Sustainable Agriculture Institute
“Future of Education Manifesto”
Table of Contents
- What is a Manifesto
- Institutes Background
- Online vs Traditional Education
- A Parable of the Model Son
- Which of Two Candidates to Hire
- Ten Main Differences between Online and Physical Education
What is a Manifesto
Is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party, or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus and/or promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political or artistic in nature, but may present an individual’s life stance.
The Sustainable Agriculture Institute – Future of Permaculture Manifesto – Future of Education, was authored by one of the founders of the Institute, Beau Wickboldt, to draw to light the changing nature of the world and of Permaculture Design Education and the future ability for Sustainability Education to be available to an ever far-reaching society at large.
The basic premise for the Permaculture Manifesto is that:
“Education was the privilege of the elite, now it’s the privilege of the dedicated; Online Education is the new privileged mode of learning in our modern society.”
Beau Wickboldt, Founder Sustainable Agriculture Institute
Beau Wickboldt the founder of the Sustainable Agriculture Institute saw the need for his personal background and expertise to be put into a project that would work to create an online Permaculture Design Courses and Sustainability Educational Platform that would allow for powerful “life knowledge subjects” the ability to reach and impact a large audience.
He understood that for the change he wanted to see in the world, he would have to work and donate of himself to help make the change a reality. After two years of hard dedicated work, he released to the world an online Permaculture Design Educational Platform (e-Campus Education Platform) that is destined to become a game-changer in the world of Permaculture Design Education.
No longer is the only way to get a top-notch Permaculture Design Education tied to your ability to have or borrow large sums of money. The e-Campus Education Platform bridges the gap between the Permaculture Design Educator and the Permaculture Design Student making the learning environment more interactive, dynamic and for the “Dedicated Learner“ a much more inspired and ultimately more creative environment to facilitate Permaculture learning.
Learning is not just regurgitation of information, it is taking the information into your “being” and making it a part of one’s life.
The Education Platforms weaves the static with the dynamic to make a subject come to life. It allows the Permaculture Design Educator to truly express the breadth of their subject knowledge to give the student a more holistic and ultimately a richer learning experience.
While some will still find value in the physical learning environment and the social prestige it may afford, the “Dedicated Learner” will find that the immersive learning environment afforded by the e-Campus makes their Permaculture learning journey one that will open their eyes to the possibilities of the world and ultimately allow them the Permaculture tools to go and make the world a better place.
Online vs Traditional Education
What is Online Permaculture Design Education and how does it differ from traditional educational practices?
To understand the differences between the two forms of learning, we have to look at what makes each unique from the other. We will start by looking at the pros and cons of traditional educational practices and then the pros and cons of Online Permaculture Design Education.
With an in-depth analysis, we will be able to decide where and when each type of educational practice is most valid and where we can make improvements in each respectively.
It is not the position of the Sustainable Agriculture Institute to say that online Permaculture Design education is the only way to educate students, but rather that it is the future of education, as related to the majority of social classes.
There will always be differentiation in learning, as long as there is a differentiation in the social classes. The elite will strive to single out their education as more relevant or of a higher standard than that of the education afforded to the lower classes.
We feel that this is not because the physical educational environment is more or less equipped to provide education, but rather as a reflection of how the elite value something based on the price associated with it. To examine and compare the two educational environments fairly, we have to look at the differences in the cost, as well as the differences in the learning environment.
The social interactions and resources clearly how each is facilitated and its value in relation to the others in the overall educational experience.
The value of the education is not directly related to the cost, as overheads of physical education make up most of the cost of the education.
But, before we delve into the exploration of learning and context, let’s see if we can look at what an education, irrelevant of where it came from, affords the receiver of the education in comparison to someone that had not had the educational advantage. We will need to look at this from two perspectives, the students and the employer.
A Parable of the Model Student
To help bring this exploration to life let’s hear about a story of a parent and their child
Note: The below Parable has been written in the Gender Neutral Context, he/she has been substituted for the pronoun “it”.
The child was born to an affluent family and was afforded all the opportunities that its parent’s station on society could bestow upon it. The student went to the best schools in the city, lived in the best subdivision, wore the best clothes (was considered a preppie), and got their first car at 15. The student lacked for nothing.
