Last week, Network member Geoff Mulgan, Oscar Townsley and Adam Price of Nesta released a new paper focused on the reform and modernization of higher education. Built from a talk given at Cardiff University on the topic, “The Challenge-Driven University: How Real-Life Problems Can Fuel Learning,” comprises two parts: 1) an examination and collection of examples of challenge-driven education models; and 2) the placement of the challenge-driven model into a broader historical perspective of university-level innovations.
Summary of the paper:
“This paper focuses on one important strand of change: the rise of what we call ‘challenge-driven’ university models. These models develop students by putting them up against difficult problems and challenges for which there are no established answers. Instead students draw on many disciplines to solve them; they have to work in teams; and they have to collaborate with organisations outside higher education.
These models aren’t a replacement for the classic core of university education - mastering a discipline. But they provide an important complement to this core, and they may be better suited to preparing young people for the needs of the world. They also re-emphasise one of the founding principles of some ancient universities: a focus on questions rather than answers as the key to deep learning.”