Learning Innovation. A metaphor that has captured the imagination at my College is that of a “base camp to the world”. I’ve been thinking about this base camp metaphor as it could apply to learning innovation.
What role might small colleges that are liberal arts to the core play in a larger postsecondary movement to advance learning? Are there advantages that small and intimate institutions have in leading change across the higher ed world? Advantages that perhaps are not as much shared by some large institutions that operate on scales of ten of thousands of students, and which tend to get most of the attention.
I can think of 3 areas where the metaphor of a learning innovation base camp works for small liberal arts colleges:
1 – A Commitment to Impact:
The metaphor of a base camp only works if there exists a commitment to climb the mountain. When it comes to advancing learning, institutions need to feel that they have a role to play in moving all of higher education forward.
Small liberal arts schools have an important role to play in the national conversation about the future of higher education. Our insistence that an education should be about acquiring the habits of a lifetime learner, in addition the skills necessary in tomorrow’s job market, sets a liberal education apart.
How learning innovation, and in particular digital learning innovation, plays out in a context an intimate and small-scale educational context is a fascinating question. Too much of the conversation about learning innovation is about scale and efficiency. Too little of the conversation in learning innovation is about scholars who love to teach, and a system of education that is built on the relationships between highly skilled faculty and their students.
Small liberal arts colleges have a leadership role to play in our national conversation about the future of higher education.