Minimum Viable Education

by Jared Meyers on 14 Mar 2021

Generally, more information helps people make better decisions. If that's the case, it makes sense for people to gather as much information as possible.

However, acquiring and processing information takes time. Time is a fundamental resource and currency. As a result, time spent acquiring or processing information that doesn't impact the person is wasteful, similar to dumping clean water into the ocean. In the water case, it's easy to see the waste. In the information case, we often don't know what information we will or won't need in the future. Measuring the added value from the learning process also complicates matters.

It appears that we're crowding out spontaneous, real-time learning that comes from living life for structured, pre-emptive lectures that go too deep without connecting the high-level dots. This might make sense in higher level and specialized education, once someone has an interest in learning more in a particular direction. For children, curiosity, critical thinking skills, and a basic amount of information are vital.

Right now, it seems like we use schools to bombard people with information in the hopes that some of it sticks. What if we change that up? Instead of framing it as "let's throw this at the wall and see what sticks," and increasing the amount that sticks by throwing more at the wall, can we frame that as "what's the minimum amount of information we need to stick," and optimize for stickiness?

This post is part of the Daily Blogging Challenge. The theme for this article was "Waste." Thanks to Chris Hannah for sharing the challenge and Jeff Perry for organizing it!