As mentioned previously, I went through some of the free course on Game Theory provided by MIT. I didn’t spend too much time on it, just an hour or so. The online content is formalized in very lack luster power points, although still representative of a coherent story.
Game theory is very interesting, it’s basically a mapping of potential outcomes within a finite structure. Matrices for players are developed (though I only saw this for two sided games, not sure how it’s mapped for more competitors?) with all potential outcomes assumed. Rationalizing choices is very important, a choice is rational in expectations that all players are acting for their optimal outcomes in increasing value. That means all players are knowledgeable on parameters of the game and expect the other players to act in a similar fashion.
The result is a road map of expectations given established potential within a static competitive environment. A game theorist could reasonably map out expected outcomes and recommend choices based on the development. It gets much, much deeper than this I assume, but it makes sense. The issue here is that most competitive landscapes are infinite and have far too many intricacies and chances to alter that mapping decisions in matrices and eventually decision trees could prove detrimentally fallible. But what do I know? This is just a skin deep analysis. As a comparison, here is the Wikipedia entry for Game Theory. Decent explanation
And that’s the real point of this, reading power points online simply can’t replicate being in a class room where questions may be posed and ideas reinforced by a professor who may sense lack of understanding or emphasis behind a key concept. It leads me to question how much of a students learning is contingent on the supplementary materials (books, lectures, .PPT’s, etc.) and how much is based on the forum where the knowledge is being given. It’s likely different for every student, but this could be studied relatively easily in a bifurcated trial for students taking a similar course online and in person. My guess is that the information itself is the majority (60-70%) and the rest is the forum (30-40%). The only problem is that one can’t apply information critically with a 60% understanding. I don’t feel confident in speaking on or explaining game theory based on the hour I spent reading the content online, and that’s the issue with content as such.
This is already getting long, so I’ll wrap it up. The content can be optimized through better illustration, animation and narration. A company could easily build a business model around creating palpable, intriguing content oriented on a partnership with a big brand (MIT, Harvard, et. al.) This actually raises a question, who is the big brand? The educator, or the company that optimizes the content? Anyway, if this was embraced, it could revolutionize education. The best colleges and knowledge could be procured by anyone in the world. It scales and builds even MORE wealth for the institutions, the long tail effect takes hold and doesn’t let go. All of a sudden a complete, three year guide to Astrophysics from MIT is available for $50.
Any of us who have gone to grad school know the costs. I’m very far in debt for a bevy of knowledge I could acquire with a library card; it just wouldn’t be verified. In the future, the costs will go down drastically, and it will be verified. Everyone gets smarter. We evolve and disseminate intelligence at a rate higher than ever before. It WILL happen. I just don’t know when.