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A new(ish) model for blended and applied learning (or is this an institutionalised form of apprenticeship?)

These guys and several other teams are doing some great work

25 years ago I was at the School of Communication Arts under John Gillard, an inspired educator with an original approach – get the ‘industry’ to do its bit by providing cash, thought, care, time and opportunity. My own tutors read like a who’s who of advertising and the visits to the school included industry leaders from Saatchis and Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

School of Communication Arts 2.0 works

From a learning point of view what works?

  • Attracting the best
  • They pay (it is expensive, though there are scholarships)
  • ‘Industry’ has a responsibility to make it work (and the opportunity to have first dibs at the students)
  • Ideas, on brief, well thought through, imaginative and implicitly likely to add considerable worth to a product or service.
  • Motivated students and motivated ‘mentors’ doing it for free.
  • A form of shadowing and with industry briefs and placements a form of apprenticeship too.
  • Embraces the technology, using tools to ‘sell’ ideas and to communicate with supporters
  • Simple and low cost (modest)
  • FREE of a qualification (though one is now offered). i.e. the emphasis has to be on the output, on developing the teams as creative thinkers, on making them valuable contributors to a commercial enterprise for what they can do rather than the ‘qualification’. Unlike a driving licence, a diploma in the creative arts does not mean you can ‘drive’.

Does this threaten tutors in distance learning?

What does it suggest?

Better to have those in the industry providing guidance and motivation than those with a teaching qualification or academic research pedigree and bias.

Where else does this apply?

Film & Television production, engineering, law, medicine, hotel and catering, sports coaching, fine art:

  • Taught by your heroes.
  • Use flexibility of employment and ease of communication to keep in touch.
  • Have some basic platforms and at the hub a dean with commitment and a sense of purpose.
  • Bricks and mortar?

A research basis as in tertiary education? I think not.


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