Is Thomas Frey right? “…by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.”

From a fairly recent e-newsletter from edsurge.com — though I don’t recall the exact date (emphasis DSC):

New England is home to some of the most famous universities in the world. But the region has also become ground zero for the demographic shifts that promise to disrupt higher education.

This week saw two developments that fit the narrative. On Monday, Southern Vermont College announced that it would shut its doors, becoming the latest small rural private college to do so. Later that same day, the University of Massachusetts said it would start a new online college aimed at a national audience, noting that it expects campus enrollments to erode as the number of traditional college-age students declines in the coming years.

“Make no mistake—this is an existential threat to entire sectors of higher education,” said UMass president Marty Meehan in announcing the online effort.

The approach seems to parallel the U.S. retail sector, where, as a New York Times piece outlines this week, stores like Target and WalMart have thrived by building online strategies aimed at competing with Amazon, while stores like Gap and Payless, which did little to move online, are closing stores. Of course, college is not like any other product or service, and plenty of campuses are touting the richness of the experience that students get by actually coming to a campus. And it’s not clear how many colleges can grow online to a scale that makes their investments pay off.

 

“It’s predicted that over the next several years, four to five major national players with strong regional footholds will be established. We intend to be one of them.”

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan

 

 

From DSC:
That last quote from UMass President Marty Meehan made me reflect upon the idea of having one or more enormous entities that will provide “higher education” in the future. I wonder if things will turn out to be that we’ll have more lifelong learning providers and platforms in the future — with the idea of a 60-year curriculum being an interesting idea that may come into fruition.

Long have I predicted that such an enormous entity would come to pass. Back in 2008, I named it the Forthcoming Walmart of Education. But then as the years went by, I got bumbed out on some things that Walmart was doing, and re-branded it the Forthcoming Amazon.com of Higher Education. We’ll see how long that updated title lasts — but you get the point. In fact, the point aligns very nicely with what futurist Thomas Frey has been predicting for years as well:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider. (source)

I realize that education doesn’t always scale well…but I’m thinking that how people learn in the future may be different than how we did things in the past…communities of practice comes to mind…as does new forms of credentialing…as does cloud-based learner profiles…as does the need for highly efficient, cost-effective, and constant opportunities/means to reinvent oneself.

Also see:

 

 

Addendum:

74% of consumers go to Amazon when they’re ready to buy something. That should be keeping retailers up at night. — from cnbc.com

Key points (emphasis DSC)

  • Amazon remains a looming threat for some of the biggest retailers in the country — like Walmart, Target and Macy’s.
  • When consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly three-quarters of them, or 74 percent, are going straight to Amazon to do it, according to a new study by Feedvisor.
  • By the end of this year, Amazon is expected to account for 52.4 percent of the e-commerce market in the U.S., up from 48 percent in 2018.

 

“In New England, there will be between 32,000 and 54,000 fewer college-aged students just seven years from now,” Meehan said. “That means colleges and universities will have too much capacity and not enough demand at a time when the economic model in higher education is already straining under its own weight.” (Marty Meehan at WBUR)

 

 

Excerpt:

CONCLUSION
This paper has outlined the plethora of new credential types, uses, and modes of delivery. It also has highlighted advancements in assessment. In terms of assessment content, the progression of mastery-based assessments is a distinct departure from the traditional knowledge-based assessment approaches. New assessments are likely to enter the market, as companies see the tremendous growth of competency-based assessments that will be critical and necessary in the future ecosystem described.

Assessments are no longer just a source of grades for gradebooks. They have forged two meaningful bypass routes to seat time in higher education. In the first, competency-based education assessments gate the pace of student progress through the curriculum. In the second, certification by an exam delivers not a grade, but a degree-like credential in a relevant occupation, indicating skill and expertise. For some occupations, this exam-as-credential has already been market validated by employers’ willingness to require it, hire by it, and pay a salary premium for it.

All of these innovations are driving towards a common end. The future learning-to employment ecosystem will be heavily reliant on credentials and assessments. We see:

  • A future in which credentials will no longer be limited to degrees, but will come in varying shapes and sizes, offered by many organizations, training providers, and employers;
  • A future in which credentials will, however, be able to articulate a set of underlying “know” knowledge and “do” performance skill competencies;
  • A future in which a credential’s scope will be described by the set of competencies it covers, and measured via assessment;
  • A future in which a credential’s quality will be indicated by evidence of mastery within each competency before it is awarded;
  • A future in which quality metrics, such as consumer reviews or employer use of credentials will come into play, bringing the best and most usable credentials and assessments to the forefront.