The student’s parents were educated and strove to educate it. The student was taught all the social graces. The parents were careful not to spoil their child, but instill a sense of responsibility, work ethic, and social empathy. They taught how to love learning and reading became the child’s passion. The Student read and found the more one reads the more the world opened to one’s intellect. The student did all that was expected of a good student, believing their parents had their best intentions in their heart, so it followed their lead. It was a very good life indeed.
But as the student grew and the more it learned he started to question certain reasonings’ behind what was the intended plan for its life. The student knew the plan was a sound one, prepared by its parents, but nonetheless, it wondered if there might be a different way in life. The student was a good child and reasoned again that father knows best, so it succeeded in high school, both in intellect and sports. The student then did what all the other graduating students did, apply for University. The Student decided to take the same major as its parent as it reasoned that if a parent did well, it would too.
So the budding student went off to University, to learn all the life lessons that would allow it to succeed in life. During the student’s time in school, it worked at its parent’s company and learned the business from the inside out. This was not the normal route, as none of his fellow schoolmates were working in the position that they would when they graduated. But its position in life afforded it yet again an opportunity not afforded to others. But as the years passed in both school and at the company it started to realize that what was being taught at school did not really match up to what was needed to be done to succeed at the company.
The student started to question the reasoning for staying in school when it was not going to make him a better worker for the company. So one day the student went to see its parent and discuss why it should stay in school and not stop and work full time in the company.
Which of Two Candidates to Hire
The Student’s parents were wise and wanting to help their child in the impasse in its life asked it the following question:
My child, I have to make a decision to hire one of two candidates. The first candidate has just graduated from a prestigious university in the top 10% of his class, but with no job experience. The other candidate has worked for five years and has gained work experience for the position. Which of the candidates should I hire and why? The child thought for a while as it was not the first time its parent had asked it a thought-provoking question.
The child reasoned the following options:
a) If its parent was to pick the one from the prestigious school the candidate would have no real training as pertaining to what really needed to do the job at the company and would need to be trained which would cause the company to spend time and money in training on the new employee;
b) If its parent was to pick the candidate with valid work experience then the company would not need to spend as much time and money on the training of the employee and thus would save money, which it reasoned was making money.
The child then told its parent of its choice of option b) and why. The parent then explained the following to the child so it could see the answer is sometimes not as it seems. The parent explained that it may seem that option b) would be the logical choice from its child’s perspective, but from the perspective of the employer, it would not be the safest option.
Without explaining what the safest meant the parent asked a series of questions of its child, this was the child who knew well the parent’s way of teaching it some profound life lesson so it listened closely.
I. Why do people go to University to get a degree, when they could choose to just go to work and gain experience?
II. Why does the employer pick the fresh graduate over someone with five years’ experience as the safe bet?
III. What is the purpose of going to school and what is it teaching or preparing us for?
There was no need for the child to reply as it knew at this point in the lecture its parent would tell it the answers as to not waste its parent’s valuable time. The answers to these questions give us insight into the reasoning behind the school and how we might improve the learning experience at the same time giving safer choices to the employer.
I. Why do people go to University to get a degree when they could choose to just go to work and gain experience?
The parent explained that the value of the degree had to be taken into three distinct parts from his perspective:
a. What school had the candidate graduated from;
Where the candidate graduated from addressed the perceived academic rigor of the school. The parent went on to explain that from its perspective the rigor of one school over another allowed it to gauge the candidate’s GPA as opposed to another candidate from a different school with a different GPA. The reasoning was that one candidate with a high GPA, but at an academically inferior school would not rank as high against another candidate with a slightly lower GPA from a higher academic school.
b. What was the candidate’s Grade Point Average (GPA);
The reason for the importance of the GPA was that it was an indicator of the ranking of the candidate throughout his academic carrier as compared with its fellow classmates. The parent explained that the GPA showed how well the student did in learning class content and passing a test and relearning a new class and content and passing another test in relation to its classmates. The parent’s reasoning would allow it to know how well the candidate would be able to uptake new knowledge of something the company wanted the new employee to learn and would more than likely hold true for the term of his employment with the company. This was an unknown statistic with the candidate from option a) with only experience but no education, ie: no testing against his peers.
c. And what work experience did the candidate have during its school studies?
