It used to be that we had to settle for one-size fits all solutions in many of our large-scale social endeavors like medicine and education
That is becoming no longer the case. This is thanks to technologies like automation and artificial intelligence and delivery networks like the Internet, web and mobile. Now we can reach and interact with people and deliver valuable services that are targeted to their personalities, interests and needs.
Personalized medicine promises to diagnose disease states and deliver bespoke therapies based on a person’s genetic makeup and bio chemical proclivities. Each of us have a different micro biome that reacts differently to nutrition and therapies. As we understand these things better we can deliver personalized targeted therapies and proscribe custom wellness regimens.
In education we now have access to all kinds of materials and many of them delivered for free. There is Khan Academy that has tutorials on a ton of subjects for students starting at early grammar school through high school and college. It is a free service and we should all use it and donate a bit to support it.
MOOCs like Coursera and edX and Udacity offer world-class university curriculum for free and you can even get certificates of completion for modest fees. Udemy offers a wide range of courses at reasonable prices. Here is a link to some of my business courses on Udemy. Lynda, which is part of LinkedIn, has wonderful courses.
These are all delivered in easy to consume video segments. One of the best parts is that you can replay a segment over and over until you really understand it. That is something you can’t do with a teacher in a classroom.
There are also eBooks, audio books, and podcasts that you can read and listen to on your phone or any device anywhere anytime. Now we can all become autodidacts and life long learners.
These different modalities of delivering educational material is really important for people who would fall through the cracks of traditional educational system. People like ones who have dyslexia. Dyslexia is much more common than you think. About 20% of the population is dyslexic. Check out this TED talk to become more familiar with dyslexia.
Many people with dyslexia are incredibly successful. Dyslexia allows one to see the world a bit differently. Its a different way of thinking. It is a super power. 40% of the world’s self made millionaires are dyslexic. Steve Jobs was dyslexic as was Albert Einstein. Here is another great TED talk on the subject.
Our school systems have failed them.
Our school system is founded on the virtuous intent of providing everyone with an education up to the 12th grade. Its time to make that commitment to everyone through the 16th grade or college bachelor’s degree and that is the subject of another article.
In order to deliver education at that scale we have had to settle for a standardized one size fits all system.
Standardization by definition creates a narrow system. This narrow approach has not served the one fifth of our population that has dyslexia. Now people can take their education into their own hands and use these different modalities like videos and audiobooks and podcasts learn and accumulate knowledge and skill sets.
The age of one-size fits all is coming to a close. Check out this article on the ancient Greek myth of Procrustes who claimed he had a bed that could accommodate anyone of any height.