Walled garden

Can the transformation of global health education for impact rely on input-based accreditation?

Reda Sadki Education business models, Global health, Learning strategy

Burck Smith wrote in 2012 what remains one of the clearest summaries of how accreditation is based primarily on a higher education institution’s inputs rather than its outcomes, and serves to create an “iron triangle” to maintain high prices, keep out new entrants, and resist change. It is worth quoting Smith at length (see this link) as we think through the proposal that the transformation of global health education for impact should rely on accredited institutions. Global health efforts are focused on outcomes and aim to achieve impact. Of necessity, this requires rethinking a broad swath of fairly fundamental issues, from how to construct education to what philosophy should underpin what we design and develop. And the focus on results makes the prevailing input-based accreditation criteria unlikely to be the most useful ones to help achieve global health goals. The call for a “revolution” in education for public health is …

Hamburger University

Accreditation in higher education is based primarily on inputs rather than outcomes

Reda Sadki Education business models, Learning strategy

Burck Smith describes how accreditation is based primarily on a higher education institution’s inputs rather than its outcomes, and creates an “iron triangle” to maintain high prices, keep out new entrants, and resist change. To be accredited, a college must meet a variety of criteria, but most of these deal with a college’s inputs rather than its outcomes [emphasis mine]. Furthermore, only providers of entire degree programs (rather than individual courses) can be accredited. And even though they are accredited by the same organizations, colleges have complete discretion over their “articulation” policies—the agreements that stipulate the credits that they will honor or deny when transferred from somewhere else. This inherent conflict of interest between the provision of courses and the certification of other’s courses is a powerful tool to keep competition out. Articulation agreements, like API’s for computer operating systems, are the standards that enable or deny integration. In short, …

Badges for online learning: gimmick or game-changer?

Reda Sadki Writing

As I’ve been thinking about building a MOOC for the 13.1 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, I’ve become increasingly interested in connectivism. One of the platforms I’ve discovered is called P2PU (“Peer To Peer University”), which draws heavily on connectivist ideas. Surprise: on P2PU there is a debate raging on about badges, of all things. I initially scoffed. I’ve seen badges on Khan Academy and have read that they are very popular with learners, but did not really seriously consider these badges to be anything more than gimmicks. It turns out that badges are serious learning tools, and that makes sense from a connectivist perspective. A white paper from the Mozilla Foundation summarizes why and how, drawing on an earlier paper from P2PU’s co-founder Philipp Schmidt. George Siemens’s (2005) connectivism theory of learning is said to go “beyond traditional theories of learning (such as behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism) to include technology as a core element”. So badges in this theory would use …