School is tests and credits. Learning is ‘getting it.’

Seth Godin is one of my favorite thinkers. I’ve learned a ton from him. Here are a couple of quotes from his post today on education.

School was the big thing for a long time. School is tests and credits and notetaking and meeting standards. Learning, on the other hand, is ‘getting it’. It’s the conceptual breakthrough that permits the student to understand it then move on to something else. Learning doesn’t care about workbooks or long checklists.

For a while, smart people thought that school was organized to encourage learning. For a long time, though, people in the know have realized that they are fundamentally different activities.


If you think the fallout in the newspaper business was dramatic, wait until you see what happens to education.

Happy reading!

5 Responses to “School is tests and credits. Learning is ‘getting it.’”

  1. It looks as if we are living in interesting times.
    ( )

    It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. There probably will have to be some formal, bricks and mortar schools. After all, would you trust your surgery to a Doctor that had an all internet education?

    This online aspect has at least two colleges in my area advertising for web developers. It also explains some of the bill boards I saw over the weekend… colleges promoting their online programs and personalized education.

    Of course, that may be just the marketing department. The faculty will be sure and drag their feet enough so these changes will not happen in our lifetimes!

  2. I think the biggest thing that has come out of the effect the internet has had on the news business is how it has exposed bias in the media. This revelation has called into question the trustworthiness of all sources and made all news articles suspect. The equivalent in education will most likely be centered around the perceived purpose of schooling and how that perception drives decisions about the education of our children. It will be interesting to see what happens to these institutions when we all see the man behind the curtain pulling the strings.

  3. I’m on board with much of what this says and implies. However, I worry that it falls into the trap of glib oversimplification. It is easy to say this, but clearly school has always been involved in more than testing and credits, etc.
    So I see this as more of a motivator toward analysis than a complete capturing of a reality.

  4. The first pull quote is the same one I used in my reaction to Godin’s post: (great minds… and all that :-). However, I skipped using the second one comparing education to the newspaper business because I have great doubt about what he implies with the statement.

    Certainly both institutions are under great pressure to alter their business practices. However, I think newspapers will change much faster and more dramatically than schools. Their audience can easily vote with their wallets and the segment that prefers having their information delivered on dead trees the day after it was relevant is declining quickly.

    Public education, on the other hand, has a societal cushion surrounding it that allows it to beat back the real world more easily. A large chunk of that cushion comes from the current federal administration (as it did from the previous one). Obama and Duncan talk about the status quo not being acceptable and then propose changes that do little more than assure that the status quo will remain firmly cemented in place.


  1. Reflection Week 10: Dangerously Irrelevant: School is tests and credits. Learning is ‘getting it’ - October 29, 2013

    […] Dangerously Irrelevant is a blog that seems to contain a variety of things…reflections, posts from parents, posts abut the life of a teacher, and links to interesting things. Here’s a little about the blog and it’s author. […]

Leave a Reply