Edtech for communities
And hence the question, is it just a coincidence or have we accidentally struck upon a new Edtech model for communities.
How communities learn?
Whether it is a community of scientists pushing the limits of known universe or a set of farmers trying to innovate their farming practices, communities learn through shared experiences. Most of the scientific breakthrough requires years of cumulative efforts by a large number of individuals working in the same field either simultaneously or at different times. These communities generally consist of people with diverse backgrounds and a diverse set of experiences.
I personally like to divide such communities into 3 based on experience or expertise. With people who achieve expertise in a specific topic at the top, while the ones recently joining the community at the very bottom with a large middle populated by people actively following certain set practices.
For the community as a whole to grow, we require a large amount of information to flow from the very top to the bottom which attracts more talent and inspires this new talent to explore the boundaries. While a huge free flow of information amidst the vast middle ensures a sustainable progress within what is already known.
Another important aspect of learning is access to resources whether it be data, some costly laboratory instruments or a simple DIY kit. This ensures larger participation and a common direction for the community as a whole to explore.
This is a motivated and reverse engineered version based mostly on my learning from past few months and what we are building.
Where does EdTech fit in this?
There are three crucial components of above learning model that I see,
- A medium to connect the experts to newbies,
- A medium to connect the vast middle to each other, and
- A medium to exchange or share resources within the community.
EdTech has to achieve above 3 to enable communities to learn. While traditional EdTech platforms have solved the first problem well enough for individuals i.e. they do connect experts to newbies they are still missing a lot on enabling peer to peer learning.
And it is the other two components where Vartika’s model at StackRaft and ours at Seed Savers Club excites me.
The common thread
The common thread that I see between the two models is:
- A peer to peer chat based community for general interactions.
- Regular live sessions for direct engagement.
- Courses based on real world experiences for structured learning .
- Listings for sharing resources.
The first two provide a medium for the vast middle to stay connected, Courses connect experts to newbies like traditional Edtech while listings serve the purpose of sharing resources.
To draw a simple parallel, imagine a university campus where courses are your typical courses with classroom lectures while live sessions are a parallel to seminars and listings serve the same purpose as labs and libraries.
Would be great to know if you have come across a similar model elsewhere. Another one that I can fit in this structure is a Digital marketing freelancing coursework someone had mentioned to me. If you have deeper thoughts on it then let’s have a chat.