By: Sharon Bryson
During my tenure at NCACPA, I’ve had the privilege of attending a significant number of AICPA Council meetings…and I’ll have to say, the recent 2013 Fall Council event was—in my opinion—more impactful than any other. While several outstanding programs were part of this meeting, the incredible presentation delivered by Sal Khan truly left an indelible mark on me!
Many are aware of Sal Khan as a result of his formation of the Khan Academy—a non-profit educational website he created in 2006—with a stated mission to provide “a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” His effort started as a result of assisting his young niece with her math lessons, and is currently an organization with 9,000,000 monthly users, hailing from 200 countries across the globe. Khan Academy’s video tutorials are also used in over 30,000 classrooms worldwide.
Sal Khan is the first to say that many of his videos are less than sophisticated, as a large number were produced in his home, with sound being recorded via a $25 headset! Regardless of the sophistication level—or lack thereof—many believe he’s uncovered the secret to solving education’s “mediocrity crisis” by showing learning can truly be customized, and offered at an pace allowing each student to get individualized help when needed.
I’m pleased to have been asked to serve on the AICPA’s Future of Learning Task Force. Our group has been charged with indentifying the implications to professional development as the CPA profession—and learning and development industry—continue to undergo unparalleled change. Whether we’re discussing MOOCs (massive open online courses), flipped classrooms, gamification, the sustainability of the traditional educational model, or learning preferences of Gen Y—so much of what Khan has to say is extremely pertinent to our mission.
I continue to believe there’s a place for the multitude of learning formats that exist in today’s world, including the traditional classroom model. However, I also believe the more we can personalize the learning experience—whether the student is a 10 year old struggling with math concepts or a CPA attempting to master international tax—the better the competency level and experience will be.
Sharon Bryson, M.Ed., COO of NCACPA, is responsible for overall operations, including oversight relating to the Communications, Finance & Administration, and Professional Development Departments. She also works closely with the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Nominating Committee to bring association goals to fruition. Sharon is the current president-elect of the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC), and will assume the position of chair in June 2014. She received both her undergrad and graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.