Bruce Springsteen not only understands e-learning, he knows off-line-learning too

It is sometimes claimed; Real education/learning can only be done by us meeting physically, therefor online-learning will never fully make it. But Springsteen can help us to understand why that is plain wrong. Well, not 100 % wrong, just nearly, like 90 % wrong. But “nearly” do matter, a tremendously lot. Here are the consequences.

Some years back Bruce Springsteen came to my hometown, Stockholm, to play. The tickets to his concert quickly was sold out, even though it was expensive. Well, actually the tickets that time was far more expensive compared to the last time he came to Sweden, and that is part of this story.

The weeks before he arrived, traffic on Bruce Springsteen-songs on Spotify, the music streaming service that dominates my country, went up. People did really listen to his songs on Spotify the weeks before the concert. Then he had the concert. It was sold out, and people loved it. Then, the weeks after the concert, traffic on Bruce Springsteen-songs on Spotify went up again.

Offline-music and on-line music go hand in hand. Of course it does. But it is important to understand in what way it does.

It should to be noticed that the way Bruce Springsteen played live during the concert was fairly different compared to how he played live like 20 years ago. This time it was really “live” so to speak. Thereby he was also able to increase the ticket-price compared to before.

When things become digital also the non-digital has an interesting life. If done well; off-line can even be of higher value compared to before, just because all of us now have become digital. Off-line becomes more unique than before and that is why we gladly pay for it, if it really is unique that is.

It is not likely that Bruce Springsteen would have sold out his concert, and on top of that being able to increase (not decrease) the price for the ticket, if he would have played live the same way as he does on Spotify. You would not have been interested of paying for it, if that would have been the case. You would have listened to him on Spotify instead. Of course you would.

An extremely clear case of this was when Elvis Costello, just one year later, came to Stockholm. When he played live it was only him, and his guitarr. He did not even bring his band with him. Naturally, the versions of his classical songs also became radically different compared to listening to them on Spotify. He really played “live” so to speak. He also did talk a lot to his audience during the concert, and what he said was defintely not something he had prepared in advance. He did talk “with us”, not just “to us” if you see the difference.

Where is the chicken and where is the egg here? Well, historically, in the music industry, you played live in order to sell records. Nowadays it is more like the other way around. You play on Spotify in order to sell concert-tickets. It is a fundamentally differerent world nowadays to musicans. The digital traffic sets the agenda for your live traffic so to speak. And live, really have to be live, if you want to sell tickets to live concerts. On top of that: without being on Spotify it is not likely people would have went for his live concert.

Is it not resonable to expect the same kind of pattern to evolve in the business for education? Imagine it is: How would we then have to change todays version of “live education” in order to really make it “live”? Would it be like skipping all the prepared PPT-slides and just talk? Could a live and really, seriously, interactive discussion be the way forward, if we still wants to do off-line education that is?

If not; why should we then continue to even do it, when digital education now is available? Will we even get people to enroll in the long run into the old way of doing education, if we do not start thinking in this kind of way? Now, imagine we did; could it then suddenly become possible to earn even more money in the future of live education, compared to before?

Could it then also be the case that the word “School” originally actually comes from the old Greek word “schole” for a good reason? If I´m not totally wrong; does that word not literarly mean something like “place for reflection and growth”?

Who said that learning only should be a one-way thing, me talking and you listening to what I just played?

3 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen not only understands e-learning, he knows off-line-learning too

  1. Excellent blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get responses from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!

    1. To be honest; Not really. Or, actually; it depend on how you see it. If you look for people being interested in digital education, how to do it, what tools to use etc, there are lot of forums existing. Check for instance out groups called “E-learning” at LinkedIn, or even Facebook. But, if you, like me, care about education “as an industry”, I do not really find that much. And if you go to VC-firms, like for instance GSV, you only get their financial point of view. In some sense I feel a bit alone here, so to speak. 😉 And sadly, Christensen is now gone. Did it help? Well, in some sense The Chronicle for Higher Ed might also help, but in some sense they only care about classical Uni, and at the same time often see it from a kind of “rights perspective”. And platforms like EdSurge only focus it from a start-up point of view. My point is simple: se it as “a traditional business manager”. 😉

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