The candidate’s work experience was important as what the candidate worked as and how the candidate put itself through school could give insight into the candidate’s work ethic. The parent explained that it was not only one’s intellect that made for a good employee but also its work ethic.
With the lesson on hiring conclude the parent informed the child that if it did not complete its studies it would be ineligible for employment with the company and suggest that the child continue with its studies and to come back and see the parent upon its completion and politely ask the child to leave its office.
The lesson of this story is very clear, one’s position in life does have bearing on one’s ease in entering certain societal areas, but the success in one’s carrier is more based on one’s intellect and work ethic as compared to one’s peers.
With this in mind let’s look at how we can compare the differences between online and physical education and how we can meet the criteria of the parent for success in employment.
Ten Main Differences between Online and Physical Education
Table of Contents
We list prestige first as it is the most difficult of the 10 differences to quantify and apply a direct value, as prestige has many factors which give rise to one educational institution’s prestige over another’s.
We can attempt to break down the factors of prestige as follows:
a) School’s History and Age
Online education is at a distinct disadvantage in relation to the length of time it has been in existence in relation to a physical school’s location. Harvard one of America’s oldest Universities has a long history and tradition, but this would not be a valid argument to say that its physical education would be more valuable than its online education. If Harvard was to offer an online class in its curriculum, would it then dis-value the student’s degree by a percentage? The answer is no, as the University would assure that the class was of the same standard as the other physical classes and very well could be thought by the same teacher.
b) School’s Collegium social success
The success of a collegium after completing an educational program can be measured in many ways. One must not fall into the trap of measuring the success of the collegium solely on the social success of the graduates, as in the case of many Ivey League schools the students are already in high social status and thus the economic ability for them to attend the school may very well be directly associated with their social status or more importantly that of their parents. This proceeding social status can have a great effect on the social success of the graduate after completing their studies. When we look closely we can see that again the value of the education may be based on Prestige and not necessarily the level of learning of the student or their ability to apply that learning.
c) School’s reputation for Academic Rigor.
First, let’s look at what “Academic Rigor” means then we can see how one might define it in sense of a school’s reputation. Rigor is more than just “how difficult a class is” however, and even more than “how hard a student has to work to earn a good grade.” In essence, a rigorous class prepares the student by teaching them (and having them exercise) skills useful in school, the business world, and in life.
Thus, we can see that a reputation of Academic Rigor would be a sign that the school prepared the student with useful skills that could be put to use by him or herself in their life and business dealing. We can see how an employer would value those skills as they pertain to performing a task for the company and a good employee could be judged by the school they graduated from and the perceived Academic Rigor of the school.
The location of an educational program can have some bearing on the perception of the value of the program, but one has to ponder the question of does this perceived value actually reflects the value of the knowledge obtained. For this reflection, we will explore the differences afforded by the Online vs. Physical models of education and their respective real value to education attainment and not prestige.
a. Online Virtual Classrooms
Online in a virtual environment where the student could be anywhere in the world with an internet connection, the Educators are on pre-recorded video or live streams and the assessments are submitted online;
b. Physical Campuses
The physical campus where the student comes in person and receives their education from Educators directly in person and where the assessments are monitored by physical persons.
It is undeniable that a Physical University will normally have, great Physical Faculties which can be of aid in the learning process. Strongly influencing student satisfaction with physical university facilities is the quality of its social areas, auditoriums, and libraries.
Conversely, it is determined that computer access on campus does not influence student satisfaction with their learning experience.
When looking to see if one who was a dedicated learner would be disadvantaged when not having access to social areas, auditoriums, and physical libraries we need to look at learning in the new context of social learning as pertaining to online classrooms.
The access to the Core Curriculum with supporting features such as progress tracking, email notifications, built-in Assessments, note-taking, assignments, etc… it is easy to see why the dedicated learner is finding it easier to get a top-notch education with complete access to the core educational Curriculum at the leisure of their own homes.
4. Educators Qualifications and Support
Online learning was once surrounded by stigma, tainted by the illegal market for fake certificates and ‘diploma mills’. Luckily, these opinions are changing and online education is now a respected method of obtaining a recognized and validated degree or qualification.
