Many have worried about the consequences of automation in the past few years, and rightly so: according to Bain & Company, it might soon leave 2.5 million workers and more per year without a job. But not enough people worry about the jobs remaining, many of them offering an “opportunity for well-paid and fulfilling careers.” How is that a problem? Well, the real issue lies in our education system, which fails to prepare learners for this new labour market. In fact, businesses, non-profits, and governments alike may soon be desperately looking for talent to suit their needs. In our school system, “there is a mismatch between the skills and experiences required to succeed in these good jobs and the capabilities we are developing in our students.”
At META Learning, we know that the obsessive pursuit of elite college education, at the expense of real-life learning and career experiences, is failing too many of our learners. Like many alternative education models, we value career-connected learning and personalized learning. Amongst other unique educational programmes, we focus on building an ecosystem for learning through the META society, which includes our learners, parents, mentors & over 40,000 working professionals. In any case, they each contribute to helping META learners discover the world, grow professionally, and lead meaningful lives of their own choosing.
Whether they be local stakeholders, industry experts, religious and community leaders, diplomats, engineers, or parents and family, the members of the META society all contribute to a richer, more diverse education for our students. They do so in a variety of ways, depending on their skill set and availability. For instance, they might personally mentor a few of our students, offer informational interviews, give guest lectures, or join guest panels to evaluate our students’ project outcomes. They could also open up their workplace to provide immersion opportunities to our students. Regardless of the medium, META students work alongside a variety of educators to build lifelong connections and turn living into learning. They benefit not only from developing a global network but also from entering a league of their own, in being able to cultivate the interests they choose based on first-hand experiences, rather than dreaming up futures they’re not sure of.
The META Society can be accessed everywhere, every day of the year. In our local learning terms, when students take part in online modules at home, they reach out to nearby stakeholders to get a better understanding of the issues in their home community. Then, during our global learning experiences, META learners continue meeting with professionals and experts of all kinds to better understand the community they’re residing in. As a result, META Learners understand the value of a rich and diverse network, and they actively seek out deep connections to collaborate on all sorts of personal projects.
Let’s take a better look at the three ways in which the META society continues to grow. How do talented, skilled individuals from all over the world take part? What do their connections with META learners look like?
Our learners’ families play a key role in the META society. From uncles to moms to cousins and siblings, we want to make sure META families have their own special place in our learning ecosystem. In traditional schools, you might see your child do projects like family trees, and your cousins pitch in to help them. Many educational programmes also include a ‘Grandparents’ Day’ or ‘Extended Family Day’, in which a student’s family gets to join the parade for a few hours. Unfortunately, these are all one-off projects, with the rest of your child’s learning happening in a silo, away from family eyes. At META Learning, we want to bring family into the fold, providing opportunities for our students to learn from and grow thanks to deeper connections with extended family. Whether it’s through having a younger sibling assist in a project, or an aunt review their engineering project, we believe META students can only gain from a diversified learning experience.
Thanks to the META society, our learners know they can rely on others’ support to find the information, perspectives, and frameworks they need for any type of academic project. Both locally and abroad, they can reach out to businesses, places of worship, museums, libraries, and more to seek out what they’d like to further explore. If they’re learning at home in one of our local terms, it allows them to better understand the issues their own community is facing so they can get involved in response to those problems. In doing so, they also establish deeper connections to their local community, or likewise with the communities they are visiting in global experience terms.
Cultivating connections with professionals and community stakeholders abroad can be life-changing. Indeed, when META learners are outside of their comfort zone, living away from home, they are also in their zone of proximal development. In other words, their eyes and ears are open to learning more so than on any other occasion.
Other members of the 40,000 strong META society include businesses, non-profit, and government organizations all over the world. These are the ones we turn to in order to set up our internships, immersions, on-the-job training, and apprenticeships for our students. At META, we know there is no better career coach for our learners than a working professional in the field that interests them.
For example, if your child wants to learn about becoming a nuclear engineer, she might like to know what education, skillset, and professional experience she would need to succeed. She might also enjoy learning about the recruitment, interview, and hiring process. At META, we’d make sure this learner could get on the phone with either a nuclear engineer or a recruiter in the field. That way, they can better understand what kind of Bachelor’s program they should study, whether they’d need to get a Master’s degree and the things they’d be expected to know to thrive in nuclear engineering.
Similarly, in the non-profit space, META students can collaborate directly with professionals in trying to implement change. One way in which we foster relationships in the META society is through apprenticeships or job shadowing. Through these experiences, a META learner immerses themselves and becomes a part of these organizations temporarily to understand what it’s like to work there on a daily basis. They also get an excellent grasp of the kind of skillset they should develop to succeed and make a difference in the non-profit domain of their choice.
Finally, some governments and politicians are also there to help our students become innovators and changemakers in their communities. META learners often design projects that require direct collaboration with local governments or national departments. Of course, they could also enjoy educational programmes or internships in these organizations, to understand what the day-to-day of a mayor resembles, for instance. In some cases, they might even develop a mentorship relationship with a leader in politics.
What META Society Members Gain
For our students, it’s clear that developing their global network through deep personal connections can enable them to realize what kind of mark they’d like to leave upon the world. These relationships can inspire them to recognize what knowledge, skills, and talents they should cultivate to have a fulfilling career — whatever this might mean for them. Like many proponents of alternative education, META believes in creating opportunities for its learners beyond what a traditional school might offer.
Moreover, for working professionals, local stakeholders, and global leaders, the META society is an opportunity to give back to education and link up with young learners to help them make a change. In other words, as a mentor or facilitator, you can personally assist in some learners’ personal, academic, and professional growth. Not only is this involvement incredibly gratifying, but it also helps your organization attract and recruit exceptional future talent, as opposed to less prepared students in traditional schools. After all, we’ve all wondered, why aren’t students learning what they will be asked to do in the real world?
At META, we help students develop a unique set of skills you wouldn’t find in a traditional establishment — one that could benefit you and your organization in any partnership. Our learners know we value thinking outside of the box, problem-solving, effective communication, and collaboration. They also know how to ensure a relationship is mutually beneficial. Despite their young age, our learners could also help your organization by providing new insights, fresh perspectives, and thoughtful reflections about your work.
We’d Love To Have You On Board
As a member of the META society, you stand both to contribute and benefit from our students’ career-connected learning. You could serve on a panel to evaluate a student’s work, give a guest lecture, or coach a student during a 6-to-8-week project on a theme aligned with your organization.
Ultimately, joining the META Society is an opportunity for you to connect with excellent students, who will soon become excellent working professionals. And, of course, we know our learners could truly benefit from the expertise that you and your organization can grant them.
So, can your non-profit provide new insights or industry-related experiences to future generations? Is your company or organization interested in helping young learners thrive? Could your organization benefit from the fresh perspectives that our students can provide?
If so, you might want to join our network of 40,000 global experts and professionals!