Across the world, business models based on combining the transfer of information and the maintenance of physical property and products are being disrupted out of existence.
The taxi industry, movie rentals, and bookstores are among the sectors that have or are undergoing massive change.
This change has been brought on by competitors that eliminated the middleman and cut down on the need for operating buildings and selling tangible products.
Uber, Lyft, and other smartphone based ridesharing companies eliminated the central dispatch office and the need to manage separate taxis.
Netflix and on-demand video destroyed blockbuster and other video outlets.
And Amazon, plus the rise of e-books, cut down on the number of physical bookstores – though some are still going strong. (Good news for a book fanatic like me.)
There is another industry that could be on the brink of massive disruption:
Imagine an industry that makes its money by distributing information that is widely available for free, while charging high fees to maintain salaries and physical infrastructure.
Imagine also that this industry often fails to do what it promises – provide the knowledge that can lead to great careers.
And further imagine that it leaves many people crippled by massive debts.
That increasingly describes post-secondary education today.
Lectures from the worlds top professors are free on YouTube. The knowledge contained in overpriced textbooks can be found for free on the internet. And many students fees pay for facilities and buildings they will never even use.
This means post-secondary education is ripe for disruption. With some exceptions, much of post-secondary could be replaced with free online courses and accredited exams.
The entire exam system could be opened up to a full-challenge model. All exams and all credits could be challengeable. If someone can go online, find the necessary knowledge, and pass the exam, why shouldn’t they be accredited and get their degree?
Free post-secondary education is possible and the power of disruption can make it happen.
The disruption of the post-secondary education system would be a revolutionary event that would democratize and equalize educational opportunities to an extent never before seen.
It is a tremendous opportunity, and we have the power to make it happen.