From DSC:
For those who work within higher education, my guess is that this phenomenon/message comes as no surprise. But for those outside of higher ed, can you blame young people — and their families — for giving up on a path because it appears too expensive? 


Perceptions of Affordability — from insidehighered.com by Elizabeth Redden
High school juniors who believe they can’t afford higher education are about 20 percentage points less likely to attend college within the first three years after high school than peers who don’t think affordability is a barrier.

 

NCDA | Career Convergence - The NCDA's monthly web magazine for career practitioners

NCDA | Career Convergence – The NCDA’s monthly web magazine for career practitioners

From DSC:
I like the continuum that I see here:

  • K-12
  • Postsecondary
  • Workplaces
  • Counselors, Researchers, etc.

We ask students in college, for example, to pay an enormous amount of money at a time when they don’t know what’s all out there. Many don’t know themselves yet (I surely didn’t) and they also don’t know what discipline/area/jobs might be a good fit (again, I surely didn’t). We need more seamless transitions from one chapter/phase to another (and sometimes back again). We need more resources for students to find out what’s out there.

This is why I like services like LinkedIn Learning (which was Lynda.com), MasterClass, MOOCs and the like. A person can spend an hour or two (or even less) to see if that class, topic, etc. is of interest to them.

 

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022 [Schaffhauser]

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022 — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Ask people working in higher education what they expect will happen in the new year, and the outlook is filled with visions that build on what we’ve been experiencing on college and university campuses for the last two years: a major focus on learning formats; continued exploitation of new technology; and the use of new digital models that move users “beyond Zoom.” Here we present the collective predictions of 14 IT leaders, instructional folks and a student about what they anticipate seeing in 2022. As one put it, “Let’s go, 2022! We have work to do!”

From DSC:
I’d like to thank Dian Schaffhauser, Rhea Kelly, and Mary Grush for letting me contribute some thoughts to the various conversations that Campus Technology Magazine hosts and/or initiates. I inserted some reflections into the above article and I hope that you’ll take a moment to read my and others’ thoughts out there.

 

2022: Year Of The Great Convergence — Volume IV, #1 by Ryan Craig

Excerpts:

Three sets of would-be pathway providers are converging on this massive opportunity. It’s going to get crowded very fast. Here’s the current landscape and prospects for each at the outset of the Great Convergence:

  1. Education-as-a-Benefit Providers
  2. Education Platform Companies
  3. Learning Experience Platforms

While one of these three sectors is likely to win the Great Convergence, there are two other possible outcomes.

 

American Bar Association (ABA) calls on lawyers to join push to tackle the student debt crisis — from abajournal.com by Reginald Turner

Excerpts:

Graduating from law school and starting a legal career should be an exciting and hopeful time. But for far too many, student debt causes apprehension and struggle.

A 2020 ABA survey found the average debt for law school graduates has increased to more than $150,000—a staggering amount that affects their personal and professional lives and adversely impacts the economy.

The survey found 95% of respondents borrowed money for their JD degrees. Of those who borrowed, more than 80% indicated student debt has disrupted the trajectory of their career or personal life, causing them to weigh salary more heavily in their job selection or put off home purchases, marriage, children or vacations.

While some law school graduates land high-paying jobs at big firms, that is not the reality for the majority. Many new lawyers work at lower-paying public sector jobs—at nonprofits serving disadvantaged individuals; in prosecutors’ and public defenders’ offices; and at local, state and federal government agencies.

 

From DSC:
As the article below clearly relays, MOOCs did NOT fail! In the last decade, they have reached 220 million learners worldwide!

I don’t know the total number of graduates from the Ivy League — throughout all of the relevant institutions’ histories — but I would bet you that MOOCs have reached far more learners. And MOOCs did so in less than a decade. 

And you’re going to tell me MOOCs have been a failure?!!!! Are you being serious!?!?!  You can talk about completion rates all that you want to (and that misses the point, as some people sign up for MOOCs without ever intending to finish the entire course). As with other things, people get out of something what they put into that thing.


