Last Summer, we started working on Cinch Academy (https://cinchacademy.com): an online learning aggregator.
We are in changing times. While maybe automation will get rid of work in 20 years or so, people will need to play out their careers and incomes until that comes about. Jobs that rely on antiquated technology are going (newspapers, for instance). Jobs that are easy to automate (eg. some elements of food service can be automated). Sectors where economies of scale allow for survival (eg. Amazon in lieu of department store retailers).
When I started, I wanted to build courses for teens who may want to work online (web design, digital marketing, etc.). That mandate quickly expanded and evolved to making a place where people can build a well rounded set of skills through a series of courses tied into a curated program and vetted through a certification process.
Learning is now less regimented and the nature of education is changing. Khan Academy is giving kids a better foundation than they’ve ever had previously. Learning is now self-directed. Skills building can happen in a multitude of settings. The traditional approaches to education are being questioned and rebuilt.
Our world is changing. The 19th century workers practiced their expertise and built careers. We’re into the era of the knowledge economy. There is a role for academics to shape our world through deeper understanding of their field, but there is a massive need for people trained to work in a given field. Cinch Academy focuses on online learning to work in the knowledge economy.
I want to launch a site to survey online learning. Expedia doesn’t own hotels, but they put people into hotels. Cinch Academy isn’t running its own courses, but it will work to educate people.
What We Want To Do
Cinch Academy will give visitors information:
Campuses – To build a list of online centers that organize instructors and courses. This includes the continuing education branches of traditional campuses; all the way to entrepreneurs with courses.
Programs – I want to build learning objectives and work back to a skills web of courses that will fulfill those objectives. A program will have a list of courses, electives and alternatives. I question if one course is the only course needed when Youtube videos and free lessons could deliver the same goals.
Courses – I want to build an encyclopedia of courses available online. Those offered from the online arm of traditional campuses; those offered from online venues (eg. Lynda.com); and those offered from people with knowledge to share. Do you run an online course? Please: add your course!
Certifications – I want to put certifications into each program. The tests will be available to Cinch Academy members. The tests will not be multiple choice, but long form answers. Evaluators will grade each exam. Students will be able to share not just their grades, but their answers so that employers can assess the quality of their work.
Reviews – I want users of the service to rate the courses, programs and campuses. Share reports on the best value for people’s time and money.
Career Advice – As people use these courses to gain practical skills, I want there to be an arm of Cinch Academy available to give people advice on how they move ahead to attain their goals.