Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Ultimate Hack: Re-coding Textbooks and Other Learning Content (Introduction)

Posted on by Rob Reynolds


This is a book about making things. More precisely, it is a book about making things better. In this case, the “things” I want to improve are textbooks and other types of learning content.

I want to re-envision these things because they have outlived their purpose and because their design is based on constructs that are no longer relevant to education or the learning process.

Over the course of this book, I will introduce an entirely new type of coding for learning content, one that can help us revolutionize the learning content industry and, at the same time, greatly reduce the cost of learning materials for students. And, because this is a book about doing as much as it is about thinking, I will actually create a complete example of this new kind of “textbook” over the course of our journey together.

Indeed, this is a book about hacking the code of learning content and re-engineering it into a form that will work for the future. It is about imagining learning content differently. About creating it faster and less completely. Constructing it fluidly and with constant room for change and improvement.

This approach, with an emphasis on granularity rapid iterations, and constant feedback, will strike many as counterintuitive, and is purposely aligned with the hacker culture that has become prevalent in many software companies and most technology startups. For further context, let’s take a look at that culture and begin thinking about how it might apply to learning content.


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