Empathy is often defined as the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. In more simpler terms, it being able to put yourself in another person's shoes. Empathy might be a thing that's mostly talked by college kids, some random preacher or motivation speaker just straight up political activist trying to appeal to emotion. But there's a point tof all of this when it comes to cold hard business.
If you're just makign stuff for fun. this is alright. but if you want to grow and make the world better and cooler & bit more futuristic...... you need to figure out what would help the customer. You need to know what would change the world for the customer.
He's not what most people think of when they think of empathy. Many would even consider him to be opposite. But think about it...... Ask why customers buy Amazon so much. Why can't they help buying at Amazon. What let Amazon be such huuuuge player in the markets.
Amazon figured out people don't like building their won infrastructure for their websites. It's tough work for small teams. They made Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Computing Services.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon providing on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. These cloud computing web services provide a variety of basic abstract technical infrastructure and distributed computing building blocks and tools. One of these services is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which allows users to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet. AWS's version of virtual computers emulates most of the attributes of a real computer, including hardware central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) for processing; local/RAM memory; hard-disk/SSD storage; a choice of operating systems; networking; and pre-loaded application software such as web servers, databases, and customer relationship management (CRM).
Now AWS is one of the biggest profit sources for Amazon because it has higher margins.
Empathy is essential in a state of crisis and this is especially true when the crisis is global. It is almost impossible to find a sector that is unaffected by COVID-19. The way we do even our basic tasks have changed tremendously. But not all sectors affect us equally. Not having few luxury experiences should not be a cause of worry. Food on the other hand becomes a very important priority.
It is fair to say that education is even more important. It doesn't just affect us in the immediate time but is capable of defining the future of students and the world they build for the future. For the longest time education industry has been like a Mafia.
Even a crisis can help us achieve a new and improved perspective about the world. Many changes and innovations came into existence through facing obstacles and achieving victory over them. Good design thinking becomes increasingly important in these times and if as a society have to come to the realization that we have not had much empathy when designing our education systems. That's another way of saying the damn curriculum is no good! It doesn't serve students welll!
Most of the traditional methods of education have become inaccessible for most students around the globe. Human ingenuity and our technological capability have managed to keep teaching and learning alive. The times have forced us to evaluate the traditional process of education under the microscope.
Education only became available to the masses on a massive scale after the industrial revolution few centuries ago. The designing of the teaching, learning and evaluation process was done to suite the needs of the employers and it was all designed and built in a society that is both culturally and technologically underdeveloped compared to the more progressive 21st century. Before COVID-19 the world had already moved towards a more student centric educational system. The effectiveness and value provided can only be evaluated from the point of view of the benefactor of the education; the student.
Freelancing and entrepreneurship has become lucrative and more accessible than ever. This means there's a new dempgra[hic that needs to lean real useful stuff that can actually help! The student is a the centre of the education process and the needs of the students have changed over time. These changes have become even more intense lately.
The education given cannot be decoupled from how it is delivered. Technologies like webinars have allowed to scale the amount of students that can be reached by a single educator. One recorded session can be replayed infinite times. Content is available at very affordable rates or even for free on websites like YouTube or Khan Academy.
Being educated and having learned many subjects is not a special thing in the developed world any more. It is the norm. It is difficult for people to find time or money discuss philosophy or poetry in a time of crisis. But plumbing or fixing a car will always be in demand. If the students need to survive in the job market they need to know of ways to add real tangible value to the employers and solve their problems. A freelancer or an entrepreneur looks to use what he/she learn to get more clients, do things faster/cheaper, market themselves or even just become better at analyzing data.
Education isn’t a privilege anymore. It is a product and designers of educational programs must take time to see the world from their customer's shoes and figure out their needs and pain points.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webinars, online examinations, pre-recorded videos are all old technologies that have been in usage for almost a decade or even longer. These technologies were never widely adopted by schools and colleges because they were never in a situation where they were forced to move away from much of their roots that were established around the industrial revolution.
Alternative education platforms empathized with the customers better and created teaching/learning processes that addressed many of the customer pain points described above. Different platforms solved different customer pain points.
Exploring What Has Already Worked
YouTube made education videos freely accessible to all. Although it is not a platform focused on education, Numberphile, Veritasium, CGP Grey, Real Engineering and many others provide free educational videos and use ad revenue and services like Patreon to fund their operations
Udemy and Skillshare offer thousands of instructors to millions of students at ultra low prices. Reception for these websites have been exceptionally well. Customers can try out many different fields at a low financial risk.
https://brilliant.org offers short and summarized courses courses on STEM subjects in a way that is well suited for fast paced learning.
There are high ticket courses laser focused on a specific niche that exclusively train students to gain results in a very specific industry. https://www.consulting.com for an example has only 3 courses and the cheapest course is $2000. The courses have 4.9 out of 5 rating from thousands of students.
Apps like Lumosity has many games that aim to improve cognitive performance of users. These short games can be tried even while travelling. The service only cost $79.99 for an entire year
Biggest Competition To The Traditional School/University System
MasterClass (https://www.masterclass.com) is an educational platform that is focused on having experts of their craft like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Aaron Sorkin, Tony Hawk, Ron Howard, Natalie Portman, David Lynch, Hans Zimmer, Werner Herzog, Neil Gaiman, Martin Scorsese and many more world famous legends. All this is available for $180 per year.
No film school in the world is going to be able to have multiple Academy Award winning actors, directors, writers on payroll to teach their students. MasterClass has experts from all kinds of industries from business, food, music, arts & entertainment, sports & gaming, science & tech and more. Thanks for technology, the classes of these incredible accomplished people can be recorded once and distributed forever.
They received no government grants. Online education wasn’t something that was ingrained in our culture. These businesses could only grow through appealing to customer’s wants and needs and solving the issues they had in their lives. Colleges and schools are now following the lead provided by these online educational ventures. By studying them we can figure out what customers respond to.
Colleges have funding, experts and experience. Adjusting the college education experience with customer focused design thinking has the potential to change the education system for the coming decades.
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