Education plays a diverse role in society, ranging from formal research universities to practically focused community colleges. The method of education is generally structured – based on the assumption that if we have clear goals (i.e. learn this content), then we also need clear/structured approaches (objectives, instruction, evaluation. Some pockets of innovation exist. For example, during my current trip to Singapore, I heard about Republic Polytechnic, an institution completely based on problem based learning. I don’t know how well the approach is working, but at least they’re experimenting. But change in education is hard because change disrupts existing power relationships. In some cases that’s necessary, especially when the system is not meeting the needs of the intended audience. As Graham Atwell notes:
It is not just a question that curricula cannot keep pace with the speed of technological and social innovation. It is an issue that the skills and knowledge required by today’s technology cannot be delivered through a rigidly sytematised, market led educational system. Furthermore, globalisation, the rapid turnover in employment and occupations and the implementation of new technologies have led to pressures for continuing learning – what is being called lifelong learning. Present education systems cannot deliver this.