How Is Bike Riding Like College?

You might have seen the increasing number of articles discussing the fact that a college degree doesn’t prepare students with the skills to be successful in life, and many more companies which are now abolishing their degree requirements because a degree is no longer a reliable signal that a job candidate has the skills and knowledge valuable to employers.

Why are traditional colleges failing? Derek Magill has a great analogy on the way the structure and method of higher education today doesn’t make sense. He spoke about this at the recent TOS-CON event when he asked “what if we taught bike riding like we teach careers?

Magill also wrote on his blog:

“What would happen if we tried to teach bike riding like we teach careers today.

If that were the case, you would go to school for bike riding, but instead of riding the bike:

  • You would study bike theory and mechanics.

  • You would study the history of biking.

  • You would study gender and biking.

  • You would study how the bike is a tool of capitalist oppression.

You’d do all this, but you’d graduate at the end of college and still be unable to ride a bike. As Isaac Morehouse writes:

We’d celebrate and buy them something (but not a bike). Then they’d go out and try to obtain a bike in a highly competitive market. If they were able to purchase one, they’d have to learn, for the first time after two decades of studying but never trying, to ride.

It sounds ridiculous, right? And yet that is exactly how we teach young people to prepare for careers.

If you are a marketing student, you will study the history of marketing and marketing theory, but you’ll probably never do real marketing. If you’re a journalism student, you’ll study the ethics of journalism but you’ll probably never publish. And if you are a computer science student, you will study theory and code, but you probably won’t make anything. Predictably, this does not work well.

And yet we don’t need something new. The solution to the problems of higher education is not novel or radical. It is rediscovering the simple truth about learning that we grasp intuitively when we learn to ride a bike: start pedaling.”

#gapyear #college #highered #greatconnection #socraticseminars