A Decade of MOOCs: A Review of Stats and Trends for Large-Scale Online Courses in 2021 — from edsurge.com by Dhawal Shah

Excerpts:

Now, a decade later, MOOCs have reached 220 million learners, excluding China where we don’t have as reliable data, . In 2021, providers launched over 3,100 courses and 500 microcredentials.

Originally, MOOC providers relied on universities to create courses. But that dependence is declining as more and more of the courses are created by companies every year. These corporate partners in course creation include tech giants Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.

…the majority of the new courses launched on Coursera in 2021 are not from universities anymore.

These mass online courses were born without a business model. Yet within a decade, MOOCs went from no revenue to bringing in well over a half a billion dollars annually.

 

EDUCAUSE 2022 Top 10 IT Issues — from educause.edu

EDUCAUSE's 2022 Top 10 IT Issues

 

EDUCAUSE's 2022 Top 10 IT Issues

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The EDUCAUSE 2022 Top 10 IT Issues take an optimistic view of how technology can help create the higher education we deserve —through a shared transformational vision and strategy for the institution, a recognition of the need to place student success at the center, and a sustainable business model that redefines “the campus.”

See the 2022 Top 10 IT Issues

Almost two years into a global pandemic, it’s clear the higher education we knew will never return and now we can focus on getting the higher education we deserve.

 


From DSC:
I’m assuming that the we in the we deserve (as highlighted above) includes the students, as *the students* are the ones who most need for things to change.

That said, I’m doubtful such profound change will occur within higher education as it stands today. The existing cultures may prevent such significant and necessary change from occurring — and higher ed isn’t used to dealing with the current exponential pace of change that we’re experiencing. Plus, the downward spirals that many institutions are in don’t always allow for the new investments, programs, and/or experiments to occur. But who knows? When institutions of traditional higher education have their backs pressed up against the walls, perhaps such institutions and the people within them will be forced to change. There are innovative individuals and institutions out there. (I’m just not sure how much they’ve been listened to in many cases.)

To help students truly succeed means to change one’s core products/services — one’s story. But higher ed loves to play around the edges…rarely letting the core products/services get touched. 

To me, student success includes having students pay far less and, while still getting a solid liberal arts education/foundation, can get solid jobs immediately upon graduation. At least that’s my hope as we head into 2022. 

But what student success looks like may be different in the future.

Perhaps in 5 years, we will have moved much more towards a lifelong learning situation. Individuals may have joined a global, next-generation learning platform whereby one teaches for X minutes of the day, and learns for Y minutes of that same day. AI-based dashboards let people know which skills are in high demand, and then offer a menu of choices for how to acquire those skills.

A couple of lasts comments:

  • Being data-driven won’t save an institution. Vision might. But being data-driven has its limits.
  • The digital transformations being talked about within institutions of traditional higher education may be too little, too late. This conversation should have taken place a decade or more ago. (I think I just heard an “Amen!” from some folks who used to work at Blockbuster. They didn’t think a transformation was necessary either….but they learned their lesson the hard way. We should have learned from their situation…a long time ago. And I’m sure that you can think of other examples as well.)

 

Why Aren’t Professors Taught to Teach? — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Professors are experts in their subject matters but many have limited training in actually teaching their students.

Excerpt:

“A lot of faculty are just modeling their instruction after the instruction they’ve received as an undergraduate or graduate student,” says Tanya Joosten, senior scientist and director of digital learning at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the lead of the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements.

As a perpetually short-on-time adjunct professor, I understand those who worry about mandatory training and required course reviews, but Pelletier stresses that she’s advocating for a more organic shift and that a top-down approach isn’t best. “That’s not as collaborative and generative as really just embracing that we have these two different kinds of experts, one type of expert is an expert in their subject, and the other expert is an expert in teaching and learning,” she says. More attention is needed to meld these two kinds of expertise. 

