The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
Issue 8 | August 2020


The Future of Learning

Sugata Mitra, Indian computer scientist, educational theorist, and professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University in England offers a perspective on the future of learning and education.

His "Schools in the Cloud" are focused on measurable and impactful insights from extensive research around the world.

"Almost twenty years of experiments with children's education takes us through a series of startling results – children can self organise their own learning, they can achieve educational objectives on their own, can read by themselves. Finally, the most startling of them all: Groups of children with access to the Internet can learn anything by themselves. The mechanism of this kind of learning seems similar to the appearance of spontaneous order, or ‘emergent phenomena’ in chaotic systems."

How can we begin to create more agile and effective learning environments, in spite of the current obstacles we face globally?

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Are Helicopter Parents Ruining a Generation?

Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, offers a quick video describing the natural processes of learning new skills, and how much of modern parenting trends may be inadvertently hindering those processes.

While well-intentioned, "helicopter parenting" may be ignoring a simple but important method for teaching our children by overstepping our roles as caregivers. This may, in turn, lead to young adults that lack confidence because of their fear of failure. Watch and share this video to start a conversation about how we can better prepare our children for an ambiguous future. 

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Professor Cracks the Code of How Great Entrepreneurs Think

Saras D. Sarasvathy is a leading scholar on the cognitive basis for high-performance entrepreneurship. Her work pioneered the logic of effectuation — a set of teachable and learnable principles used by expert entrepreneurs to build enduring ventures. 

In this Q&A article from last year, Sarasvathy distills her decades of research into a useful framework for understanding the principles of effectuation. She juxtaposes effectual reasoning with causal reasoning, which is essentially attempting to predict the future outcomes of a venture before testing it. The opposite approach is true for effectuation.

In essence, by starting with the simplest iteration of their idea and the resources currently available to them, high performing entrepreneurs are mitigating risk by not attempting to predict the future, but rather controlling what they have in the present to create the future. Effectuation logic is deceptively simple, and requires continued practice to perfect, but is worth it in the end for those trying to replicate an entrepreneurial mindset.

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Why our greatest inventors are supreme hucksters

Supply and demand have been cornerstones of economic analysis for centuries. But what if we are overemphasizing the importance of supply on the modern market? In this brief article from the magazine The Spectator, we see an interesting flipping of the script. 

Many technological advancements are imperfect when they first hit the market. The hype around a new product or breakthrough technology is often short-lived due to the product or service's shortcomings. As improvements are made, we often see less hype, since we have heard of iPhones, cappuccinos, and wireless internet for quite some time. So perhaps part of what keeps some brands, products, and services at the front of our minds is an effective "hype-machine" coupled with a reliable product. 

"The importance of generating hype alongside meaningful improvements may explain why many of our greatest inventors — Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Thomas Alva — are supreme hucksters. The ability to create the hype alongside the invention may be decisive."

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Yes, It’s All Your Fault: Active vs. Passive Mindsets

Many of us have a tendency to take a controllable circumstance—leaving on time for an appointment, for example—and frame it as something beyond our control when we don't perform as well as we thought we would. In this brief blog from Farnam Street, we see this defined as a passive mindset. 

"When the language you use about things going on in your life is passive, you slowly convince yourself that nothing is your responsibility. This makes you feel good because it absolves you from responsibility. It means you don’t have to look inside yourself and change anything. It means you’re not in control."

But here's the thing, much of what we blame on the world is well within our control. Read on to learn more.

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