Customizing your life and why higher education better get this right

Post image for Customizing your life and why higher education better get this right

Mass customization. Those 2 words can explain what has happened in this country over the past several years. From consumer products, to what we expect on the internet, to just about everything…. including education… mass customization is not just what people want, it is what they expect.

I don’t want just plain vodka. I want peach flavored. And while I am at it, I’ll take some sweet tea vodka too (which is great by the way). I don’t want just a cellphone. I want to be able to customize the outside of it with different colored skins, and I also want to be able to customize the background of the home screen and the layout of the icons and stuff. And just like everything else, I want to be able to customize my education too.

I work in higher education. And we better get this right, or we are doomed.

This is one of the main drivers of online education. It isn’t the only one, but it is part of the explanation. People don’t want to be tied down. They want to consume what they want, where they want, when they want on their own schedule. Thus, online education is booming. Sure, there will always be a place for the ‘traditional’ college campus experience, but even in that traditional experience students want that customized experience… let me learn what I want, where I want, when I want. Give me options. Give me choices. Make me feel special.

I mean, it is our own fault really. Ever since these kids were born we have catered to them. Pampered them. Given them whatever they want. Made their choices for them. Let our marriage relationships fall apart in deference to the kids. Wrapped them from head to toe in all these protective devices in the car, in the house, in the playground… because they are the most important thing, right? Right. I remember rolling around in the back of the family station wagon at 80 mph, but I digress.

So here we are. We have spoiled them, so now we deal with the consequences. So we better find a way to customize their collegiate experience and educational environment or they will go elsewhere. Do I like it that it has come to this? Kinda, but then again, not so much. I like customizing my Facebook experience to fit ‘me’. I like having 100 different flavors of vodka. But how much is too much?? Geesh.

{ 1 comment }

Trudy August 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Steve – awesome article. So true. Sometimes I feel like we have one chance and one time to get this right or we will be left behind, and the time is … uh NOW

Previous post:

Next post: