education | August 07, 2013

Bill Gates On How Salman Khan's Online Academy Is The Future Of Education

Bill Gates has always been an advocate of Salman Khan's tech-savvy approach to learning. Recently, the Microsoft co-founder gave a talk about the future of education—and why The Khan Academy will be more relevant in the classroom than ever before. That's because Gates sees the traditional big-lecture format falling by the wayside. Thanks to remote learning technologies—like Khan's online classroom, where videos can be accessed anywhere in the world for free—we have entered into what he calls "a golden era.” With unprecedented access to information, students can now access first-rate content on a myriad of different topics outside of the classroom. The Khan Academy has even updated their mobile app to allow users to download videos to their phone and watch them offline, anytime.

Gates compares the changes in education to the music industry: Students listening to pre-recorded content on their own time and then working through it later in a smaller group. They don't rely on their professor to share the information with them, but rather, use that time in the classroom to cement and expand upon what they've already learned. That's not to say that the role of the professor is going to be eliminated. Nor does it suggest that there isn't a high-bar in place for remote content. "Just putting a camera in front of someone who has a captive audience [isn’t enough]," Gates says. With 4.2 million unique students per month, it's clear that The Khan Academy has mastered the art of providing quality content.

The Academy has also shown that social media can be a useful learning tool. Gates praises Khan's use of social media as a means for giving students outside input on their performance. It takes the learning process beyond a teacher-student relationship by fostering discussions about course material with parents and peers. This gives the student an avenue for digging deeper into the material being studied, and, gives them extra support when they may need more time to understand a topic. Gates also predicts the college/university diploma will become uncoupled from post-secondary institutions, something that Khan discussed in a Charlie Rose interview earlier this year. Khan hopes that providing access to high-quality content will create a new era of skills recognition and democratize the labor market for everyone.

Salman Khan is the author of The One World School House and the founder of The Khan Academy. In his book and his highly requested keynote speeches, he shares his vision on the future of education. He encourages teachers and policy makers alike to "flip the classroom." If you are interested in how Khan is revolutionzing the learning process, book him as a speaker by contacting The Lavin Agency.

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