Why Analytics will become more powerful than High Level Degrees

Last year, I had the pleasure of participating in the Fifth Conference PEOPLE edition with an opinion piece on how to record knowledge in the new age. Frank Boermeester, editor and community manager now formally launched the Council of the Fifth Conference, inviting innovators from around the globe to join the initiative.

The Council of the Fifth Conference is a global innovation think tank with the goal to create one of the world’s best knowledge sources and professional networks for understanding the near future and supporting innovative entrepreneurship.

On a personal note, I am very honored to be a member of this council and I am looking forward to the exchange with fellow innovators from various backgrounds, true to my 2011 mantra

On a mission to disrupt and shape education 2.0.

Coming back to my initial piece on how we have to adjust our current ways of recording and crediting knowledge. I came across a great video of Salman Khan on Forbes the other day which I would like to share with you.

The article Forbes first published on Khan Academy obviously stirred up some comments and in the video linked below Sal answers some of the questions from readers.

The part related to the idea of the Knowledge Graph comes in the last part of the video. Here Sal says:

In ten years, twenty years [from now] I think an employer would rather like to see your log from a site like Khan Academy where it doesn’t get just a 3.2 point GPA in psychology. It gets what you did, when you did it, how well you were able to help your peers, how consistently did you work.

“Well, this guy worked three hours every day for twenty years on this stuff. This is a persistent kind of guy I want working for me.”

And we will be able to give people this kind of analytics. I think that can be a more powerful transcript than just a high level degree right now.

I could not agree more with that statement. As Sal says, this is part of a social shift that will need time, at least 10 years but we need to start as early as possible to record the knowledge that is gained today as students who are looking for jobs in 10 years will have a far better standing with such a transcript as Sal called it.

And what keeps us from collecting that data anyway? It sure does not hurt to have a track record of your formal as well as informal learning activities. All information we need to track is already automatically generated today if you think for instance how long the user was on the site, what did the user click when and where etc.

Jon Bischke recently wrote two related posts on his personal blog about a reputation graph which I highly recommend you have a look at, along with the great articles on the Fifth Conference.

Related Links:

  1. The Fifth Conference
  2. The Fifth Conference on Twitter
  3. The Walled Gardens and the Wild Forests
  4. Reputation Graph: One of the Web’s largest opportunities
  5. Reputation Graph Part 2: Who’s Building It
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  • http://twitter.com/pepsmccrea peps mccrea

    Some very insightful perspectives raised here. I can definitely see this kind of stuff being CV headline material in the future, but I'm not convinced that it will necessarily replace the degree. Although it might offer employers a greater sense of 'who this person is and what they can do', the degree (or whatever that will be in the future) is likely to still represent a powerful vehicle for building capability and expertise. Although as I write I am questioning this…
    Thanks for making me think!

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      You are welcome. In the best case colleges and universities will also adapt such a tracking system, adding extra value to the graph.

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  • Rickinalbi

    I guess I don't see this as being very practical. In particular, I don't see an employer taking the time to wade through a log. The main value of a transcript is not the individual grades — it's the validation that someone isn't lying on their CV, and an overall sense of achievement. A log does not add much in this regard. Employers also use the CV, cover letter, and transcripts essentially to “triage,” largely because they don't have time to do anything more. I think the same is true of colleges and universities when reviewing applications. They are just too inundated to do anything than read the top lines.

    Maybe it will help once you move to the interview process, but I doubt it — interviews are as much about “fit” as anything else. Again, however, the employer will likely only be interested in a top line “executive summary.” They just won't read the details, because they don't have time.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      The challenge will be to sum those metrics up and display them in a way that is adapted to the situation. Analytics tools for lean startups like KISSmetrics and Chartbeat are already doing this for your traffic and visitors so there is no reason why this should not work for your learning process.

  • Jamie

    this guy has a lovely vision
    i would also mention the added utility of all of the student's performance and behaviour metrics as an opportunity for educators to empower their learners to make specific improvements to aspects of their learning and take more ownership of it

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      The possibilities are endless, for sure.

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  • http://twitter.com/jonbischke Jon Bischke

    Learning Graph (high-level dashboard of all you've learned) + Reputation Graph (what you know about the people you know) could = large-scale disruption of the education system. And for the better.

    Must. blog. this. soon. :)

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Looking forward to your post on this :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Cooper/1243073036 Steve Cooper

    I see the biggest innovation ever in higher ed as an app that tracks everything one does in his or her life (every show they see, every email they send, etc.) and then automatically and continually awards college credit until one earns a degree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Cooper/1243073036 Steve Cooper

    I see the biggest innovation ever in higher ed as an app that tracks everything one does in his or her life (every show they see, every email they send, etc.) and then automatically and continually awards college credit until one earns a degree, while advertisers subsidize the entire process, thus students complete their degrees not only debt free, but with actual cash in hand as the schools share some of that advertising revenue with the students – a trillion dollar idea. :)

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Sounds intriguing :)