The future of learning is open

This post is also available on LinkedIn here.

Last week, I attended the Future of Learning Conference 2019 organized by Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. It is an annual event to review, provoke and align to evolve a collective vision of what the future of learning needs to be. For me, this was also an opportunity to thank a lot of people especially from NPTEL, edX, IITBombayX, IIMBx and SWAYAM who have been and are at the forefront as India defines a promising future of learning. In this post, I have highlighted my 3 key takeaways and how these align to my personal beliefs.

Why do we have admissions?

This was the first question asked by the keynote speaker, Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor and CEO of edX. Access to quality education is a right, he reiterated.

I think, education is the only industry today perhaps, which selects its customers and this has implications on the nature of competition and in turn, quality of services offered, operational efficiency and value creation. I have discussed how educational technology can help us make this industry customer centric again in a separate post here.

When do we apply what we learn?

Das Narayandas, Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business Publishing mentioned that education industry has been predominantly using a far transfer model, where students apply what was learnt in a degree program at different stages of their career. He highlighted that it is now possible to deliver a near transfer model where lifelong learners would mostly learn what they need to apply on demand.

I believe, unbundling of degree programs that started with micro-credentials would continue at a rapid pace. As focus shifts to lifelong learning, stacked credentials would help learners have shorter learn and apply cycles. On pricing front though, bundled pricing would continue to dominate, till trust deficit associated with digital learning is tackled, which I have addressed in a separate post here.

How do we create transcripts that support lifelong learning?

Tom Robinson, CEO of AACSB International highlighted that how we manage transcripts would have to change to support lifelong learning. What happens to your corporate learning transcripts when you leave an organization, he asked. He also mentioned that though LinkedIn does have skill records, it is not verified.

I believe that open access to quality education shall make this world a better place to live. I’m grateful that these key highlights from the conference indicate that this is where we all are heading. Access to educational resources opened by the best in the world for last 11 years has made me who am I today and would continue to define me in future. I also had the privilege of being associated with Nanyang Technological University, which opened the doors of professional opportunities for me. Not every learner is privileged and that is why the future of learning is open.

Where the mind is full of fear

Where the mind is full of fear and the head’s never held high
Where knowledge is not free
Where the world has been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the worst of the lies
Where tired lazy even fails to stretch its arms
Where the clear stream of reason fails to find its way
Out of the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is misled by pseudo-thee
Into ever-widening divide
From that hell of a prison, my Child, set my country free.

This is with highest respect to Rabindranath Tagore’s vision for India, but the reality today is completely opposite. And our motherland is asking her children to set her free from this prison.

It’s high time, that we paid attention to her tears.
Let’s rise beyond the ordinary to realize Rabindranath Tagore’s vision for India.

Mind is like an inductor

Mind is like an inductor, it resists a sudden change. Later slowly it shifts to a state where the same change appears to be regular, as if there was no resistance.

What is an inductor?
An inductor is simply a device which, when connected in an electrical circuit, resists the change in current (flow of electrons) through it, just like our mind.

How an inductor works?
This video made by MAKE magazine represents a simple and practical view of an inductor. Click on the question above, to read more about it from

For detailed understanding, watch MIT OCW video below,
which is a part of Electricity and Magnetism course at MIT, USA.

Now, let’s go back to the fact that our mind resists a sudden change.
See this article from Harvard Business Review.

Inspiring actions, one quote at a time

What you can’t solve today is no excuse to not solve what you can.

Do what is right, consequences are no excuse.

Experience time, build memories, enable replay.

Nothing is original, everything is inspired.

Get rid of the fear first only then shall you progress.

How well you define what is good enough determines how fast and confident you move.

Time first, people second, and money last.

Only transparency can decentralize trust.

This is never it till it is.

What’s not fair isn’t an opportunity.

A place to dump questions you’re not supposed to ask does not exist, they’ll stay with you until asked, but you can always bury them unimportant.

Not all books can be read as reference books, some require you to finish a chapter before you read the next.

Most wait for commands, but few choose to take initiative and lead instead.

Never risk success to avoid failure.

The only way to make your luck irrelevant is to never stop trying.

