Posted January 6, 2017on:
The two tweets I embed below are related.
My son spotted this fake LEGO set at a store last month. Buyers know it is fake, but because it looks like the real thing and is cheaper, they might purchase it anyway.
My second tweet was a brief statement about how some vendors have jumped on the bandwagon of Skills Future courses.
Relying on strategies of old, they dangled lucky draws and gifts, and made claims like being “free” or “paid for by the government”. The incentive to learn lifewide and lifelong seemed to focus on the extrinsic of rewards, cheap, or free.
How are the two examples related? Faking it is not the same as making it.
There is a quality to authentic LEGO that copiers find hard to replicate. One is something that LEGO calls clutch power. The look and feel might also not look and feel right.
By the newspaper report alone, some of the companies offering courses did not seem to focus on the relevance and quality of their Skills Future courses. They opted instead on marketing speak and gimmicks.
In both cases, the truth behind the facade might be revealed with a few key questions:
- What is the reputation of the brand?
- Where is the evidence of quality or timeliness?
- How credible is the evidence of their work?
In the case of those that offer (or pretend) to teach:
- What are their pedagogical models?
- What rigorous research are their approaches based on?
- How current are their offerings and approaches?
- How transparent are their processes?
If these questions seem to require expertise outside your comfort zone or domain of knowledge, then simply listen to how they sell their ideas, ask probing questions, and listen some more.
Do they sound like they have done their homework and legwork? Was their homework something they heard at a conference or a single blog post from an expert far away? Do they seek to clarify or confuse? Do they sound like marketers or educators?
No single agency should be accountable to those that sell. We are all watchdogs now.