Tracking institutionalized interests

For dashboards to function effectively at upgrading higher ed, they must track others' interests. Unlike PLE's that organize one's personal explorations, dashboards are designed to be there for other learners, educators and employers. They will get where people are coming from to assist them getting to a better place. They will orchestrate getting the exact learning needed from the right person at the right time and place. By tracking others' interests complexly, the right diagnosis will be made when something goes wrong.

Lots of students, educators and employers express deep interests in remaining institutionalized. They show no interest in being liberated, empowered or engaged in collaborative dynamics. Institutions solve problems for them. They function better under imposed structure and conformity pressures. Dashboards that exclude these interests will only serve a small minority of agendas, intentions and expectations. The exceptional educational value of well designed dashboards will have little impact. So today I'll explore the design challenge of monitoring many others' interests in remaining institutionalized.

Most of us that have happily found well-marked exits from institutions don't appreciate what they do for insiders. We only see the adverse effects and adverse selection of people for positions. As I explored last year in Amazing institutions and Are institutions really problematic?, institutions bring order to tribal dynamics. They provide protection from irrationality, subjectivity and disorder for those who otherwise feel very vulnerable and likely to be harmed again. They provide convincing justifications, requirements and enforcements to questionable endeavors. They make it easy to look busy, productive and proficient when self-structured efforts would appear idle, aimless or incompetent.

Institutions are also breeding grounds for second-class citizens who are never satisfied. These whiners complain about everything that happens or does not occur. They are easily addicted to distractions and habitually entangled by others' chronic childishness. They have no way to show respect, solve problems, take responsibility, function reliably or think through their own options. They come across as "very high maintenance". They rely on institutions to provide legitimizing cover and much-needed structure even though they cannot take advantage of all that to become first class citizens. They are in no shape to shape up or to change their tune.

These second class citizens get consistently misdiagnosed inside institutions.  The first class citizens do not learn the lessons taught by these underdogs. Their first-class scoreboards remain disconnected from these second-class interests. All this creates a phenomenal opportunity to reinvent higher ed to better serve those who are not self structuring, DIY punks, hackers and gamers. Those with well-designed dashboards will be tracking these institutionalized interests and cognizant of how to respond effectively to implicit requests, questions and confusion.

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