Monday, October 1, 2012

The Pain Test

Thinking about entrepreneurship I came to realize how the illiterate entrepreneurs applied some basics with some good sense and informal knowledge. I was thinking about the poor peasants coming from the countryside of Haiti in the capital Port-au-Prince. Many of them satisfy their living needs by becoming entrepreneurs. I was particularly attracted by the street vendor who does marketing very well. A peanuts street vendor would go around in different streets yelling "roasted peanuts, roasted peanuts, .." to market the peanuts sold in a little glass cup. During the 70's a cup of peanuts costed one penny. Everyday the street vendor makes enough money to live and raised her children. At another level there are many entrepreneurs in different countries of the world and from various socio-economic backgrounds who are successful without knowing anything in the formal knowledge of entrepreneurship. What I would like to stress here is that some research needs to be done in the informal sector whether in entrepreneurship or other human activity in order to enrich knowledge and not consider or build it only on the formalized side. Very often those who know a lot are teachers, professors and researchers but who never apply their knowledge in real life while others who don't have this formal knowledge become successful in their human endeavor. I would like to stress also the fact that people become succesful in life because some other factors independent of the knowledge they possess are favorable to them. The world educational system is in great part responsible of the social and economic crisis by teaching dogmatic knowledge meaning that if you learn this and do it you are going to be successful while in practice it is a different story where you have to acquire other skills and other types of knowledge. People some times get discouraged by the complex formalized way of how things are done. You have to write a proposal in order to get funding for your business. You have to know how to write it or pay someone to do it for you if you don't know how to do it. You also have to know the guidelines of the funder, In business you have to do market research and write a business plan. I am not saying that these things are not important but they have to be done in simple ways. People approached should be willing to help. Funders shouldn't see their own interests but should be willing also to help and suport a good idea. It is important for them to help because without startup ideas they couldn't get returns for their money. That's the same thing for organizations that fund non-profit organizations. I think it is interesting to do these remarks before doing the assignment which consists in responding some questions about the problem that one needs to solve and doing a mini survey which is in fact a market research. I will attempt to respond to the questions in this post and do the survey in another post.

Statement of the Problem and Identification of assumptions

The problem is that many students, professionals and self learners throughout the world who want to learn by themselves using the internet can't have access for different reasons to high quality educational resources structured in a way to enable them to learn effectively by themselves and  that allow them to be successful in their studies, their profession and their personal enrichment.

1. What causes the problem?

The primary and secondary school doesn't encourage self-learning. The educational system at these levels doesn't make available courses taught and other educational resources for students to access in order to solve their educational deficiencies and enrich their knowledge. In developing countries students at these levels lack high quality teaching materials. At the professional and university level professionals and students don't have the financial means to attend to expensive university courses. In other countries it is even more difficult.

2. What are the people with the problem currently doing or willing to do to solve the problem?

Many people are researching ways to effectively learn by themselves but the need remains to have platforms bearing structured ways of learning by oneself.

3. What are all the current solutions to the problem?

They are many platforms that offer free open courses and educational resources to solve the problem.

4. Why aren't the solutions good enough?

Many sites put video courses for anyone to access. They don't put full courses online. Some platforms offer full free courses but they aren't fully open because people have to subscribe to these courses in order to attend to them. These materials are not structured in a way that allows people to learn effectively by themselves without the help of a teacher or professor.

5. How long has it been a problem?

This has been a problem for a long time.

6. How easily could something happen to make the problem go away?

A platform has to be designed in a way that allow learners to learn anything effectively by themselves asynchronously.  

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