Gazing through mud: The campus and you in 50 years — from (where LLL stands for lifelong learning) by John Ebersole, President, Excelsior College

Both types of institutions will be fewer in number as consolidations and closures continue, at an accelerated pace. Those that overcome the academy’s inherent aversion to change and risk are the most likely to survive.

Let’s remember that the half-life of knowledge is falling at an astonishing rate. What is relevant today, especially in technical fields, can become obsolete within a matter of a few years, if not months. At the same time, there is an explosion in information. It has been noted that we’re now exposed to more information in one year than our grandparents were in a lifetime.

In summary, the units extending the reach of universities in the future will no longer be on the fringe. Their academic and professional development offerings will instead become central to the institution’s mission.


From DSC:
Some additional reflections:

1)  Curated streams of content — broken out by discipline/topic — will be key.  Lifelong learning. Keeps you relevant/informed throughout your career.  A potentially-prominent format might be learning “channels” — populated with information from bots, presented on “Smart TV’s,” with quick access available to a human Subject Matter Expert (SME) or tutor upon request.   Perhaps there will be different levels of SME’s, tutors, mentors, etc. with corresponding $$ rates. 

2)  Interactive video — such as we’re beginning to see with Touchcast — could be very powerful in online-based learning materials.

3)  Educational gaming will likely be a powerful, engaging format.

4)  We could likely be moving towards more of a team-based approach –as one person likely won’t be able to do it all anymore (at least not at a level that will successfully compete).  The higher production qualities and sophistication necessary to compete may force many institutions to pool their resources with other institutions (i.e. more consortia).

5)  The unbundling process will likely continue throughout higher ed (i.e. think of iTunes and the album/CD).