A History of Corporate Education

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This mural by Eileen Clegg and Val Ibarra of Visual Insight chronicles the development of corporate and executive education from 1880 to present. I assume it reflects American trends – the notes do not say. The size of the mural is approximately 4 feet x 12 feet but you can explore it on screen using zoom and grab/drag. You might have to install Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in (free) to do so however. A scaled-down jpeg of the mural can also be viewed here.

Some of the milestones from the timeline include:

  • 1880 … the Industrial Revolution … informal training via apprenticeships
  • 1910 … rise of the Factory Model … training for efficiency, “scientific” management
  • 1940 … rise of the Organization … training to create a formal management structure
  • 1960 … rise of the Individual … modern educational theory and instructional design blossom
  • 1980 … rise of the Information Economy … industrial model declines, lifelong learning ascends
  • 1990 … rise of the Internet … global communications, virtual organizations, electronic media
  • 2010 … the Present … “natural” learning emerges (again), asynchronous, acoustic environments

What is meant by “natural” learning is not spelled out by the authors, but it is is interesting to ponder which of the trends from the post-agricultural era (1880 onward) were particularly “unnatural.” I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that the current post-literate environment we find ourselves in is taking us back to a period before the industrial revolution when apprenticeships and the oral tradition ruled. Ergo the current interest in experiential and immersive learning environments, informal learning, podcasts and the inverted classroom.


History Map: Corporate and Executive Education

The History of Education Mural

2 Responses

  1. It might have holes in it, but Sal Khan’s brief history of education in America is still useful if you are looking for a view from 32,000 feet of the whys and wherefores behind the ways we (still) do things in schools and classrooms.


    Some comments on where it falls short are here:

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