From DSC:
It’s not just that colleges and universities are big business — if you have any remaining doubts about that perspective, take a moment to look at this new, interactive database to see what I mean. But it’s also that this type of business often rewards research, not teaching. And yet the students over the last several decades have continued to pay ever-increasing prices for skilled researchers, instead of increasingly skilled teachers. 

Healthcare and higher education face similar challenges and transformations -- costs continue to soar

Image from Inside Higher Ed

 

Would people put up with this with other types of purchases? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to…would you?  Would we like to pay for something that we aren’t getting — like paying for all the extra options on a new car, but not getting them?

What goes around, comes around.
But by allowing this to have occurred, a backlash against the value of higher education has been building for years now. In many learners’ minds, they are questioning whether it’s worth taking on (potentially) decades’ worth of debt. At a minimum, the higher the price of obtaining degrees and/or other credentials becomes, the less Return on Investment (ROI) is realized by the learners (i.e., the purchasers of these goods and services). So while getting a degree is often still worth it, the ROI is going down.
And this doesn’t address how relevant/up-to-date the educations are that these learners are receiving, which the employers out there will take issue with.

From an Instructional Designer’s perspective, it isn’t just time that’s the issue here. There continues to exist a tiered hierarchy within higher education. Faculty see themselves as more knowledgeable because they are teaching and because they are the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). But they are not expert teachers. Many full-time faculty members don’t listen to people who are knowledgeable in the learning science world, and they often don’t value that expertise. (This can be true of administrators as well.) But when a fellow faculty member (i.e., their “true peer” from their perspective) suggests the same idea that Instructional Designers have been recommending for years, they suddenly open their eyes and ears to see and hear this seemingly new, wonderful approach.

Some possible scenarios
Thus, a wave has been building against traditional institutions of higher education — readers of this blog will have picked up on this years ago. Once alternatives significantly hit the radar — ones that get the learners solid, good-paying jobs — there could be a mass exodus out of what we think of as traditional higher education. At least that’s one potential scenario.

For example, if a next-generation learning platform comes along that offers teams and individuals the ability to deliver lifelong learning at 50% or more off the price of an average degree, then be on the lookout for massive change. If professors and/or teams of specialists — those who are skilled in instructional design and teaching —  can go directly to their learners — it could be an interesting world indeed. (Outschool is like this, by the way.) In that scenario, below are two potential methods of providing what accreditation agencies used to provide:

  • Obtaining the skills and competencies being requested from the workplace to “pass the tests” (whatever those assessments turn out to be)
  • Voting a course up or down (i.e., providing crowd-sourced rating systems)

Other possible scenarios
Another scenario is that traditional institutions of higher education really kick their innovation efforts into high gear. They reward teaching. They develop less expensive methods of obtaining degrees. They truly begin delivering more cost-effective means of obtaining lifelong learning and development “channels” for educating people.

And there are other possible scenarios, some of which I could think of and many I would likely miss. But to even ask the solid and highly-relevant question as plainly stated in the article above — Why Aren’t Professors Taught to Teach? — that is something that must be dealt with. Those organizations that use a team-based approach are likely to be able to better answer and address that question.

 

College costs have increased by 169% since 1980—but pay for young workers is up by just 19%: Georgetown report — from cnbc.com by Abigail Johnson Hess

Excerpt:

The report, titled “If Not Now, When? The Urgent Need for an All-One-System Approach to Youth Policy,” breaks down seven trends that have made it difficult for workers to transition from education to the workforce since 1980.

“Postsecondary education policy has failed to keep higher education affordable even as formal education beyond high school has become more essential,” reads the report. “Today, two out of three jobs require postsecondary education and training, while three out of four jobs in the 1970s required a high school diploma or less. Yet while young people today need more education than ever to compete in the labor market, a college education is more expensive than in the past.”



Also see:

 

Why inexperienced workers can’t get entry-level jobs — from bbc.com by Kate Morgan; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpt:

As anyone who’s graduated from university or applied for their first job in recent years can attest to, something new – and alarming – has happened to entry-level jobs: they’ve disappeared.

