Right person for the job

Institutions cannot usually provide the right person for the job that needs to be done right now. Offering full time employment limits most institutions to using people on payroll or under contract. Their timing is off since the logistics of delivering any value requires massive scheduling, interdepartmental coordination and sign-offs at many levels. The job to be done gets defined by the constraints of the huge, hierarchical structures, rather than whatever would serve the immediate needs, people and situation. Most of what gets done needs to be routinized and controlled rather than improvised and delegated.

Providing higher education via institutions was necessitated by the dynamics of ink on paper. The credentials of those qualified to teach were trusted if they were put on paper diplomas, certificates and curriculum vitae. The credentials awarded to students were also put on paper. The teaching materials were restricted to printed books, handouts and write-ups. All this evolved into institutions of higher ed which defined academic requirements, enforced prerequisites, covered material and tested retention of subject matter. Credentialed ink on paper cannot be improvised or customized to meet individual needs, timing or situational opportunities. The job of "covering the material" cannot be reframed as discovering what's needed, next and missing for each individual learner.

The right person for a job that facilitates others' learning will change constantly. A learner's dashboard widget that monitored how right someone was for that job ought to watch for the following in that person:

  1. How close to one's own understanding the person is - rather than being so distant as seem inaccessible or so close as to merely collude and commiserate
  2. How capable of avoiding the curse of knowledge which forgets what it's like to not know this, to not grasp it thoroughly yet or to have no context to place it in yet
  3. How good at explaining new content clearly, relating it to other ideas/skills, using metaphors to make it more accessible
  4. How cautious about the potentially harmful effects of excessive expertise
  5. How curious about the learner's own understanding, outlook, confusion, curiosity, motivation
  6. How collegial, accessible, vulnerable, transparent, credible, humble, easy to relate to and trustworthy
  7. How rewarded by their own work, satisfied with their job, attuned to value in their own efforts

If learners routinely tracked these variables, they could find the right person for everything they wanted to learn. Those that proved to be the right person would feel respected, validated and intrinsically rewarded by getting seen this way. The quality of learning would increase exponentially as the job to be done changed and the right persons got involved. The cost of obtaining a post secondary education could plummet dramatically.

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