The Future of Education

PolyInnovator: The Talk of Modular Self-Education

The Future of Education

Why would education need to be changed? Let's establish this first, as the current situation is often misunderstood. The very traditional form factor that the higher education system (really though schools at all levels), that we have all been used to for hundreds of years is not viable anymore.

When the TV came about there was many people heading off to college, and war, but they had no other means of learning. Maybe going to the library, however the stuff those libraries would contain is infinitely smaller. It was near impossible to teach yourself, let alone anything of career noteworthy. Nowadays in this modern era there is a vast more options available—from EdX, Coursera, FutureLearn, BitDegree, YouTube Videos, and so much more.

You have the options, and ability to learn ANYTHING you could ever want. I know for a fact that I have become a jack of all trades on the computer. I talk about wanting to be a Polymath a lot. At the moment I still consider myself a "Philomath," or lover of learning. Conversely however I have built almost all of my computers, and I know the science behind them. I can do graphics design, web design (visually, not quite coding yet, but I've tried!), I can record podcasts/edit, make YouTube videos, and a lot more. This wasn't a chance for me to brag by any means, but to show you that anything is possible with dedication (and an internet connection).

What is self-education?

Being an Autodidact is a natural human occurrence. All it means is that you are "Self-Teacher," and for all of humanity's existence we have had to teach ourselves in order to survive. Now we do it in order to thrive. I have been reading a lot on financial IQ, and if a majority of people did the BASIC level of learning finance they would be at three times richer. I have still so much to learn, but I also actively try not to stay at a novice level for very long. Challenging myself to improve quickly.

I find that will often overcomes laziness, so if you set your standards early on. Tell yourself you will not quit, then you won't. However, you need to say them out loud, affirm to yourself that it is a FACT.

Bear one thing in mind too, self-education may be a lifelong thing (be in it for the long haul!), but it does not mean it has no value in your occupation. Sometimes learning just one new skill, especially in programming, can lead to an increase in pay. Perhaps even to a new position. You could take a Micro-Masters from EdX, and get a higher position. They only cost anywhere between $600 to $1800, for about a semester or half a semester's worth of graduate school.

Self-education is the process of improving your own life via Self-Development. Here is a really helpful tool for helping you visualize your main areas of life. I created a philosophy for my company, The United Living Construct, that is called the "Four Pillars Philosophy." Essentially speaking, you have FOUR main areas of life. Each with their own needs for development, as well as their own connections to other pillars.

Mind Pillar: The palace of your mind is the utmost important piece of your daily life, because without it, you are just a hollow shell. Or are you? We may never know what causes the connections to the other pillars, but I would think that the brain holds the position of interconnector. It is the bridge. Take care of it.

Body Pillar: The very vessel or "shell" we talked about earlier. Just because of that it should be of high importance. The point to be made earlier does not make this to be any less important. In fact all pillars really have equal weight. Make sure you take the time to learn how the body works. I was thinking to myself the other day that a body is a bunch of gears, levers, and contractors; exercise keeps everything well oiled.

Spirit Pillar: Once thought to be a religious thing, a spirit doesn't have to be related to a belief system, but if you would like to then it can. What I see it as is more of the subconscious. The inner layer of the brain, underlying factors, and overall base performance. This is why affirmations are important.

Emotions Pillar: You could even think of this as emotional intelligence mixed with intrapersonal intelligence. The area of connecting with others, and connecting with yourself. Understanding your emotions is something that is really key. Taking care to understanding why you feel a certain way, IN THE MOMENT, is something of monumental self-control. I always say, "Anger is a seed of corruption, do not let it fester and grow."

How this happens to be the point of my personal brand as well is no coincidence. As I truly have been quite passionate about learning for a long time. I felt that I should talk about my experiences, that perhaps they would help someone else out there.

I took a chance on myself, and I really feel that there is nothing stopping me, but myself. My own laziness, lack of will, or seasonal changes. Thankfully this is something I can for the most part control, and I have been. For example besides work yesterday I spent the entire day learning about stocks, bonds, finance, and online business. Some things for a moment went over my head, but soon I will understand them. Not to mention I make time to read everyday. I saw a statistic that say if you read for just an hour everyday, you should have read about 60 books by the end of the year. Sounds great to me.

