Nov 2017

Online Learning, a Disruptive Innovation in Education – An Interview With Michael Horn

Cristina Wagner and Michael Horn
November 16, 2017

Quick Take: In a knowledge economy, we need to ensure that every student is getting the right opportunities to fulfill their potential. Online learning offers a flexibility that can help transform Education into a student-centered learning system beneficial to all.

Michael Horn is an expert in online learning, blended learning, competency-based learning and student-centered education. He works with several education organizations to improve student learning experiences and his work has also led him to serve on education organizations advisory boards. He is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a non-profit think tank, and is the author of the bestseller book “Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.” Horn holds a BA in history from Yale University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

In this interview, he shares how to transform the educational system into a student-centered learning (SCL) approach, how to use online learning to maximize student success, and why online learning is considered a disruptive innovation in education. He also shares his perspective on the challenges of blended learning, as well as some of the trends educational institutions will experience in the coming decades.

Cristina Wagner

How would you define student-centered learning? We live in a knowledge economy, why is this approach important nowadays?

Photo Michael Horn

I think of student-centered learning as the combination of personalizing learning, meaning delivering the right learning experience at the right time, with competency-based or mastery learning, in which students move on as they master their learning objectives, not based on time. It basically means every student is going to learn; we are going to make sure we are doing the right thing for each individual, whether that degree of experience is a project, direct instruction, or individual tutor. If you go back a hundred years ago, when the factory model education system was created, we wanted to get as many students as possible through school with a minimal education level, and it was okay that some students really would get concepts while others just would not, because we had a place for them in the industrial economy. As for a knowledge economy though, you really need to make sure that every single student is mastering the basics, and then, is having opportunities to discover and build passion and fulfill their potential. We really need everyone participating in the economy in a much richer way, which means helping individuals fulfill their potential.


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