Despite this, students researching online institutions are still encouraged to research the validity of the institution. There are many standards that are used as a method of accreditation in specific countries. The most widely accepted International Accreditation Standard is ISO.
The International Standards Organization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental membership organization, and the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards.
The Quality Assurance Management Systems for application of Higher Education Requirements as adopted and implemented by e-campus Education meets the requirements outlined by ISO for the Standardization of Educational practices across international borders. The standard ensures that the SAI Education Platform provides educational services that are reliable and of good quality. For Educational Institutions, the standards are strategic tools that help to assure the quality of education provided.
The SAI Quality Assurance System is maintained on the e-campus platform under the Quality Assurance Application. The Application facilitates the control and assurance of all documents, products, and business processes pertaining to the development and implementation of the Institute’s Pedagogy, Taxonomy, and Curricula.
Many online institutions will also partner with a campus-based university to create and deliver their online programs. This enables an online institution to benefit from the specialized knowledge and technology that an online provider can offer, while the online institution is then able to offer validated degree courses.
Many employers are also beginning to recognize online degrees, and students considering online study should not be deterred by old-fashioned ideas about ‘real’ degrees only being awarded by campus-based institutions. In fact, many employers now recognize that studying online (and part-time) takes a large amount of dedication and commitment and wish to employ people with these exact characteristics. Employers are always looking for candidates willing to ‘go the extra mile’, and applicants with the passion and drive to achieve a qualification while juggling family and work commitments can be exactly what they are looking for.
5. Pedagogical Planning
Effective online instruction depends on learning experiences appropriately designed and facilitated by knowledgeable educators. Because learners have different learning styles or a combination of styles, online educators should design activities with multiple modes of learning in order to provide significant experiences for each class participant. In designing online courses, use multiple instructional strategies. Teaching models exist which apply to traditional higher education learning environments, and when designing courses for the online environment, these strategies should be adapted to the new environment.
Online Courses & Multiple Instructional Strategies
Traditionally, in a teacher-centered classroom, instructors control their environment because they have a monopoly on information. In an online course, with instant access to vast resources of data and information, students are no longer dependent on the faculty for knowledge. Learning is becoming more collaborative, contextual, and active.
Educators must identify their objectives, design their curriculum, and then consider how the online environment can serve the instructional objectives/activities of that curriculum. This requires changes in pedagogy. With learning-centered instruction, Instructors take the role of facilitators of information while guiding students toward solutions. Teachers, as well as learners, must take on new roles in the teaching-learning relationship, and faculty must be willing to release control of learning to the students.
Online learning environments permit a range of interactive methodologies. Instructors find that in adapting courses to online models, they pay more attention to the instructional design of their courses. As a result, the quality, quantity, and patterns of communication students practice during learning improve.
Of the many instructional strategies available for use in the online learning environment, most were not been developed specifically for online instruction. Educators should choose strategies that accomplish particular educational objectives. From this perspective, instructional strategies are tools available to educators for designing and facilitating learning. Below are ten instructional strategies from the traditional classroom to use in the online learning environment:
6. Curriculum Control
What is an LMS?
Modern training needs to be easy and accessible.
A learning management system (LMS) allows you to create, distribute and track training anywhere, on any device.
Over the past 20 years, powerful software for managing complex databases has been combined with digital frameworks for managing curriculum, training materials, and evaluation tools. The LMS allows anyone to create, track, manage and distribute learning materials of any kind. Nearly a ten billion-dollar industry, LMS products, and software allow any organization to develop electronic coursework, deliver it with unprecedented reach and flexibility, and manage its continued use over time.
The LMS has become a powerful tool for consulting companies that specialize in staffing and training, extension schools, and any corporation looking to get a better grasp on the continuing education of its workforce. In the early days, the traditional application of an LMS was seen in educational institutions. Learning management systems were largely used to deliver courseware in schools and popularize e-learning. In the last few decades, companies of all sizes are using learning management systems to deliver training to internal employees, customers, and other business partners. The technology has become a powerful tool for consulting companies that specialize in staffing and training, extension schools, and any corporation looking to get a better grasp on the continuing education of its workforce. Its impact has been felt mostly outside of traditional education institutions, though the same technological and market forces are dramatically changing today’s classroom as well.