A recent analysis of close to 4 million jobs posted on LinkedIn since late 2017 showed that 35% of postings for “entry-level” positions asked for years of prior relevant work experience. That requirement was even more common in certain industries. More than 60% of listings for entry-level software and IT Services jobs, for instance, required three or more years of experience. In short, it seems entry-level jobs aren’t for people just entering the workforce at all.

“Internships are now the entry level,” he says. “Most of the students in college are doing or trying to do internships, and now it’s increasingly common to do more than one.”

From DSC:
I love the idea of internships. (In my days in college, internships were reserved mainly for engineers; few of us had them back then.)

But with an eye on the cost of obtaining a degree, internships should be PAID internships. That is, interns should receive decent/proper compensation. I’m concerned that businesses will take advantage of free labor here (though that’s less likely given the tight labor market I suppose). But businesses have taken advantage of free labor in the past. “It takes a village…”

Also see:

 

Can colleges compete with companies like Coursera? — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Arthur Levine discusses how trends like personalized education are unfolding, what’s driving them, and what can go right or wrong for colleges.

Excerpt:

They say colleges will see their control over the market slip while consumers increase their power. New content producers like companies and museums are entering the postsecondary market. Students will often prioritize personalized education and low prices. Measuring learning by time in seats will transition to outcome-based education. Degrees won’t necessarily be the dominant form of credential anymore as students turn to “just-in-time education” that quickly teaches them the skills for microcredentials they need for the labor market.

For higher education to be successful, you have to have its feet in two worlds. One world is the library, and that’s human heritage. And the other is the street. That’s the real world, what’s happening now. It’s jobs, it’s the workplace.

What happens when we change quickly is we continue as institutions to keep our hold on the library, but we lose traction in the street.

Institutions have to reestablish their traction. They have to prepare students for careers. They have to prepare students for the world…

From DSC:
I also like the part where is says, “So you’ve got to ask yourself, what are they offering that would draw people there? One thing they are offering is 24/7. Another thing that they’re offering is unbundled. Another thing they’re offering is low cost, and that’s very appealing.”

 

Surviving Among the Giants — from chronicle.com by Scott Carlson
As growth has become higher ed’s mantra, some colleges seek to stay small.

Excerpts:

The pressures on the higher-education business model are changing those attitudes. The Council of Independent Colleges’ fastest-growing initiative is the Online Course Sharing Consortium, which allows small colleges to offer certain courses to students at other institutions. Currently, there are 2,200 enrollments among almost 6,000 courses on the platform.

“The higher-ed business model is broken,” says Jeffrey R. Docking, who has been president of Adrian College for 16 years. “But where it’s most broken — and the first ones that are going to walk the plank — are the small private institutions. The numbers just don’t work.” Combining some backroom functions or arranging consortial purchases is just “dabbling around the edges” — and won’t get close to driving down the cost of tuition by 30 to 40 percent over the next several years, which is what Docking believes is necessary.

From DSC:
Docking’s last (highlighted) sentence above reminds me of what I predicted back in 2008 when I was working for Calvin College. The vision I relayed in 2008 continues to come to fruition — albeit I’ve since changed the name of the vision.

Back in 2008 I predicted that we would see the days of tuition being cut by 50% or more

From DSC (cont’d):
I was trying to bring down the cost of higher education — which we did with Calvin Online for 4-5 years…before the administration,  faculty members, and even the leadership within our IT and HR Departments let Calvin Online die on the vine. This was a costly mistake for Calvin, as they later became a university — thus requiring that they get into more online-based learning in order to address the adult learner. Had they supported getting the online-based learning plane off the runway, they could have dovetailed nicely into becoming a university. But instead, they dissed the biggest thing to happen within education in the last 500 years (since the invention of the printing press). 

Which brings me to one last excerpted quote here:

“For so many years,” Docking says, “all of these really smart people in Silicon Valley, at the University of Phoenix, at for-profits were saying, We’re going to do it better” — and they came around with their “solutions” in the form of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, and other scaling plans. Small colleges didn’t want to hear it, and, Docking says, maybe it was to their peril.