And, finally, the future ecosystem will depend heavily on online and technology-enabled strategies and solutions. The working learner will turn away from those stringent solutions that require seat time and offer little flexibility. They will drive the market hard for innovations that will lead to consumer-facing marketplaces that allow them a “one-stop shop” approach for working, learning, and living.

The massive market of the working learner/the learning worker is here to stay. The future is that learner. Credentials and assessment will find their own strong footing to help successfully meet both the learners’ needs and the employers’ needs. We applaud this SHIFT. For, it will be an ecosystem that services many more learners than today’s education to employment system serves.

 

 

Most coherent report I have read on the erosion of degrees and the rise of assessing-for-work and amassing certifications as the competencies for the modern workplace. Jamai Blivin, of www.innovate-educate.org, and Merrilea Mayo, of Mayo Enterprises, have put in one report the history, current trends and the illogic for many people of paying for a retail bachelor’s degree when abundant certifications are beginning to prove themselves. Workforce and community colleges, this is a must-read. Kudos! 

Per Gordon Freedman on LinkedIn

 

 

The information below is from Deb Molfetta, Outreach Coordinator at EdDPrograms.org


EdDPrograms.org helps educators and administrators research doctoral education opportunities. Their organization’s work in education began in 2008 with projects ranging from a new teacher survival guide to their own teacher education scholarship program. More recently they realized that there weren’t any websites dedicated to professional development through Doctor of Education (EdD) programs, which is why they created their own – EdDPrograms.org. It covers a lot of ground, but here are a few sections they think administrators will appreciate:

EdDPrograms.org is owned and operated by a group that has been creating post-secondary education resources since 2008. According to Deb, they have a history of providing students with objective, fact-based resources.

 

 

 

Attention, college shoppers. These schools are slashing their prices. — from washingtonpost.com by Nick Anderson

Excerpt:

As soaring tuition scares off many families, a growing number of private colleges have embraced a marketing tactic associated more with selling airline tickets or flat-screen televisions than higher education: a price cut.

St. John’s College slashed tuition from $52,734 in this school year to $35,000 in the next.

The liberal arts school, with campuses in Maryland and New Mexico, joined more than 20 others nationwide that have reduced prices in the past three years.

The movement exposes a reality of higher education long hidden in plain sight: The difference between sticker prices and what the average student actually pays is often vast.

 

“Is that tenable? Is that right? Is that who we are?” asked Panayiotis Kanelos, president of the campus in Annapolis, Md. “Is it right for us to expect families to bear that burden?”

 

“Every time you raise the tuition, the screw gets tighter and tighter on families in the middle,” Kanelos said. “Something is broken in tuition pricing. We want to fix it now.”

 

Can online learning help higher ed reverse its tuition spiral? — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell (Columnist)

Excerpt:

Classic economic theory predicts that when demand falls, so do prices. But when it comes to the price of college in the past few decades, it’s been just the other way around.

As data from the National Student Clearinghouse Center shows, tuition has escalated even as enrollments fell.

 

 

The dispiriting result is that half of all low-income high school graduates, cowed by sticker shock, don’t even bother to fill-out applications to go to college. A report by the American Council on Education concludes: “The rapid price increases in recent years, especially in the public college sector, may have led many students—particularly low-income students—to think that college is out of reach financially.”

 

Still, colleges that have devoted imagination and commitment show that even with the financial stranglehold in which most schools are locked, the spiral can actually be arrested.

College leaders need to recognize that prices have shot up too far. In the next budget cycle, as they face their treacherous spreadsheets—and before they add yet another percentage point to next year’s tuition—they must act to roll back the perilous climb.

 

 

LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly) [Young]

LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly) — from edsurge by Jeff Young

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A few years ago, in a move toward professional learning, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, adding the well-known library of video-based courses to its professional social network. Today LinkedIn officials announced that they plan to open up their platform to let in educational videos from other providers as well—but with a catch or two.

The plan, announced Friday, is to let companies or colleges who already subscribe to LinkedIn Learning add content from a select group of other providers. The company or college will still have to subscribe to those other services separately, so it’s essentially an integration—but it does mark a change in approach.

For LinkedIn, the goal is to become the front door for employees as they look for micro-courses for professional development.

