Before technology we were better at putting information in its place. When you went to the library, you could find books by author, title, or subject. This made finding information organized but limited to content you could obtain within your traveling distance. I remember going to the University of Scranton’s Library, a 20-minute drive, because they had a book share program with my high school. At that time, you had to be motivated to find content for your research papers, some of my classmates even traveled to Philadelphia.
Today, information is everywhere. We are overwhelmed by messages about everything which makes us very stressed. It is impossible to find the signal in the noise. You can read more about this concept in a book called The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail–but Some Don’t by Nate Silver. He’s a math genius but writes in a way that anyone can read and understand.
Search engines use keywords or subjects similar to card catalogs of the past. However, search engines include information found on over 1.7 Billion websites, not to mention linkages to all of the social media content that exists on the internet. Search engines are helpful if you need a specific piece of information like an address or office hours for a company. Other than that, the only information that can effectively be found through search engines are ads trying to sell the “deal of the century”. Search engines might seem similar to the card catalogs of the past, but after closer observation they are quite different. No one is getting smarter, feeling more connected, or being inspired by quality researched information found using search engines.
Some technologies have helped to organize information in useful ways, two of these are Amazon and ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft. These platforms work because you are going to them, like the card catalog of the past, for a specific purpose. If you want to purchase an item you consult the Amazon website and quickly find the information you seek. If you need a ride, ride share transactions take place, in a functional way, because everyone knows where to find the specific transportation information needed.
Unfortunately, this matching of need with solution does not happen for education. There are so many different types of programs and learning opportunities, traditional and non-traditional pathways, certificates, badges, camps, hackathons, apprenticeships, internships, incubators, scholarships, etc. that students can’t easily find the best learning program for them. This results in students wasting hours of time researching, using dreaded search engines, to find work and career learning information on the web. Educational institutions are forced to spend too much money buying keywords that result in no additional prospective student views of their educational programs. If only there was a specific card catalog for education that organized information, in a specific way, where learning experiences could be found based on location and career aspirations.
Imagine a world where learning experiences were organized based on interests and made recommendations of similar learning opportunities. How cool would this solution be? Enter the keywords or searchable fields organized into six mega clusters, and have access to local events and programs that put students, parents, educators and career-seekers on pathways to success. No longer would there be a need to find the company and then hope they have a learning program for you to get your foot in the door. No longer would there be a need to pick a school and then hope they have your major or program of interest. No longer would families struggle to find fun and educational places to go and things to do together. Communities would begin to work on discovering, growing, and thriving as they work towards a common goal–Prosperity through education and connection!
Dream2Career is developing this type of solution, where you can find categories of interest and quickly locate learning on-ramps and experiences. Visit our developing website at Edu-Advisor.org or sign up today to receive updates about learning experiences matching your interests. We are hard at work designing Edu-Advisor the app, until then, subscribe here to learn more about this project and start living your dream life.
Kathleen Houlihan is a leader in workforce innovation and she is the Founder of an agency that reimagines talent acquisition and optimizes the system for candidates and employers. Her company, Dream2Career, provides human-centric ROI solutions that filter-in candidates who exceed expectations in the workplace.