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How AI will change education (and deliberate practice)


Before we begin, this Friday July 14th my business partner Paul Peterson and I will be hosting a webinar where we'll teach people our system for going into private practice using a case study approach.

Honestly, I'm really nervous about this training. We'll be giving away ALL of our secrets, especially the one people ask us the most about: getting 5 calls a week with no active marketing.

The cost is $20, but it doesn't go to me; rather, it goes to a charity called 99Balloons, which helps disabled kids and their families. This training will not be recorded, so once it's gone, it's over.

We're also limiting it to 15 people, and as of the time of this writing, 10 spots have already been taken. We only have 5 left.

I'd love to see you there! Hope you can make it.


Anyone paying attention to the rise of artificial intelligence should be worried about their job.

As AI technology continues to advance, entire industries are at risk of vanishing overnight. For instance, Expedia now uses AI in vacation planning. If a computer can do the job, why would we need travel agents? And, of course, it's not just travel agents. Anyone who does some sort of routine or repetitive knowledge work could be out of a job. Pharmacists, accountants, lawyers, computer coders, and more could all be out of a job in the next decade.

Now, of course, this isn't the first time we've had technologies disrupt jobs, but the AI revolution will be unlike any other for one reason: speed.

The AI revolution will disrupt fields. We need more education.

Humans made all sorts of advancements during the Industrial Revolution, but these changes took decades to roll out. For instance, we made trains during the Industrial Revolution, but to fully realize their potential, we had to have coast-to-coast railroads. And it took years to lay railroads across the continent.

While changes in the Industrial Revolution took decades, changes during the AI revolution can happen as swiftly as a computer software update. This presents a daunting challenge for workers. If you're a computer program for some huge company, and suddenly AI can do your job, what do you do?

You could get another programming job, but the truth is that job will probably be replaced in a few years when the next AI update comes out.

You can't just get a new job. You need to learn a new skill set. And learning something new is hard.


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Education before the AI revolution:

In the 1980s, psychologist Benjamin Bloom discovered his famous "2-sigma problem." It's

one of the most important findings in all of education, and it's been mostly forgotten.

Photo of psychologist Benjamin Bloom
Dr. Bloom just looking like an old guy

Bloom was an educational psychologist working specifically with children. His goal was simple: lots of kids were struggling to do well in school. Let's help them learn better.

This was a huge problem, mostly because everything else had failed.

Before then, lots of states and federal institutions had what were called "compensatory educational programs," programs designed to catch at-risk kids early and give them additional resources with the idea that if these kids were given early support, they wouldn't be left behind.

The problem was that by the time Bloom came along, compensatory educational programs, programs like the famed Head Start program, had largely failed.

Bloom persevered and developed a method that took the average student and moved them to the top 98% of their class. He called this method "mastery-based tutoring."

It was an amazing discovery. He had basically shown that given one-on-one mastery-based tutoring (education's version of deliberate practice), most kids could become the smartest kid in the class.

If most kids had this kind of potential, why were so many kids doing poorly? Well, teachers would subtly favor certain students and prefer certain styles of teaching. So the kids who the teachers liked and who learned the way teachers taught would do well. And the opposite kids, the ones the teachers didn't like or who didn't learn the way teachers taught, were left behind.

What made things worse is that teachers often didn't realize they were favoring certain students. And of course! It feels good to work with students who are benefiting from your natural style.

Mastery-based tutoring was different.

By giving kids one-on-one tutoring, teachers were constantly faced with the child's specific learning difficulties. They weren't distracted by the kids who were doing well. They had to deal with the kid in front of them. Also, because it was mastery-based, the kids only moved to the next lesson when they had mastered the first lesson. This means kids with mastery-based teaching didn't have gaps in their learning, so they had a much stronger foundation.

Bloom had done it. He had finally cracked education. But there was a problem. While his method worked, it couldn't scale. You can take the average student to the head of the class using one-on-one tutoring, but you couldn't give every student one-on-one tutoring.

Until now.

How the AI revolution will fix education:

As we look forward, it's obvious that AI will disrupt many jobs. But as disruptive as AI will be, it also has the potential to solve the very problem it creates. The more AI in education we have, the more we can scale one-on-one mastery-based tutoring.

Consider this: many companies like Google offer free online certifications. Google's certifications require 10 hours a week for a 3-6 month course. That means the course amounts to approximately 120-240 hours. If you solely focus on that, you could finish it in 3-6 weeks (working 40-hour weeks).

But these courses are mostly videos with a bit of homework. Imagine a course with AI tutoring. It would adapt to your pace and provide expert feedback on how to improve.

Developers could also layer in gamification and make the course fun. A course like that, mastery-based tutoring that feels like a game, could be completed in much less time, maybe 40-120 hours. So, if you lose your job to AI, it would only take 1-3 weeks to retrain.

This sounds like fantasy, but it's already happening.

A few months ago, Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy and the Steve Jobs of education, announced the launch of Khanmigo, the first AI tutor. With this, they hope to provide low-cost personalized tutoring to kids all over the world.

Welcome to the future.

Let's be realistic about how the AI revolution in education will change things.

I'm obviously super hopeful about the impact AI can have on the future of education.

But, if I'm realistic, things probably won't be as wonderful as I think they will. The truth is, the way these things tend to go is the people who already do well do even better, and the people not doing so well will do worse.

This time is different in one specific way. In the past the gap between the haves and the have-naughts was often due to lack of access to education. In the very near future things won't be that way. Everyone will have access to high quality education. There will be other problems, but access won't be a problem. Which means we'll have have one less barrier keeping inequality in place.

I think that's a good thing.


Jordan (the Counselor),


P.S. And yes. This article was written with the help of AI.


If you liked this post, consider reading this next. I think you'll like it ;) It's about how many clients will want an AI therapist.


Jordan Harris, Ph.D., LMFT-S, LPC-S received his Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Arkansas, USA. In his clinical work he enjoys working with couples. He also runs a blog on deliberate practice for therapists and counselors at

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