Disintermediation in Education: The Kahn Edition

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a great piece on a self-appointed teacher who runs a one-man "academy" on YouTube: "The most popular educator on YouTube does not have a Ph.D. He has never taught at a college or university. And he delivers all of his lectures from a bedroom closet."

Salman Kahn has recorded 1,400 10-minute lectures on a range of topics. Over 16 million people have watched his videos.

The Khan Academy explicitly challenges many of higher-education's most sacred assumptions: that professional academics make the best teachers; that hourlong lectures are the best way to relate material; and that in-person teaching is better than videos. Mr. Khan argues that his little lectures disprove all of that.

The Kahn Academy has become so popular that it has attracted the attention of folks like John Doer, who donated $100,000 to Kahn's venture to allow him work at it full-time.

What I love about the story is it shows the impending / in-progress revolution in education on both the production and consumption side. A smart, motivated man wants to use technology to present knowledge in a new way. Done. Millions of people around the world are hungry for knowledge and want it in a form and style that works for them. Done. No middlemen.

Now, how to credential those who have acquired such knowledge? This remains a huge barrier to new education efforts. (Speaking of credentials, how crazy is it that colleges do both the educating of students and the evaluating/credentialing?!)

Thanks to Hunter Walk for the pointer.

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