True innovation comes out of scarcity. From scarcity also comes simplicity, which only can be produced by human creativity often without need of other huge resources. As a matter of fact enormous resources sometimes can be an obstacle to true innovation since its basic driving-force is as mentioned above the opposite: Scarcity. In a school environment limited resources is very common below we find out how to innovate from these prerequisites.
Learning solutions out of scarcity
In the beginning, when the PC-development started in the 1990s, and eLearning went from distribution on tapes to run on the computer, the spirit of the development was to do much with more. For this a huge budget for programmers and other forms of technical consultants was needed to create these exclusive often flash-based productions. Unfortunately, the learner-perspective related to user-friendliness and even more pedagogy was not included. This was the programmers’ feast and the customers’ headache, and the added learning-value was all too often nowhere to be found.
From this perspective and spirit the eLearning world and formal education would have stayed apart if it had been allowed to continue, but what belongs together grows together. With low-cost author-tools and eLearning-content as well as social media pedagogues and other content experts today can do wonders with very little computer skills. From this point of view a large part of the budget should be placed on competence development in order to exclude non-affordable eLearning-systems and -productions.
Frugal innovation in education
According to Navi Radjou in his very interesting TedTalk that was included in the first part of this story, frugal innovation is founded on the following three principles:
Firstly: Keep it simple. Don’t create solutions to impress customers or students
In a school environment an open source LMS with a simple authoring tool, skills to produce interactive content and multimedia is enough to simplify a teacher’s work and improve learning. Since the result will be less administration, less need for feedback on specific exercises and the teacher can focus on dialogue and putting the subject into perspective as well as a better learning environment in general.
Secondly: Do not reinvent the wheel
Just because you can, does not mean you have to. There is many professional pedagogically developed eLearning content and tools that both simplify, save time and improve the teaching- and learning environment. You should create out of scarcity.
Thirdly: Think and act horizontally
Use it with your students, share with your colleagues, test your application on the market and then sell it, the web is a wonderful thing you often do not need more than getting your project out there to see if it also work commercially.
Written by LarsGöran Boström©