 

LinkedIn also announced another service for its LinkedIn Learning platform called Q&A, which will give subscribers the ability to pose a question they have about the video lessons they’re taking. The question will first be sent to bots, but if that doesn’t yield an answer the query will be sent on to other learners, and in some cases the instructor who created the videos.

 

 

Also see:

LinkedIn becomes a serious open learning experience platform — from clomedia.com by Josh Bersin
LinkedIn is becoming a dominant learning solution with some pretty interesting competitive advantages, according to one learning analyst.

Excerpt:

LinkedIn has become quite a juggernaut in the corporate learning market. Last time I checked the company had more than 17 million users, 14,000 corporate customers, more than 3,000 courses and was growing at high double-digit rates. And all this in only about two years.

And the company just threw down the gauntlet; it’s now announcing it has completely opened up its learning platform to external content partners. This is the company’s formal announcement that LinkedIn Learning is not just an amazing array of content, it is a corporate learning platform. The company wants to become a single place for all organizational learning content.

 

LinkedIn now offers skills-based learning recommendations to any user through its machine learning algorithms. 

 

 



Is there demand for staying relevant? For learning new skills? For reinventing oneself?

Well…let’s see.

 

 

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
So…look out higher ed and traditional forms of accreditation — your window of opportunity may be starting to close. Alternatives to traditional higher ed continue to appear on the scene and gain momentum. LinkedIn — and/or similar organizations in the future — along with blockchain and big data backed efforts may gain traction in the future and start taking away some major market share. If employers get solid performance from their employees who have gone this route…higher ed better look out. 

Microsoft/LinkedIn/Lynda.com are nicely positioned to be a major player who can offer society a next generation learning platform at an incredible price — offering up-to-date, microlearning along with new forms of credentialing. It’s what I’ve been calling the Amazon.com of higher ed (previously the Walmart of Education) for ~10 years. It will take place in a strategy/platform similar to this one.

 



Also, this is what a guerilla on the back looks like:

 

This is what a guerilla on the back looks like!

 



Also see:

  • Meet the 83-Year-Old App Developer Who Says Edtech Should Better Support Seniors — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson
    Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
    Now at age 83, Wakamiya beams with excitement when she recounts her journey, which has been featured in news outlets and even at Apple’s developer conference last year. But through learning how to code, she believes that experience offers an even more important lesson to today’s education and technology companies: don’t forget about senior citizens.Today’s education technology products overwhelmingly target young people. And while there’s a growing industry around serving adult learners in higher education, companies largely neglect to consider the needs of the elderly.

 

 

The global companies that failed to adapt to change. — from trainingmag.com by Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Eastman Kodak, a leader for many years, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Blockbuster Video became defunct in 2013. Similarly, Borders — one of the largest book retailers in the U.S. — went out of business in 2011. Why did these companies, which once had great brands, ultimately fail? It is because they failed to adapt to change. Additionally, they failed to unlearn and relearn.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch once remarked, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” Thus, accept change before the change is thrust on you.

Leaders must adopt tools and techniques to adapt to change. Here is a blueprint to embrace change effectively:

  • Keep the vision right and straight, and articulate it effectively.
  • Create organizational culture conducive to bring about change.
  • Communicate clearly about the need to change.
  • Enlighten people about the implications of the status quo.
  • Show them benefits once the change is implemented.
  • Coordinate all stakeholders effectively.
  • Remove the roadblocks by allaying their apprehensions.
  • Show them small gains to ensure that entire change takes place smoothly without any resistance.

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not on board with all of the perspectives in that article, institutions of traditional higher education likely have something to learn from the failures of these companies….while there’s still time to change and to innovate. 

 

 

Robots won’t replace instructors, 2 Penn State educators argue. Instead, they’ll help them be ‘more human.’ — from edsurge.com by Tina Nazerian

Excerpt:

Specifically, it will help them prepare for and teach their courses through several phases—ideation, design, assessment, facilitation, reflection and research. The two described a few prototypes they’ve built to show what that might look like.

 

Also see:

The future of education: Online, free, and with AI teachers? — from fool.com by Simon Erickson
Duolingo is using artificial intelligence to teach 300 million people a foreign language for free. Will this be the future of education?

Excerpts:

While it might not get a lot of investor attention, education is actually one of America’s largest markets.

The U.S. has 20 million undergraduates enrolled in colleges and universities right now and another 3 million enrolled in graduate programs. Those undergrads paid an average of $17,237 for tuition, room, and board at public institutions in the 2016-17 school year and $44,551 for private institutions. Graduate education varies widely by area of focus, but the average amount paid for tuition alone was $24,812 last year.

