Now, notwithstanding that what every higher education administrator is looking to hear is “Let’s ask some corporate business guy to tell us what he thinks about our field in which he has no expertise”. And notwithstanding also the views expressed in the Wikipedia article about Clay’s theory (because we’re on a first name basis) about the oversimplification of what disruptive innovation really is, let’s see what he has to say about it himself.
Watch this seven minute video explanation of Disruptive Innovation by Clay Christensen himself.
Hungry for some information about how this theory applies to higher education? I thought so!
Distance Learning was historically a disruptive innovation. But it’s not the only one. Now, new learning models that are simply technology-leveraged are not only becoming more common, they are becoming the expectations of our students, who increasingly are our customers. The technology is to the point where it is enabling more than it is a barrier. The rise of smartphones has been critical in this development – you don’t even have a computer to take a fully online class successfully. A tablet, a large smartphone, a phablet will do.
Now, let’s watch Clay Christensen explain the overall theory himself.
A Brief and Definitely Cringe-Worthy Limerick for Illustration:
There once was a learner from Memphis
Who wanted to learn by distance
She shopped quite around
She needed no on-ground
And the local state college lost out on her enrollment because she enrolled in another state institution in the far corner of the state, but it didn’t matter because, after all, she was an online student, and as a working parent of three at 40 (our demographical shift in higher ed that is a coming), she chose the best option for her.
The sophistication of technology has expanded how it can be used for education. The smart colleges exploit that. The savvy colleges observe and go along – though slower. The suspicious colleges in general wait too long.