What takes you from 0 to 1 today shall take you from 99 to 100 someday.

Make time to keep people who care informed, not because they would stop otherwise, but to value that they do.

Be patient enough to seek success and not assume failure.

When commitment to act and learn becomes the measure of success, the fear of failure fades away to make way for the courage to take risks.
Extraordinary is only human.
Small things you do and small things you observe matter most, rest is just about getting better.

Confidence is a by-product of efforts.

Experiences are only lenses, not eyes.

To only move on and never run away takes courage.

Always keep ego buried, but never let respect be optional.

Minimize the turnaround time between failures, it costs the most.

Potential has no value until it delivers.

Where emotions might get in the way, let intelligence take over.

Listen, clarify and then say yes, pace is no reward, if you don’t understand the ask.

Honesty is no crime, don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.

To focus is to first suspend.

Being ignorant is not being busy.

Listen to the only problem you have picked to solve first.

Limit simplicity and speed before things break.

Consistently take initiative and listen, only then would you end up leading.

Let little joys handle little pains while you focus on little tries.

Crossing all hurdles it shall arrive – a solution to this problem.

To do this tomorrow, what is that needs to be done today.

Only consistent failure to give up leads to success.

Walk away from idle potential.

When to keep aside the questions unanswered and when to persist is a choice that defines you.

To get things done, get rid of the excuses first.

Initiative empowers. Small steps deliver.

Realize that the world will try to fit you in, but you can also fit the world to you otherwise.

Creativity spills over, use it that way.

When you’re right, no one can turn you wrong.
There may never be time for what you are deciding to put on hold right now.

A way to do the right thing emerges, all you need to do is to look hard enough.

First understand the game, only then you can play it well.

Speaking without listening first is an own goal.

Where the reflection ends, a journey begins.

If you’re machine efficient at something, don’t let others turn you human.

Almost always lack of either intent, effort or courage gets in the way of words translating into action.

Never create expectations you don’t intend to meet.

Time is precious, don’t consume it until you have a reason to do so.

An opportunity will not wait for people to assemble, neither should you.

When failing seems to have become the norm, expect success till you fail again.

Doing what needs to done is often a journey of pain and meaning.

Priorities make time.

Never let reciprocity be a filter to your kindness.

Not everything that is, needs to be said.

Abstractions bring growth whereas roots make it sustainable.

Time flies, but memories hover.

Plans don’t always work and then you must plan again.

‘Have been’ and ‘should be’ are not the same.

‘I did’ is always easier to handle than ‘I should have’ and you may even get a bonus.

Not giving up every single time you feel like is what takes you from a problem to the solution.

Always do enough and failures would bring wisdom, not regret.

There’s only one thing that can stop you, your inertia, literally.

A great idea, not implemented, is a responsibility.

There’s no other way, but courage, hard work and patience.

How you approach education is where it will take you!

Hear my dreams as I speak, see them realized in my eyes!

Do forgive, never forget.

Mistakes will happen, irrespective of how careful you are, it’s the courage to accept them and willingness to correct, is what matters.

Who am I does not matter, what I intend to do, does!

One of the shortest time spans of your life may trigger one of the biggest changes to the way you approach life. And may leave you in a confused state. These would be the times, when you would want to think the most to assimilate these sudden changes.

The ones, who lead the way today, are the ones, who learnt from their mistakes, yesterday.

Distortion of history plays a major role in retention of power.

Be courageous enough to go beyond ordinary, when you know deep down, that you are not meant to be other way round.

Problems can remain unresolved only till the time, we insist, that they do not exist.

Passion + patience + persistence = dreams realized.

Sustain the hitting of the waves, then you will see things clearly.

There would be times, when you do some senseless things in a sequence and at the end they all make sense somehow.

At the end, it’s always about the choices and not about the circumstances.

Be open to redefine your values, always, whenever you arrive at a reason to do so, analytically, but never do it, just because, others do not seem to be on the same page.

The freedom of speech does not mean the license to irresponsibly influence a larger mass, which does not even have right to quality education.

The most difficult questions are the ones, which never get answered.

An individual is defined by the society
and the society is defined by the individuals, it defined.
It’s a closed loop process
and what we need is a catalyst called education!

