Courageous Learning

2014, Society  -  28 min Leave a Comment
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Courageous Learning is a documentary produced by Ellucian, a developer of software and management systems for higher education institutions, that aims to realign the present waning perspective on the importance of higher education in the United States today. Voiced by voiceover superstar Dennis Haysbert, the film examines education and workforce preparation in post-recession America.

Beginning with a historical look at the post-World War II work force in the country, which was dominated by a manufacturing industry staffed with employees having only high school diplomas and that were merely expected to handle one small task in a vast assembly system. These jobs required little to no skilled labor or problem solving capability, and very little communal working acumen.

As manufacturing industry petered out and computer technology-led industry took over, this sort of training, education, and skill set became relatively obsolete - the need for intelligent problem solving, the ability to assess and react proficiently, is paramount here and the prevailing factor in the US workforce's diminishing relevance in the modern economy. There was a point in time when the US was the world's leader in higher-educated individuals, today it has fallen to 16th.

The answer that every employer is seeking is a more educated hire candidate, which of course requires more education. The problem is the cost of acquiring one, which has risen over 500% over the last 30 years. These rising costs are crippling the economy from another angle, student loan debt. Americans now have more student loan debt than credit card debt, just to demonstrate the prominence of this continually increasing problem.

This is where the "angle" of the film comes into play, as Ellucian's business objective is providing cost-effective solutions to educational institutions in a number of areas. Things such as changing the target demo from 18-22 year old high school graduates to military veterans and other "non-traditional" students, and online course programs that allow a potential student without the freedom in life that a recent high school grad might have to improve their credentials and work force viability, are pitched as being the answers to the country's problems.