John Peterson finds VRM relevant to higher learning: Searls explains CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is broken.

(The) idea is to flip the conversation around where the consumers manage vendors. I love this idea.

Spin this educationally and we are very close to the story that is developing. Let the students manage their own learning using the web. 10 years out the business of teachers managing content for students is gone. The consumers have many other options because of the technology.

My only problem with this are the concepts of consumption and content. As I said in Giant Zero Journalism,

Framing is a huge issue here. We have readers and viewers, not just “audiences” and “consumers”. We write articles and essays and posts, not just “generate content”. “User-generated content”, or UGC, is an ugly, insulting and misleading label.

“Content” is inert. It isn’t alive. It doesn’t grow, or catch fire, or go viral. Ideas and insights do that. Interesting facts do that. “Audiences” are passive. They sit still, clap and leave. That might be what happened with newspapers and radio and TV in the old MSM-controlled world, but it’s not what happens on The Giant Zero. It’s not what happens with blogging, or with citizen journalism. Here it’s all about contribution, participation. It involves conversation, but it goes beyond that into relationship — with readers, with viewers, with the larger ecosystem by which we all inform each other.

Education, to paraphrase John Taylor Gatto, is not about filling students with curricula, but about removing those things that keep the student’s inherent genius from gathering itself.

Now, what does that say about the relationship between students and educational insitutions?