Modular education is exactly as it sounds, modular like building blocks. I see it as fitting together courses, but more than that you can do books/pdfs/videos/etc. The point is to learn as much as you can on a topic, then test yourself in some way. Projects are a good way to do so actually.

In my endeavor I am trying to replace a college education, or at the very least take my education and exponentially accelerate a degree.

Let me explain two points: First my goals are far different than many people, for one I want to be a Polymath. There is no school for that, not yet at least. My ideal career at least as how I explain it, is a synergy of three areas. They are "Global Sustainability Development, Innovation/Project Management, and Social Entrepreneurship". In order to this traditionally I'd have to take three degrees, that is not only just not gonna happen, but it is a waste of time. The degree often is worth to companies the paper it is printed on. Now don't get me wrong there are plenty of things you can do to make your education worthwhile, and at the moment the Self-Education route is not for everyone.

Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, let's get into the meat of it shall we? I call my endeavor a "D.I.Y. Degree," and this do it yourself mentality is far from being a one off. There has been plenty of people before me who did something similar. I just, however, want to pursue all of my education via these new methods. Most people had a very specific goal in mind, and used maybe a couple platforms (for say an MBA or CS Degree worth of knowledge). I would like a Polymath level of knowledge, so naturally I created a list of over 400 courses.

I then divided it into 10 different "semesters," which contain about 40ish courses each. I say "ish" because each have a"micro-credential" in them that may have more than one course in it. Keep in mind that pretty much all four-year degrees have around 40 courses TOTAL. Meaning that each of my semesters probably have an equivalence to a degree on their own. They all have their own "major" as well, which allows for a specific goal to be met. Semester 1 for example is business-related, and you can watch a video on it at my YouTube Channel. Link is in the video above!

Keeping the Grind Going Strong

How to keep going when things get tough!

What gets you up in the morning, that is what drives your existence. Determine what that is in order to pursuit anything in your life. In this case it is your educational pathway.

I did leave some courses scattered about, such as some Information Technology in my first semester in business. Allowing for interleaving processes throughout the degree. This not only spreads out the information over a greater period of time, but also allows me to change what I am learning so that I don't get burned out. That is usually my biggest concern, as some days I am studying/creating for 12 hours. I remember before doing this I considered a unique college (Western Governors University), that at that time needed me to know Calculus. Mind you I struggled in school math, but I tried and learned how to find a derivative in a week. That just goes to show what can happen if you put your mind to it.

I remember one day I spent 14hours learning calculus alone. I did have three one-hour breaks, however.

Create your D.I.Y. degree!

Choose your OWN Education.

Have you ever wanted to create your own major?

Well with the D.I.Y. degree you can, and even decide what areas you do want to learn. As well as take out the areas you do not. This is a very key point to make, you learn what you want to learn. Which I see there are changes being made in elementary schools, that fit along these similar mindsets because it increases their learning capacity thrice-fold.

I made a post explaining more on HOW to do all that, which is linked below. Today we will stick to the WHY should you then.

You never know what will come ahead, and the future is something that is completely unpredictable, however I do foresee a shift in education. It is inevitable, and we are already on the brink of it now. I watched the Higher Education Innovation meeting on CSPAN earlier this year, and it was amazing how these minds are thinking. How they are trying to anticipate the exponential nature of the online education space. I applaud them for the effort at least, but I think them, me, and anyone will not be able to fully be able to know.

This is why we must prepare individually in our best ways we can. Creating our own degree, allows us to attempt to do so, which is an amazing opportunity!

I plan on making weekly blog posts here, probably on education, but I also could spread into other topics!

This is the home I curate all my content onto, so if you liked what you see here, then you can check out all the other stuff such as podcasts/videos/socials.

Cheers, and I hope this blog post helped you in some ways towards pursuing your endeavors!

Dustin Miller PolyInnovator
Dustin Miller PolyInnovator
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Dustin Miller PolyInnovator

I created a Modular Degree to pursue a higher education, autodidactic, ambition. Allowing me to create a synergy in 3 fields of innovation:

Global Sustainability Development

Innovation and Project Management

Social Entrepreneurship

See all posts by Dustin Miller PolyInnovator