Below is a quick review of some of the common aspects of the LMS industry, a few of its strengths and limitations, and a peek at what the future may hold.
What are some of the common aspects of the LMS industry? What are the strengths and limitations, of an LMS? What does the future hold for learning management systems in education, and in business?
Components of an LMS
There are close to 600 varieties of LMS available for purchase today. Each is unique and possesses a feature set to meet the needs of a variety of trainers and educators. Some common components or features that can be found in many eLearning platforms include:
- Rosters: A digital roll call sheet for tracking attendance and for sending invitations to class participants.
- Registration Control: The ability to monitor and customize the registration processes of the e-learning curriculum.
- Document Management: Upload and management of documents containing curricular content.
- Multiple device access: Delivery of course content over web-based interfaces such as desktops, phones, or tablets.
- Distributed instructor and student base: Remote participation by the instructor or pupil allows courseware to feature multiple teachers or experts from across the globe.
- Course calendars: Creation and publication of course schedules, deadlines, and tests.
- Student Engagement: Interaction between and among students, such as instant messaging, email, and discussion forums.
- Assessment and testing: Creation of varied knowledge retention exercises such as short quizzes and comprehensive exams
- Grading and Scoring: Advanced tracking and charting of student performance over time.
Common Features of a Corporate LMS
When an LMS is used in corporate training environments, they often have additional features that satisfy goals relating to knowledge management and performance evaluation, such as:
Automatic enrollment: Logic within an LMS that registers and reminds employees for mandatory courses.
Enhanced Security: Many corporate LMS solutions have a single sign-on, advanced authentication, and firewalls to ensure data security.
White-labeling: The ability to create online training content that aligns with a company’s brand
Multi-Lingual Support: In a globally distributed company, many employees or partners need training in their native languages. A corporate LMS allows training in multiple languages.
Advantages of an LMS
Like many information technology innovations from the past few decades, LMS software is able to add a level of efficiency to companies’ learning systems, with a number of other benefits emerging as well, such as:
- Easily adapting and reusing materials over time.
- More choices for creators of curriculum, such as the method of delivery, design of materials, and techniques for evaluation.
- Creating economies of scale that make it less costly for organizations to develop and maintain content for which they used to rely on third parties.
- Improvements in professional development and evaluation, allowing companies to get more value from human resources while empowering individuals with additional tools for self-improvement.
The Future of LMS
The LMS market is booming. With an increasingly mobile population and distributed workforces – the demand for eLearning is at an all-time high. The online training business continues to evolve and adapt to new learning challenges and technological capabilities. Future enhancements of LMS technology:
- Tighter integration into collaborative software platforms and messaging frameworks, such as Salesforce and Zendesk.
- Migration of data storage to network-based methods, commonly known as “the cloud.”
- Further integration with other software systems.
- Anytime learning with wearable technology integration
- Facial recognition engagement tracking
Current trends in technology and business are favoring the increase of collaborative, web-based applications, user-oriented design, and other features that are often grouped together under the term “Web 2.0.” By further inverting the traditional forms of interaction between instructors and pupils, and enabling a great amount of content to be created and managed more easily, the future of LMS appears to be a dynamic one.
7. Student-Teacher Interaction
Online vs. traditional education: Social interaction
One final area to consider is the level of social interaction you’re hoping to have as you earn your degree. Do you need interaction from your peers and instructors to succeed and stay motivated? Or do you thrive in an independent study environment?
Social interaction with instructors and other students, while not as common in online courses, still happens regularly. The biggest difference is in the form it takes, with many online student interactions happening via video chat or through online discussion posts.
Some courses may also offer pre-recorded videos of the same lectures given to traditional, on-campus students. If you’re a social learner who likes to ask questions and pick the brains of your instructors, these video lectures can help you earn a deeper understanding of assigned reading materials.
Despite technological advances, traditional education is still likely the better option for those who thrive on face-to-face communication. Seeing and interacting with your instructors on a regular basis can be motivating for some—it’s a little easier to go the extra mile if you know your instructor is likable and invested in your education. Traditional, in-class settings may also offer more opportunities for spur-of-the-moment questioning or interesting tangents that may help a concept “click” in the minds of students.
