OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

We Want Education To Be Expensive

Learning can be done incredibly cheaply, the reason why it's not is because we don't value it if it comes easily.

Photo of Kaye Han
62 17

Written by

If somebody graduated university by attending free online classes, the same classes taught by Harvard University physically on campus, we would still discount that graduate's education compared to a 'real' Harvard graduate who attended lectures physically on campus. We don't believe those free online classes were of the same education quality as the one taught physically. Why? The issue is that how much humans value things is dependant upon how difficult it was to achieve it. This is the case for both effort and resources (money) spent. 

The fact is, we already have a form of extremely cheap tertiary level education - and it's digital. Online education has proliferated and it's ridiculously cheap - and there lies the problem.

It's too cheap that we don't value it.

Because online education is so cheap and accessible, drop-out rates are extremely high - the people attending don't have the motivation to complete it. But what if we made it harder to achieve and get into online education? The perceived value would not only rise, but the motivation to stick with it may increase as well? 

The hazing of fraternities and sororities is testimony to this fact - psychologists have done extensive studies on the case. The harder it is for somebody to achieve or access something (the more they struggle), the more then will appreciate and stick with what they've achieved. 

Easy come, easy go. 


--

We need to change the perception of value of alternative forms of education - particularly digital education. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Easiest way to lower costs in the modern age is to reduce human resources - that means going digital. Online education fails because it's too easy and accessible; that's why it's not perceived as valuable to society compared to traditional degrees. To make it more psychologically valuable to humans, we need to make it harder to get into and achieve- while maintaining affordability.

62 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Henna Williams

All those people who are getting an education, proper living and having economic stability are the luckiest ones in this era. On the contrary, most of the population is deprived from such necessities of life, especially in 3rd world countries.

View all comments