How could it be possible that a disruptive upgrade to higher ed could be both cheaper and higher quality? It's easy to imagine once our minds are outside the academic box. Here's four ideas for how the higher quality could could be achieved routinely.
Expanded purpose space: When we're in a space to contribute and get value from where the purpose is clear and encompassing, we naturally act more resourceful. We take initiative and personal responsibility to get results. We look after others and see things all the way through. This is the opposite of how we act when we've lost sight of the mission, worry about wasting our time and suspect we've been bamboozled. We wait for things to happen, expect others to take responsibility, and go through the motions regardless of producing any results. If educators and learners share a space with expansive purpose, the outcomes will be much higher quality than what goes on in most college courses now.
Congruent with cognitive neuroscience; When we work with our brains, our brains are far more productive and capable of learning. We balance strenuous challenges with mental relaxation. We give our brains time to catch on and catch up with new information. We get plenty of exercise to provide plenty of oxygen and rest to make new neural connections. This obviously contrasts with the familiar sight of sleep-deprived college students who are stressed out by workload, deadlines, tests and grades. When educators and learners are both using their brains optimally, their creative problem solving, empathy for others, and productive conversations are far more likely.
Taught by peers: When we teach what we already know, we suddenly understand it better and want to learn more about it and with it. When others learn from us instead of some far-advanced expert, the material seems far more accessible, interesting and useful. This goes against the very expensive model of getting taught by faculty who get professionally rewarded for becoming more abstract, dense and boring. When everyone is contributing to the educating of each other, the cost comes down and the value soars.
Anecdotal feedback: When we get told how we're good, unique, valuable and resourceful, we become more oriented. We get a better idea what to expect of ourselves, how to contribute and what we can do to make a difference effectively. This undermines the system of objective test scores, numeric grades, and college transcripts that shows everyone how they compare on the same scales. When educators and learners both know where they stand with each other, the quality of contributions to each others' lives will exceed current expectations and experiences by a long shot.
These are not costly innovations. They are simply game changers that can reliably provide higher quality educational experiences and outcomes for less money.