Learning to Flip: From Khan's Classrooms to Brainshark's Meeting Rooms

April 04, 2012 | Wahl Allison
Learning to Flip: From Khan's Classrooms to Brainshark's Meeting Rooms

There is no doubt that technology has been the primary driver of communication, especially since the development of the Internet. So why has education, one of the bases for communication, remained static? Even though the ideas and desire had been stewing over new approaches to education, the resources were never quite able to keep up, and the outdated teacher-classroom-homework model prevailed.

Change may finally be coming.

In the span of just a few months, Sal Khan has revived an Educational Revolution through his launch of the Khan Academy, turning phrases like “flipping the classroom” and resources such as “on-demand video” from nice concepts into mainstream buzz words. However, these ideas alone are not necessarily a revolution in and of themselves. It is the technological era which we live in, that has enabled us to apply the ideas in revolutionary ways.

With over 130 million views on the Khan site and over 400 million problems completed, the revolution is most definitely here and ready to impact all of our lives.

It is even extending beyond Khan’s classrooms. It’s not just education that is being flipped into an on-demand experience –stories have emerged about doctors flipping their offices to make for more transparent medical practices. And, no stranger to the on-demand video scene, Brainshark has been flipping the meeting room for over a decade, making corporate communications more accessible than ever.

Sound familiar, Brainshark users?

Although Khan’s target demographic is vastly different from that of Brainshark, there are a lot of parallels between their respective approaches to communication and education. Khan’s approach is a lot more than just reversing when and how learning occurs; it is about developing a stronger sense of agency in the individual student, empowering the student to learn at his or her own pace and in his or her own way. Because Khan provides the resources to enable a self-directed, on-demand approach (both for first lessons and later revisiting), students can spend more time in the classroom interacting with and teaching each other, engaging the material on deeper levels, and receiving personalized attention.

Similarly, Brainshark takes materials that would have previously been presented in a mundane, unilateral fashion, and lets users distribute and consume them in more tailored ways. By engaging content on their own time and in their own ways, people not only understand the message better, but they can also save precious (and limited) meeting time for the brainstorming and collaboration that makes a business truly successful. What’s truly revolutionary is not the technology but how person-to-person communications are improved by the sheer restructuring of when, how, and why content is consumed.

Mobile learning

This is only enhanced by the ways that both Khan and Brainshark are reaching the increasingly mobile population. The Khan Academy app has debuted in the App Store, claiming impressive rankings as high as #2 overall and #1 in education, while Brainshark and SlideShark apps are continuing to make a splash among business professionals and the presentation community at large. By tapping the mobile sphere, there are fewer limits to accessing the information, and more opportunities to enrich, engage, and educate.

There is no doubt that we are living in a very exciting time. The way we learn, communicate, and interact is constantly being shaped by technology. But while tools like Brainshark and Khan Academy certainly harness and provide information in important ways, the true power lies in the way that the interpersonal dynamic has changed.

Share your thoughts: does Brainshark show as much potential for the corporate world as Khan has for K-12? Will this revolution stick? How else will the impact of educational restructuring manifest itself, and what other changes do you think will emerge?

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