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THE INC. LIFE

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg Think This 1 Teaching Method Will Shake Up Education (And Why You Should Care)

Personalised Learning is the way forward to education and therefore our economy. Here’s why.

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BY Sophie Jarvis - 03 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

We currently don't have the silver bullet to education. We're not quite sure what works, and what doesn't. Maybe it's because we all learn differently. But whatever the reason, 'personalized learning' is on the right tracks -- and Bill Gates And Mark Zuckerberg think so too.

We can all acknowledge the downfalls of our education system: it's rigid, doesn't promote creativity on the whole and is increasingly not providing us with the right skills to enter the workforce with. With 61% of Americans dissatisfied with their education system, clearly there is an appetite for radical change to the education system. In the realms of economics, this is a pertinent issue: with youth employment not making any significant advances and a evermore fractured society, if kids are coming out of school with the wrong skills, and therefore no jobs, this isn't exactly going to make society a better place.

Que 'personalized learning'. One of the reasons personalized learning is so great is because encourages independence, which we know most successful entrepreneurs are independent is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs. Instead of holding students' hands for every step of the way, like current teaching methods do, it's very much sink or swim: when you sink, they'll dive in but until then they'll watch you go until a bit (but not in a sadistic way). This enables kids to work and learn at their own pace as opposed to being either left behind, or kept behind in the current education system. It encourages lots of feedback sessions with the teachers in order to further the personalization of the method.

Gates and Zuckerburg are funding a $12 million initiative to support personalized learning across the US. The Gates Foundation funded a detailed study on 11,000 students at 62 schools using personalized-learning approaches. The result? The students performed significantly better in maths and reading than traditional schools.

So what can entrepreneurs learn from this? I think the adult equivalent is don't micromanage. Let employees figure things out for themselves, and this will be beneficial to them and the company. If you micromanage someone on a task, they won't think for themselves, and maybe they could have thought up a better way of doing that task.

Socrates asserts that philosophy came about to because people wondered -- and this seems to be the crux of personalized learning. Letting kids' minds wander off first, and help them carve out their own path as opposed to forcing them down the same one, which might not be suited to them. So let's all take a leaf out of Socrates book -- "To find yourself, think for yourself".

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