Self-directed education could lead to self-directed workforce

I think that the most profound part of the Dan Pink videos for me was the mention of the disconnect between what science offers and what business actually does.

Pink says, “there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.” He mentions that what we thought worked (if-then rewards) only works in certain circumstances and often destroy creativity. There is a misconception in business that higher incentive automatically equals higher productivity and that a system of rewards and punishments do not lead to high performance.

This makes me think about the action of effectively communicating science to lay audiences. Is it that the science is not clear enough for the businesses to understand and take action or is it that the science doesn’t fit the business models or is too expensive to implement?

The same concept applies to grading. Good performance relies on intrinsic motivation. I think that if grades were not used in education in the similar carrot on a stick fashion, perhaps the desire to do things for self will travel to the workforce once students graduate.

2 Replies to “Self-directed education could lead to self-directed workforce”

  1. Thanks for the post! I really appreciated you bringing up this idea of being self-directed. I know in engineering, employers want individuals who are self-directed and can figure out things when needed and continue learning and improving. And I think it would be great if we could help students be more self-directed. Do you have thoughts on how to help students develop that?

  2. Pink’s quote (about a mismatch) reminds me of the mismatch between higher education and industry. Many students that are graduating do not have the skills required to succeed in the workforce (King, 2015). “Industry and academic leaders revealed that the very skills needed for workforce success are the same skills graduating students lack — such as analysis and problem solving, collaboration and teamwork, business-context communication, and flexibility, agility, and adaptability. Underscoring this point, 71% of corporate recruiters indicated that finding applicants with sufficient practical experience is their greatest challenge when recruiting from higher education institutions” (King, 2015). This mismatch can be addressed by higher education collaborating with industry (King, 2015). “In fact, 57% of industry and academic leaders agree that collaboration is necessary to effectively deliver higher education to students, while 56% believe collaboration is necessary during curriculum development” (King, 2015).

    King, M.D. (2015, July 17). Why Higher Ed and Business Need to Work Together. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

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