Your mentality towards learning often greatly impacts how you approach, listen, and react to the learning source. Such as a lecture or MOOC, and what you choose to do with that source is different depending on the person.
However despite all that there are still ways to work around your mentality, by setting up systems in place instead of relying solely on the student’s willpower. Systems like gamification, interleaving, or in this case today: Skill Tree Based Learning!
All in all what that means is that the modules and lessons are broken up into a family tree of skills and topics.
The old format is passive, leaving the students to scramble notes together, all while the lecturer goes on and on. I have nothing against professors, for in fact I have deep respect. It is the way they are taught to teach that I have problem with, as it prevents a massive amount of people from actually learning the subject matter.
This is not quite the fault of the students or the teachers, but that of the traditional education system we reside in. There lacks a significant amount of innovation. The CEO of edX, Anant Agarwal, even states that there hasn’t been very much innovation in education despite the internet dramatically changing all different other industries.
Though I will say he is doing some great work in the field of education towards making an innovation! #makeachange
This model of learning where a large group of students sits while the teacher talks is something that has gone on for a century. Before that it was even worse, but then came the industrial revolution and we needed more people of the same caliber. Now we need the innovators. The change-makers. The “Crazy Ones” as Steve Jobs put it.
Why this Paves Way for New Models
The internet opened many new doors for the world. From agriculture, to business, to even the fridge being able to tell you that you are low on milk.
The very way the entire planet operates changed. The way we live our lives changed. Now why can’t we change the way we learn??
MOOC’s, OpenCourseWare, and leveraged learning has changed the game.
New Age of Learning
One of the biggest contributors to poverty in the world is the lack of access, or quality education. Just one year of school in Africa or rural India, can lead to a dramatic increase in lifetime financial earnings.
Source: edX Reimagine Education Goals, REG’s for 2022,
If we can tackle the Reimagine Education Goals with dedication, and true inherent effort. Then I believe the global index for the UN’s Sustainability Development goals can be greatly increased.
Our new age systems can replace the old ones, and gives the new generation a much stronger platform/foundation to build upon for future generations to come!
How to Model After Skill Trees
The Skill Tree is a classic example of video game innovations. It allowed players to dynamically make their characters unique.
If we can apply that same mentality, or model, to online courses then the amount of attention that the course gets will increase. Not to mention the viability of retaining the information because of not only the increased attention time, but the chance that the skills will get spread out.
That spreading of the skills gives way for repetitive learning, and taking the time for the brain to process the information over a greater period of time.
In order to model after a Skill Tree however you wouldn’t just build ONE course, you would build an intro/conclusion, then three mini courses in-bedded within.
Intro — course 1/course 2/course 3 — Conclusion
You could tackle anyone of those in any order, giving way for an interrelated course structure.
What Are Skill Trees Exactly?
Skill trees are from video games that give a sense of progression, and overall increasing the player’s in-game powers.
Think of Spiderman being able to shoot webs much more effectively after upgrading a skill!
Expand your horizons
They can be expansive, or only a few skills (usually three is a good number), so I dare you content creators/teachers/online course creators to find some way to create a Skill Tree based format to your teaching!!!
All in all the most important thing from this article today is that it gets you to think differently on education. I hope that in some way, shape, or form, that I inspired you!
Read a companion piece on LinkedIn!
Watch A Video On the Matter!
PolyInnovator — Skill Tree Based Learning