Unbundled: Designing Personalized Pathways for Every Learner — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen “with contributions from the Getting Smart team and numerous friends and partners in the field”

Excerpts:

In this publication, we articulate the critical steps needed to unbundle the learning ecosystem, build core competencies, design learning experiences, curate new opportunities, and rebundle these experiences into coherent pathways.
.

Building the Unbundled Ecosystem

Vision

Every learner deserves an unlimited number of unbundled opportunities to explore, engage, and define experiences that advance their progress along a co-designed educational pathway. Each pathway provides equitable and personalized access to stacked learning experiences leading to post-secondary credentials and secure family-sustaining employment. Throughout the journey, supportive coaches focus on helping learners build skills to navigate with agency. In parallel, learners develop foundational skills (literacy, math), technical skills, and durable skills and connect these to challenging co-designed experiences. The breadth and depth of experiences increase over time, and, in partnership, learners and coaches map progress towards reaching community-defined goals. This vision is only enabled by an unbundled learning ecosystem.

Recommendations

Solutions already exist in the ecosystem and need to be combined and scaled. Funding models (like My Tech High), badging/credentialing at the competency level (like VLACS), coaching models (like Big Thought), and open ecosystems (like NH Learn Everywhere) provide an excellent foundation. Thus, building unbundled systems has already begun but needs systemic changes to become widely available and accepted.

      1. Build a robust competency-based system.
      2. Create a two-way marketplace for unbundled learning.
      3. Implement policy to support credit for out-of-system experiences.
      4. Invest in technology infrastructure for Learning and Employment Records.
      5. Design interoperable badging systems that connect to credentials.
 

What is college for? Gov. Shapiro raises the question. Higher ed leaders are listening. — from The Philadelphia Inquirer by Will Bunch; with thanks to Ray Schroeder out on LinkedIn for the resource
Pa.’s new governor Josh Shapiro’s first move was to question the need of a college diploma as a job credential. U.S. universities, pay attention.

Excerpt:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — What is college actually for?

No one expected this to be the initial question raised by Pennsylvania’s new governor, Josh Shapiro, in his first full day on the job. While he may not have stated it explicitly, this was the essence of the Democrat’s very first executive order, which opened up some 92% of job listings in state government — about 65,000 in all — to applicants who don’t have a four-year college degree.

In branding degree requirements for many jobs as “arbitrary” and declaring “there are many different pathways to success,” the Keystone State’s new chief executive was tugging at the shaky Jenga block that has undergirded the appalling rise of a $1.75 trillion student debt bomb in the U.S. and led, arguably, to a college/non-college divide driving our nation’s bitter politics. The notion is this: You can’t make it in 21st-century America without that most expensive piece of sheepskin: the college diploma.

So the $64,000 question (OK, $80,000 … for one year on some elite private campuses) is this: If you don’t need the credential, do you actually need college?

Something is clearly gained by giving America’s young people more career options that won’t contribute to that $1.75 trillion college debt bomb. But are we talking enough about what could be lost in a new system that not only devalues the university but also seems to ratify a dubious idea — that higher education is almost solely about careerism, and not the wider knowledge and critical-thinking skills that come from liberal arts learning?

From DSC:
To me — and to many other parents and families — it all boils down to the price tag of obtaining a liberal arts education. It’s one thing to get a liberal arts education at $5K per year. It’s another thing when the pricetag runs at $40K and above (per year)! Most people ARE FORCED to question the ROI of a liberal arts education. They simply have to.

On a relevant tangent here…many inside the academy have traditionally looked with disdain at the corporate world. The thinking went something like this:

Business! Ha! We are not a business! Students are not customers. Don’t ever compare us to the corporate world.

Having spent half of my career in the corporate world, I do not subscribe to that perspective. In fact, I’d like to ask those who still hold this point of view:
  • Where else can you pay tens of thousands of dollars for something and not be treated as a customer?! Don’t you typically expect value on your own purchases and positive returns on your investments?
  • How will you collaborate with the corporate world if you look upon them with disdain?!

But now that colleges and universities enrollments are not doing so well, perhaps there will be more openness to change and towards developing more impactful collaborations.

 

Top edtech trends in 2023 and the ASU example — from news.asu.edu

Excerpt:

In spite of our tendency to break things down into tidy time frames, like a new year or academic semester, change constantly turns over the status quo. Especially in the world of technology, where disruptive innovation may evolve rapidly from the fringe to the mainstream.

“At ASU’s Enterprise Technology, we work in spaces where technology is not just revolutionizing higher education, but the world at large,” said Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Arizona State University. “We strive to be proactive, not reactive, to new paradigms changing the ways in which we work, learn and thrive.”

As referenced by the above article:

Thus, the top higher education technology trends to watch out for in 2023 include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Digital Twins, the Metaverse (including digital avatars and NFT art for use in the Metaverse and other Web3-based virtual environments), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Cloud, Gamification, and Chatbots. These technologies will support the expansion of the Digital Transformation of higher education going forward.

Also relevant/see:

 

 

14 Technology Predictions for Higher Education in 2023 — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
How will technologies and practices like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, digital transformation, and change management impact colleges and universities this year? Here’s what the experts told us.

