Episode 85

Developing Antifragile Online Education

In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett explains his concept of antifragile online education and how you can set yourself up to benefit from progressive global transformation in your eLearning business.

The antifragile concept was presented by Nicholas Nassim Taleb through his books, Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, and most recently, Antifragile. In essence, being antifragile encompasses benefiting from an unfortunate “black swan” event through having made a fortuitous counter-intuitive decision beforehand.

Let’s say you’re developing an online course, or you already have some courses available online. You’re aware of rapid changes the world is currently going through – core conventions are giving way to new solutions in a massive upheaval. Formal education is one of those conventions.

At some point the global consciousness shifts away from physical classroom instruction with its related difficulties of scheduling, transport, location, and debt. Your online courses are now in primary demand and your profits go through the roof.

This scenario can apply to any kind of training or instruction you offer. As the economy declines, wages drop, and jobs become ever more difficult to secure, more people will have to become entrepreneurs to survive. They will need to learn new skills or leverage the skills they have into generating income.

Think in terms of creating courses that people will find valuable with or without a black swan event. If a cataclysmic shift in your area of expertise suddenly drives more people to your courses, you will become antifragile, and your success will increase exponentially.

Our LifterLMS development platform is a powerful tool for your instructional design no matter what kind of courses you build. The more entrepreneurial education becomes, the more valuable LifterLMS will be. Try a demo of LifterLMS today to see how our course development platform can help you create an antifragile online education business.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris: Hello, and welcome to this episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and today we’re going to be talking about antifragile online education. What am I talking about here? What is antifragile? Well the concept of antifragile comes from the work of a book author, modern day philosopher by the name of Nicholas Nassim Taleb. He wrote a book a while back called Fooled by Randomness. He’s very famous for a book called The Black Swan, and one of his more recent books is called Antifragile.

Now the concept of antifragile comes from something that not only is robust or strong, but actually benefits from chaos or disorder. Now why is this important, and how does this apply to online education? Well let me start by explaining how Nicholas Nassim Taleb got into all this and the concept of a black swan event. A black swan event is a highly improbable event that you could either benefit from or really be hurt by, so in terms of Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s experience, he was a stock trader, and he was shorting the airline industry or betting against the airline industry when it was booming, and then the black swan event happened, which is tragic, and that was September 11th.

Right after that event, airline stocks really started plummeting, people stopped flying, stop taking as many vacations and so on, so that black swan event actually made him very wealthy, and he was able to leave that profession and go pursue his dream of becoming an author, and he’s a very vocal, doesn’t care what other people think. He’s kind of rough around the edges, let’s say, but he got to do that by strategically betting against the likely outcome. When that black swan event came around, he benefited.

Over time, he’s developed this concept of antifragile. If we think about it like this, if there’s a box of dishes in a moving truck, it’s a really fragile situation. We don’t just want strong dishes made of metal in a box that aren’t going to break. What if as that moving truck goes down the road and starts bouncing up and down, the dishes actually became more valuable or stronger? That’s a very kind of interesting concept to wrap your head around in that the opposite of fragile or prone to entropy and so on is not necessarily strength or robustness, it’s actually becoming antifragile.

In terms of online education, when we create a course, when we create a learning opportunity for somebody, when we create our business model as an education entrepreneur, how do we make it antifragile? To give you a few examples, let’s say like as we know in the current modern world that a lot of myths or generally held truths are being challenged. The whole thing of okay, if you’re growing up, you do a good job in school, you get good grades, you go to a good college, you get a good job, and you’re going to be just fine. What we’re finding is that doesn’t always work especially in professions outside of the more guaranteed things like becoming a doctor and so on.

If you were to create training around entrepreneurship, if graduating college students trying to get jobs continue to have to struggle and not be able to pay back their student loan and get that job, it’s only going to put more pressure on people to become entrepreneurs and start their own business. As Seth Godin says, stop waiting to be picked for a job. Really, if you look back historically, most people were entrepreneurs. They operated small businesses in their community and their tribe, they added some kind of value to the collective tribe. They weren’t necessarily plugged into a machine in the modern industrial way of working.

That’s just an example of if you’re creating training that helps graduating college students quickly become entrepreneurs and build businesses, that’s an example of something that’s going to benefit from disorder if the global economy continues to struggle in providing jobs for our up-and-coming young adults and graduating college students. That’s just one example.

Another example, let’s say, I’m going to go into the health and fitness industry. Let’s say you are creating material about how to detoxify your body, and you have a process and a method and a training around how to go through a detox, how to develop a stronger immune system, and so on. As we know in the modern world, we’re surrounded by pollution, chemicals, there’s things in our food, and so on. If you’re creating training on how to make the human body stronger and more resilient, that kind of course is going to be in hot demand as the scientific research continues to come out about various toxins in our environment, or micro toxins or how our gut microbiome is negatively impacted by antibiotics in meat and other things.

That’s another example of where your course is antifragile because it’s going to benefit from the disorder of that let’s say you’re just one major scientific study away from the global consciousness making a shift in how they approach health and having a strong microbiome and being resilient to toxicity in the environment. Those are just some examples.

I’d encourage you to think about antifragile, think about creating content that is going to be successful even if the black swan event doesn’t happen, but if something were to happen, it would actually make your course even more desirable, valuable, powerful, high impact, and that sort of thing. Just to leave you with a parting thought, I just want to give you an example of you that you can take to heart of antifragile.

Here, we create a learning management system software called Lifter LMS, and that’s a tool that allows teachers, education entrepreneurs, corporate trainers, whether you’re in the health and fitness or you’re in real estate or you’re in Internet marketing or business, entrepreneurship, music, language learning, corporate training. You’re an instructional designer. Lifter LMS is a powerful tool for creating online courses, and that product is successful in its own right, but is that antifragile because as the education system struggles and like we talked about, the student debt earlier and downward pressure on teacher paychecks and that sort of thing, the teacher economy could stand to become much more entrepreneurial, so Lifter LMS is sitting there where if the education system continues to be disrupted, it’s a tool that could benefit from disorder.

That’s how Lifter LMS as a learning management system software is antifragile. Thank you for listening to this episode, and we’ll catch you in the next one.

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