8. Student-Student Interaction
The basic principles of interaction in online education are rooted in Moore’s (1989) definition of the three types of interaction: learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner interaction. To support learner-learner (or student-to-student) interaction online, course design must address these elements (Roblyer & Ekhaml, 2000):
To achieve a high level of student-to-student interaction in an online course, students must have many opportunities to build rapport. This is often accomplished by providing socially-focused exchanges such as guided introductions, exchanges of personal information, and participation in activities designed to increase social rapport.
Instructional activities that encourage reflection and discussion support student-to-student interaction online. These activities require students to work with one another, share results and may go beyond the typical course discussion.
Use of technology
A number of technologies can support student-to-student interaction in online courses. To promote student-to-student interaction, instructors must select the technologies appropriate for the course goals and that students can use effectively. For more information, see Technologies for Online Student Interaction.
9. Research Opportunities
Traditionally, academic libraries have been viewed centrally to information seeking and acquisition of knowledge in learning. However, the Internet has become an alternative tool for university students in information seeking and access due to its convenience and ease of use. Some literature indicates that the popularity of using the Internet by students in learning is challenging the existence of physical libraries.
Internet research is the practice of using Internet information, especially free information on the World Wide Web, or Internet-based resources (like internet discussion forum) in research.
Internet research has had a profound impact on the way ideas are formed and knowledge is created. Common applications of Internet research include personal research on a particular subject (something mentioned on the news, a health problem, etc.), students doing research for academic projects and papers, and journalists and other writers researching stories.
Research is a broad term. Here, it is used to mean “looking something up (on the Web)”. It includes any activity where a topic is identified, and an effort is made to actively gather information for the purpose of furthering understanding. It may include some post-collection analysis like a concern for quality or synthesis.
Through searches on the Internet, hundreds of thousands of pages can often be quickly found with some relation to a given topic. In addition, email (including mailing lists), online discussion forums (aka message boards, BBS’s), and other personal communication facilities ( IRC, newsgroups, etc.) can provide direct access to experts and other individuals with relevant interests and knowledge.
Internet research is distinct from library research (focusing on library-bound resources) and commercial database research (focusing on commercial databases). While many commercial databases are delivered through the Internet, and some libraries purchase access to library databases on behalf of their patrons, searching such databases is generally not considered part of “Internet research”. It should also be distinguished from scientific research (research following a defined and rigorous process) carried out on the Internet, from straightforward retrieving of details like a name or phone number, and from research about the Internet.
Internet research can provide quick, immediate, and worldwide access to information, although results may be affected by unrecognized bias, difficulties in verifying a writer’s credentials (and therefore the accuracy or pertinence of the information obtained), and whether the searcher has sufficient skill to draw meaningful results from the abundance of material types available. The first resources retrieved may not be the most suitable resources to answer a particular question. Popularity is often a factor used in structuring Internet search results but popular information is not always most correct or representative of the breadth of knowledge and opinion on a topic.
While conducting commercial research fosters a deep concern with costs, and library research fosters a concern with access, Internet research fosters a deep concern for quality, managing the abundance of information, and avoiding unintended bias. This is partly because Internet research occurs in a less mature information environment: an environment with less sophisticated / poorly communicated search skills and much less effort in organizing information. Library and commercial research have many search tactics and strategies unavailable on the Internet and the library and commercial environments invest more deeply in organizing and vetting their information.
10. Practicum (Hands-on Activities to reinforce curriculum)
Practicums (also called internships or work placement programs) are designed to provide students with practical work experience. They emphasize the importance of learning by doing. They’re where students can transfer their knowledge to actual work. Practicums can also open many opportunities to network and make important contacts within the industry.
However, not many students truly realize the importance of practicums. When it comes to choosing a school, the first thing people typically want to know about is the cost of tuition. But it’s a good idea to think about your education as an investment for your future. Before enrolling in a school, it’s vital to ensure you graduate with more than just an expensive piece of paper.
Why are they Important?
A decade ago, simply having a good academic standing was enough to qualify you for a decent job. Today, good grades just don’t cut it. When it comes to securing employment, most companies want to make sure you can put what you learned to practice.