Perception is relative and may not always be the reality.
And the only way we can see reality is through perception.
So do not allow your perception to be static.
Let it evolve with time continuously and they will surely match.

Sometimes, suddenly everything starts going wrong for you, just everything and that’s the time, when you learn the most.

Mind is like an inductor , it resists a sudden change.

Sometimes, it is better to accept facts rather than being optimistic.

Coexistence is sometimes impossible and the right choice at the right time is what matters the most.

With your dreams clear in your mind,
and with the passion to see them realized,
the only thing, that you need,
is to motivate yourself, to be unstoppable.

The probability, of occurrence of unwanted events, peaks to the maximum when you want it to be the lowest, but remember, you are still the sole controller of your actions to minimize their impact.

It’s always about standing up again, no matter, how many times you fall down.

Always remember, people do forget, what you want them to remember.
Sometimes, you can keep reminding, but sometimes, you just have to forget as well.

The first step in learning is to make a mistake.
And the second, but important step is to accept it.

Unfortunately, most of the times, absence leads to appreciation and not presence.

Learn, out of everything that happens around you.
Think, before everything you do.
Dream, for anything that did not exist before.
Act, for everything that you want to realize.
And it will happen for sure.

Sometimes, you have to take a path, that you would have never wished to take, just because there’s no other option that leads to the destination. What matters is the time taken for this self-realization that there’s actually no other option available, be quick, the clock is ticking.

Not every question can be of multiple choice type. Be aware of the type of the question before you answer it.

Mistakes are no harm, but if you are not willing to correct them, then that’s the problem.

Time is running out for each and everyone here, but it’s choice of where to invest it in, that makes all the difference.

Sometimes, it’s better to let things go with the flow, rather trying to direct them.

Nothing’s impossible, but it’s the time that matters the most.

Never limit your dreams due to today’s reality, as dreams are the ones which extend the limits of reality everyday.

A person’s true nature is revealed by how they treat those they have no reason to be nice to.

Life’s a journey which begins in your mind, but ends in the minds of people you met.

Keep thinking, share your thoughts with others, that’s the way to stay alive forever, as our thoughts are so powerful, that they can make us immortal, in the minds of people, we shared them with.

Sometimes you are bound to hope for something to happen, though you have a strong feeling that it’s not going to, and that’s what makes it special.

You don’t meet good people often, hence when you do so, make sure you remain connected.

The most beautiful person in the world is the one who loves you the most.

Never give something better to people, than they deserve or need, otherwise expect nothing better than disappointment.

Sometimes it’s better to remain silent, even if you have something to say.

Time is the most wonderful cure-all medicine. It’s always available to both the rich and the poor, but the side-effects are always there, so consume it well.

It’s strange, but reality. Human behavior is so confusing, we tend to ignore the people who consider us important and keep paying attention to those who don’t.

Sometimes, it’s really good to wait for the best, but when you actually have it, make sure that you recognize it; don’t just keep waiting.

Mistakes are bound to happen, but ‘being quick to recognize them, and making sure that you never repeat them again’ is something that makes you a better person.

Some things are hard to remember, but some are even harder to forget.

Expecting yourself to be perfect to analyze your mistake, is again a mistake.

Some mistakes are such that you will always want to correct them, though you know you can’t.

It’s always up to us, whether we want to keep asking ’ why? ‘ and stay away or just say, ’ why not? ‘ and get involved.

The biggest conflict in the world is when your brain and your mind fight! And the more you try to resolve it, the more complex it gets.

When you stand for what you believe in, your dreams start turning into realities.

Great ideas are useless, if we don’t have the courage to implement them.

You see things and you say ’ why? ‘, but I dream things that never were, and I say ’ why not? ‘.

Never run behind someone who does not love you, but more importantly, never make someone who loves you, run behind you.

Sometimes you feel like you have everything, but the very next moment you realize that there’s still something missing and that’s what keeps you alive.

Mistakes are just the receipt of the fact that you are alive, so never be afraid of them.

It’s not that good to be too good.

Basically life is tough.
It’s people who you listen to make it easy.