What is the Future of Education?

“Taking ownership of our own learning and well being in a collaborative and co-operative environment; learning in group settings and adopting new methods that enhances individual and collective learning with wider stake-holder ownership based on our understanding of the impact of neuroscience, and the inspiration of science and technology and its contribution to qualitative learning – is the future of education”
John Rainford

The future is about mutual collaboration, where teachers become coaches and resource providers and the students take ownership of their own learning, are encouraged to work in groups, share the learning and help each other with personal and collective development. The Universities that embrace this vision will be the leading and sought after Universities of  tomorrow – today! Its about life long and ongoing learning, rather than acquiring short batches of information at a given age. The world is changing and the traditional model based on one size fits all is not sustainable in the long term. The future is about adopting co-operative business models based on democratic and wider stakeholder ownership.

Imagine a primary school where all the youngster’s have their own tablet or ipad, they take their work home, indeed it is not seen as work, rather it is seen as part of their personal development schedule for learning. They take charge of their own personal information and education. They are supporting by older mentors (like older brothers.) The technology is already here, the means to do this via cloud technology and the more cheaper versions of tablets make this idea do-able. We just need the will and the vision to implement these ideas and adapt to the inevitable change, that will come like a whirlwind to the unprepared learning institutions.

You might say that we already have ownership for our own learning, but I disagree. Perhaps some of us do – but our intitutions do not engage and support life long learning as a process in itself. The advent of moving education away from established learning centres and more into the private sector is an indication of imminent radical change and a move away from formal institutionalised learning that does not provide adequate support for individual and collective growth (working together) and (dare I say it) a love of learning, will lose out to people that provide that service.

So what is the solution? The market is already moving in a way that is radical but people focused. People and students are finding that they can access all of the information that they need to aquire knowledge and it is not coming necessarily from the formal education centres. This presents opportunties for the future that have hitherto have been regarded as academic. The way forward is clearly a life long and people centred form of self learning. This is not to say that our academic institutions are no longer relevant, but that their purpose and function is now changed forever. They must now also provide support for meaningful self development and ongoing life learning and guess what? the students (the customer) themselves will drive this process. As the management guru, Peter Drucker said “If you dont have a customer, you dont have a business.”

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” Alan Kay

“I like this quote from Alan Kay, I use it a lot to encourage people that they already have the means to make things happen, they just need to have the confidence and perhaps courage to believe it enough, courage to take a risk. Courage and confidence can make all things possible.”

“I was always a slow learner at school, I often wondered whether I was just too dumb to go into business. I struggled at school. I don’t know how I got to University, and I would never describe myself as academic. I built three businesses. In my first we had 28 staff and a turnover of 2.5 million after 4 years. We specialised in building other businesses from start-ups to big business.  Strawberry Fields, a marketing and innovation company, is based in a rural area, in Shropshire, we have helped many small local farms, such as Belton Cheese, become major suppliers to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and Waitrose. My biggest client is the largest company in the world, Royal Dutch Shell, my smallest was a florist shop. I have been privileged to help small businesses turn their ideas into highly successful business ventures”

“I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to study marketing and innovation at the number one Business school in the World at Northwestern University in Chicago – Kellogg School of Business Management. This fantastic opportunity, combined with my own practical experience boosted my confidence, since then I have helped many businesses create their own unique competitive advantage by changing their business models and have since taught businesses in China, Europe and North America.”

“One of my students, won a scholarship to attend my International Entrepreneurship MBA course, he was an Ethiopian student in his 40’s who wanted to go into business by buying a cow. At the end of my course he decided to buy 50 cows with a special bank loan. This experience had a profound effect on me, made me feel extremely humble, and gave me a sense of great responsibility, this wasn’t just teaching, this was life changing and would effect his whole family for generations to come.  Later on, that same year, I felt privileged, yet again, to mentor a young man who won Young Entrepreneur of the Year.”

“I feel I am on a mission to empower people, and especially the young. I delivered a leadership mentoring course recently for the ‘Young Foundation’ and I was approached by many of the students afterwards who suggested the methods I used were the ‘future of education’. I didn’t laugh, because I hope that one day this may be true. The methods, incidentally, are the same I have used for business development people at Shell in Houston and Amsterdam to help them with creativity, leadership, overcome global challenges, create new business models and to help with commercialisation of their ideas.

“I continue to help with innovation and marketing for global companies, and this helps to fund and sponsor my courses, many of which are free to young wannabe entrepreneurs. I am working with smarter Universities and Learning institutions to effect change in the Learning experience so that the love of learning and self actualisation is an integral part of the education system. This is a collaborative process which will ultimately unite communities the world over.

“I have always believed that everyone has the capacity for self- actualisation, entrepreneurship, even great leadership. My vision is to create a world that ignites creativity and mobilises entrepreneurial talent within local communities. This remains, and will always remain, my passion and my dream. With the help of many businesses and students I have discovered visual and analytical techniques that accelerate learning, creativity and confidence, if you would like to know more just drop me an email.

Contact John

John Rainford

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