 

From DSC:
My answer to the question “Is Accreditation a Barrier to Innovation?” would be “Yes, it is.” But admittedly, maybe that’s because I work for a law school these days…and in the legal education realm (as controlled by the American Bar Association), there is YET to be a fully 100% online-based Juris Doctor (JD) degree that I’m aware of. There are some schools that have applied for “variances,” but we’re talking 20+ years after institutions of higher education introduced online-based learning! Those programs who have applied for variances are under an incredible amount of scrutiny by the American Bar Association, that’s for sure. So the legal realm is NOT doing well with innovation.

But in regards to other areas of higher ed and its accrediting bodies…I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me that the run-up in the price of higher education over the last several decades had nothing to do with HE’s accrediting bodies and either their support of — or their lack of support of — those organizations who were trying to introduce something new.

But along these lines, I’d like to hear from folks like:

  • Burck Smith from Straighterline on his perspectives and his company’s experiences with the various accrediting bodies that Straighterline has had to deal with. His insights here would carry a significant impact/weight for me.
  • Or perhaps someone like James DeVaney from University of Michingan’s Center for Academic Innovation or Joshua Kim who writes about higher education and edtech/online learning
  • Or folks like Mary Grush or Rhea Kelly at CampusTechnology.com
  • Surveying organizations who could speak for a massive group of students/learners/employees
  • …and/or other folks who are either trying to innovate within the existing systems, have heard from both sides of the table here, and/or have tried and failed to innovate within the existing structures

We’ll see if institutions of traditional higher education can reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant and survive (especially colleges and universities…not so much the community colleges). The accreditation bodies will have a large part in whether this happens…or not.

Along these lines…let’s see what happens to the growth of alternatives to those types of institutions as well.

 

Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work — from McKinsey & Company; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpts:

Our findings help define the particular skills citizens are likely to require in the future world of work and suggest how proficiency in them can influence work-related outcomes, namely employment, income, and job satisfaction. This, in turn, suggests three actions governments may wish to take.

  1. Reform education systems
  2. Reform adult-training systems
  3. Ensure affordability of lifelong education

Establish an AI aggregator of training programs to attract adult learners and encourage lifelong learning. AI algorithms could guide users on whether they need to upskill or reskill for a new profession and shortlist relevant training programs. 

Foundational skills that will help citizens thrive in the future of work


From DSC:
No one will have all 56 skills that McKinsey recommends here. So (HR) managers, please don’t load up your job postings with every single skill listed here. The search for purple unicorns can get tiring, old, and discouraging for those who are looking for work.

That said, much of what McKinsey’s research/data shows — and what their recommendations are — resonates with me. And that’s why I keep adding to the developments out at:

Learning from the living class room

A powerful, global, next-generation learning platform — meant to help people reinvent themselves quickly, safely, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently!!!

 

OPINION: Meet certificates and “microcredentials” — they could be the future of higher education — from hechingerreport.org by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt
In years to come, they will become prevalent — and possibly preferred — to college degrees

Excerpt:

What is new is that we are calling them badges and microcredentials and using them primarily to certify specific skills, such as cross-cultural competency, welding and conversational Spanish.

So what are they? Microcredentials are certifications of mastery; badges verify the attainment of specific competencies.

No matter what we are calling them, they may be here to stay.

We now live in a time that is more open to rethinking college and university credentials. We are witnessing experimentation with competency-based education, through which students earn credits by demonstrating skills instead of spending time in courses. We are also seeing discussion of free or reduced tuition, along with subscription pricing that lets students take as many courses as they like for one low cost.

Also see:

Can an AI tutor teach your child to read? — from hechingerreport.org by Jackie Mader
Some AI reading programs are boosting early literacy skills

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence has been used for years in education to monitor teaching quality, teach classes, grade assignments and tailor instruction to student ability levels. Now, a small but growing number of programs are attempting to use AI to target reading achievement in the early years — a longstanding struggle for America’s schools.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian