Finding the Right Customer for Education

We were doing a little Value Proposition Design for a high school focused improving-education project the other day. The first step in the process is identifying the jobs, pains and gains of the target Customer Segment. The problem of finding the right customer for education immediately arose.
Is the customer:
-the student who is learning
-the teacher who is teaching
-the school which is providing the day to day learning environment
-the school district which is setting the standards and means to achieve learning proficiency
-the government which is tasked with providing our students with a proper education
-the groups which want to raise the bar on our national learning proficiency

Although it’s clear that the student is the primary customer, it’s the teach-side that usually makes the move-forward decisions because they are responsible for the budget and are deemed most proficient to make educational decisions.

This state of affairs came to mind when reading Noel Enyedy of UCLA’s computerized instruction policy brief. Enyedy concludes that computerized instruction is currently producing only marginal educational gains.

In the brief, an important distinction is made between personalized instruction and personalized learning. Personalized instruction focuses on tailoring the pace, order, location, and content of a lesson specifically for each student, while personalized learning refers to the ways teachers or learning environments can vary the resources, activities, and teaching techniques to effectively engage as many students as possible. Although improved student learning is the goal, those teaching are directing the process in both cases.

An alternate student-centered approach is presented in Why kids are hiring competency-based education” by Julia Freedland. Freedland feels we should view students as agents and consumers of their education. We can then focus on what motivates decisions such as coming to school; finishing projects or paying attention.

Take a look at both articles and consider whether
– the student centered approach is too impractical
– it’s the only approach that will ultimately succeed
– a cooperative student-teacher approach will, should and can win the day.