Add all of those up, and America’s students are paying more than half a trillion dollars each year for their education! And that doesn’t even include the interest amassed for student loans, the college-branded merchandise, or all the money spent on beer and coffee.

Keeping the costs down
Several companies are trying to find ways to make college more affordable and accessible.

 

But after we launched, we have so many users that nowadays if the system wants to figure out whether it should teach plurals before adjectives or adjectives before plurals, it just runs a test with about 50,000 people. So for the next 50,000 people that sign up, which takes about six hours for 50,000 new users to come to Duolingo, to half of them it teaches plurals before adjectives. To the other half it teaches adjectives before plurals. And then it measures which ones learn better. And so once and for all it can figure out, ah it turns out for this particular language to teach plurals before adjectives for example.

So every week the system is improving. It’s making itself better at teaching by learning from our learners. So it’s doing that just based on huge amounts of data. And this is why it’s become so successful I think at teaching and why we have so many users.

 

 

From DSC:
I see AI helping learners, instructors, teachers, and trainers. I see AI being a tool to help do some of the heavy lifting, but people still like to learn with other people…with actual human beings. That said, a next generation learning platform could be far more responsive than what today’s traditional institutions of higher education are delivering.

 

 

Affordable and at-scale — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
Affordable degrees at scale have arrived. The momentum behind this movement is undeniable, and its impact will be significant, Ray Schroeder writes.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

How many times have we been told that major change in our field is on the near horizon? Too many times, indeed.

The promises of technologies and practices have fallen short more often than not. Just seven years ago, I was part of the early MOOC movement and felt the pulsating potential of teaching thousands of students around the world in a single class. The “year of the MOOC” was declared in 2012. Three years later, skeptics declared that the MOOC had died an ignominious death with high “failure” rates and relatively little recognition by employers.

However, the skeptics were too impatient, misunderstood the nature of MOOCs and lacked the vision of those at Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois, Arizona State University, Coursera, edX and scores of other institutions that have persevered in building upon MOOCs’ premises to develop high-quality, affordable courses, certificates and now, degrees at scale.

No, these degrees are not free, but they are less than half the cost of on-campus versions. No, they are not massive in the hundreds of thousands, but they are certainly at large scale with many thousands enrolled. In computer science, the success is felt across the country.

 

Georgia Tech alone has enrolled 10,000 students over all in its online master’s program and is adding thousands of new students each semester in a top 10-ranked degree program costing less than $7,000. Georgia Tech broke the new ground through building collaborations among several partners. Yet, that was just the beginning, and many leading universities have followed.

 

 

Also see:

Trends for the future of education with Jeff Selingo — from steelcase.com
How the future of work and new technology will make place more important than ever.

Excerpt:

Selingo sees artificial intelligence and big data as game changers for higher education. He says AI can free up professors and advisors to spend more time with students by answering some more frequently-asked questions and handling some of the grading. He also says data can help us track and predict student performance to help them create better outcomes. “When they come in as a first-year student, we can say ‘People who came in like you that had similar high school grades and took similar classes ended up here. So, if you want to get out of here in four years and have a successful career, here are the different pathways you should follow.’”

 

 

 

Academics Propose a ‘Blockchain University,’ Where Faculty (and Algorithms) Rule — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

A group of academics affiliated with Oxford University have proposed a new model of higher education that replaces traditional administrators with “smart contracts” on the blockchain, the same technology that drives Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“Our aim is to create a university in which the bulk of administrative tasks are either eliminated or progressively automated,” said the effort’s founders in a white paper released earlier this year. Those proposing the idea added the university would be “a decentralised, non-profit, democratic community in which the use of blockchain technology will provide the contractual stability needed to pursue a full course of study.”

Experiments with blockchain in higher education are underway at multiple campuses around the country, and many of researchers are looking into how to use the technology to verify and deliver credentials. Massachusetts Institute for Technology, for example, began issuing diplomas via blockchain last year.

The plan by Oxford researchers goes beyond digital diplomas—and beyond many typical proposals to disrupt education in general. It argues for a completely new framework for how college is organized, how professors are paid, and how students connect with learning. In other words, it’s a long shot.

But even if the proposed platform never emerges, it is likely to spur debates about whether blockchain technology could one day allow professors to reclaim greater control of how higher education operates through digital contracts.

 

The platform would essentially allow professors to organize their own colleges, and teach and take payments from students directly. “

 

 

 

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