10 Must-Watch Videos for the Serious Lifelong Educator

BY Jeff Cobb


Are you wondering what the future may hold for your education business?

Do you want to help people in your organization get a finger on the pulse of the rapidly changing world of lifelong learning?

Then gather them around and spend some time watching, taking notes about, and discussing the videos highlighted here. While most of them focus on K-12 and higher education, they shine a spotlight on what you can expect your learners’ experiences and expectations to be as they engage with your continuing education and professional development programs over the coming years and decades.

In fact, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just a future, “next generation” phenomenon – trends like MOOCs, flipped classrooms, personalization, and constant connectedness are already impacting your current member and customer base. So, listen, watch, and prepare to join the learning revolution!

1. The Voice of the Active Learner

This first one – which was created through a collaboration between Blackboard and JESS3 – is a little slick for my tastes and puts too much emphasis on the idea that generational differences are at the core of the learning revolution. It has the great merit of being short, however, and it does hit on some very essential points about how learner perspectives are changing. And delivering great education is all about understanding and serving the learner, right? It may be a great tool to use with the time-starved in your organization who you can’t convince to watch the other videos. (Length: 02:17 | Link to video)

2. Bring on the Learning Revolution!

Sir Ken Robinson makes a strong – and entertaining – argument that too much about our standard approaches to education dislocates people from their natural talents.” He was one of the first people in the current wave of educational reformers to argue that we must move away from an industrial, manufacturing, linear-based model of education to one that allows for the much more personalized approach to learning that technology, in combination with great teaching, can now provide. Bring on the learning revolution! (Length: 20:57 [Actual length of Robinson’s talk is 16:20 | Link to video)

3. Let’s use video to reinvent education

A year ago when I was speaking at a conference of association educators I polled the room to see how many people had heard of Salman Khan and Khan Academy. I was a little disturbed to see very few hands go up, and I’m sincerely hoping that the situation has since changed. In this video, Khan calls for “flipping” the classroom – a concept that could apply very well to traditional conference sessions and seminars – and, like Robinson, stresses the possibilities for more personalized learning experiences. Around the 10 minute mark he discusses the concept a “knowledge map” – not at all dissimilar from concepts like the “learning paths” and “competency models” that pop up frequently in discussions about professional development. The Khan Academy is making the concept a reality on a large scale. Bill Gates – who’s foundation has granted major funding to Khan Academy – shows up at the end to engage Khan on topics like motivation, feedback, game dynamics, and badges – all incredibly important concepts for the future of lifelong learning. (Length: 20:27| Link to video)

4. The 100,000-student classroom

Google’s Peter Norvig had me at the first line of this one: “Everyone is both a learner and a teacher.” For my money, that’s one of the  most important concepts going right now in the world of lifelong learning. Khan Academy was an inspiration to Norvig and collaborator, Sebastian Thrun, when they put together a a massive open online course (MOOC) on artificial intelligence that attracted well over 100,000 students. Norvig talks about what he learned from that experience, including lessons about peer-to-peer learning and the importance of motivation. He also talks about the tremendous potential for learning from the data collected in MOOCs and other types of experimentation. (Length: 06:12 | Link to video)

5. What we’re learning from online education

I highlighted this video a while back in the Leading Learning newsletter because – like the video above – it emphasizes the possibilities for learning about how people learn from the amazing amount of data we can collect now from online education experiences. Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera, lays out her vision for massive open online courses and how we can “break away from the monolithic one-hour lecture.” Toward the end you specifically addresses online education has the power to drive lifelong learning, noting that is a shame that “for so many people, learning stops when we finish high school or we finish college.” (Length: 20:41 | Link to video)

6. Gaming Can Make a Better World

In a different take on what “massive” makes possible, Jane McGonigal talks about the power of massive, multi-player games to help us learn about and tackle tough problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, and obesity.  Games, after all, involve a great deal of practice – an very important component of learning – and given that we now play more than 3 billion hours of games each week around the world, it does seem reasonable to think that we might be able to leverage all that activity. (And don’t make the mistake of thinking gamers are just teenage boys – the majority of them are in their mid-twenties to mid-forties, and women make up a significant portion.) (Length:  20:32 | Link to video)

7. Recipe for Free Range Learning

I wrote at length about this one in a recent Mission to Learn post on free range learning, so I won’t make many comments here. Suffice to say that people are already learning in this way. One of our major jobs as lifelong educators is to help them do it as well as possible. (As I have argued before, most adults aren’t really all that well prepared to be effective lifelong learners in the current learning landscape.) (Length: 18:15 | Link to vide0)

8. What Could You Do With $20,000

Continuing in the vein of self-directed, free range learning, Blake Boles of Zero Tuition College lays out a brief vision for how the large amount of money spent on annual tuition for college might be better used. Given the costs and the increasingly questionable return involved, you have to assume that alternatives to college will gain some ground in the coming years. And, of course, there is no way that this won’t have an impact on people’s desires and expectation when it comes to lifelong learning. (Length: 05:12  | Link to video)

9.  Stop Stealing Dreams

Marketing guru Seth Godin doesn’t confine himself to just commenting on business these days. In this session with kids at Brooklyn Free School, he bashes many of the assumptions that underlie our whole approach to education. I think this one is a good “cap” to the previous two because it captures the mindset that will drive growth in the types of learning Maria Andersen and Blake Boles discuss above. You can get the free eBook on which this video is based at Stop Stealing Dreams. Many of the concepts here are also one covered – in a very different way – in Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 Education (Corwin 2011), which I wrote with my colleague David Houle a couple of years ago. (Length: 16:58 | Link to video)

10. Future of Learning in a Networked Society

Some of the folks you have already seen above – Daphne Koller, Seth Godin – show up in this video produced as part of the Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson’s Networked Society project. (Note how much Coursera has grown by the time Koller appears in this film.) While, like the first video above, this a slick, polished production, I think it provides a nice tour of nearly all of the themes that have emerged above – and it helps really bring home the idea that the learning revolution is a global revolution. (Length: | Link to video)

So, there you have it. If you find these helpful I would, of course, be grateful if you would share this post by tweeting, linking to it, etc. More importantly, though, I hope you will take seriously the idea of watching all of them – preferably along with a few colleagues – and considering how the many changes and trends they suggest will change how you serve lifelong learners in the years ahead.


P.S. – If you liked this, you might also like 12 Trends Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning and you may want to consider joining more than 500 of your peers in the Leading Learning community.

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