student at different levels of the spectrum.
At Maestro, we are fully aware of this new dimension of the teacher-student relationship. For this reason, we ensure that each course encompasses moments of interactions between students and teachers.
These moments help both students to improve their understanding of the topic, and teachers to be challenged and learned more about their own discipline. This openness enables teachers to improve their knowledge and courses for the next session, making the program an iterative process.
Education programs also need to challenge themselves
This last point is another key element of a great pedagogy : If learning is a way of life and not a TO-DO list, educational programs need to constantly challenge their forms and content to provide the best value for their students on a continuous basis.
If a course remains exactly the same for a certain time, there is a huge chance that its global quality will decrease as knowledge is constantly updated on every topic.
All stakeholders (students, teachers, schools and companies) must monitor the evolutions of knowledge in their areas on a regular basis.
At Maria schools, we believe that learning is an iterative process : People need to embrace constantly new areas of knowledge. Our mission is to bridge the gap between the permanent learners and the others. Through our programs, we want to enable everyone to unlock his potential and be the owner of his career.
If you want to learn more about us, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org