Excerpt:

In an open call on LinkedIn, we asked higher education and ed tech industry leaders to forecast the most important trends to watch in the coming year. Their responses reflect both the challenges on the horizon — persistent cyber attacks, the disruptive force of emerging technologies, failures in project management — as well as the opportunities that technology brings to better serve students and support the institutional mission. Here are 14 predictions to help steer your technology efforts in 2023.

 

Adult learners can help solve higher education’s enrollment crisis. But here’s what colleges will need to know. — from by Terah Crews
A slowing economy could push employees back to college, but institutions still have work to do to serve adult students, the CEO of ReUp Education writes.

Excerpts:

If the U.S. economy contracts over the next year or two, as a majority of experts anticipate, there will be an enormous need for education and training. Workers will want to reskill and retrain for a reshaped world of work. Colleges and universities will have a critical role to play in getting Americans back to work and on a path toward more stable careers.

The 39 million Americans with some college but no credential will be the key to recovery, and colleges and universities must redouble their efforts to get these learners back in school and on a path toward new careers.

From DSC:
Given the above is true/occurs, my question is this: Has higher ed kept up curriculum- and content-wise?

 

From DSC:
Our son recently took a 3-day intensive course on the Business of Acting. It was offered by the folks at “My College Audition” — and importantly, the course was not offered by the university where he is currently working on a BFA in Acting. By the way, aspiring performing arts students may find this site very beneficial/helpful as well. (Example blog posting here.)

mycollegeaudition.com/

The course was actually three hours of learning on a Sunday night, a Monday night, and a Tuesday night from 6-9pm.

The business of acting -- a 3-day virtual intensive course from mycollegeaudition.com

He learned things that he mentioned have not been taught in his undergrad program (at least not so far). When I asked him what he liked most about the course, he said:

  • These people are out there doing this (DSC insert: To me, this sounds like the use of adjunct faculty in higher ed)
  • There were 9 speakers in the 9 hours of classtime
  • They relayed plenty of resources that were very helpful and practical. He’s looking forward to pursuing these leads further.

He didn’t like that there were no discussion avenues/forums available. And as a paying parent, I didn’t like that we had to pay for yet another course and content that he wasn’t getting at his university. It may be that the university that he’s studying at will offer such a course later in the curriculum. But after two years of college experience, he hasn’t come across anything this practical and he is eagerly seeking out this type of practical/future-focused information. In fact, it’s critical to him staying with acting…or not. He needs this information sooner in his program.

It made me reflect on the place of adjunct faculty within higher education — folks who are out there “doing” what they are teaching about. They tend to be more up-to-date in their real-world knowledge. Sabbaticals are helpful in this regard for full-time faculty, but they don’t come around nearly enough to keep one’s practical, career-oriented knowledgebase up-to-date.

Again, this dilemma is to be expected, given our current higher education learning ecosystem. Faculties’ plates are full. They don’t have time to pursue this kind of endeavor in addition to their daily responsibilities. Staff aren’t able to be out there “doing” these things either.

This brings me back to design thinking. We’ve got to come up with better ways of offering student-centered education, programming, and content/resources.

My son walked away shaking his head a bit regarding his current university. At a time when students and families are questioning the return on their investments in traditional institutions of higher education, this issue needs to be taken very seriously. 


Also potentially relevant for some of the performing arts students out there:


 

Skills, Skills, Skills Now is the time. — from by Katelyn Donnelly and Eric Scott Lavin
Skills matter more than ever.

Excerpt:

For years, the importance of building demonstrable skills has been growing. The research is clear: skills acquired through work experience increase lifetime earnings. Yet, a massive shift in how learners, educators, and employers think about skills is just beginning.

Three subtrends set the stage for a massive inflection point in how we think about skills…

Learning will be the only constant throughout a career.  Success in the modern workforce is learning experiences to build skills, and the best way to build skills is to do real-world projects.

Below is a sampling of organizations and companies pushing the boundaries. Some of these are established players with mature businesses and tested business models.

Also relevant/see:

The Job Skills of 2023 — from Coursera

The job skills of 2023 -- from Coursera

Excerpt from the Executive Summary Section

  1. The fastest-growing skills are digital skills
    The top ten overall fastest-growing skills are digital skills. The ongoing evolution of technology means employers are regularly seeking new digital competencies from potential hires while also reskilling existing workers.
  2. The fastest-growing digital skills are changing more significantly than the fastest-growing human skills
    The top ten digital skills vary significantly from last year—only two have carried over year-on-year: data visualization and user experience. The human skills in demand remain steadier, suggesting an evergreen demand for skills like change management and communication.

The job skills of 2023 -- from Coursera

 

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch — from educause.edu

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch

Also see:

2023 Strategic Trends Glossary — from educause.edu

Excerpts:

  • Closer alignment of higher education with workforce needs and skills-based learning
  • Continuation and normalization of hybrid and online learning
  • Continued adoption and normalization of hybrid and remote work arrangements
  • Continued resignation and migration of leaders and staff from higher education institutions
  • Declining public funding for higher education
  • …and more
 

The Job: Online Certifications #85? DEC 1, 2022 — from getrevue.co by Paul Fain
Growing interest in online training for medical certifications and a private university that’s offering credit for MedCerts and other microcredentials.

Excerpt:

‘Train and Hire’ in Healthcare
The nation’s healthcare system continues to strain amid a severe staffing crisis. And the mounting desperation is prodding some employers to get more creative about how they hire, train, and retain healthcare workers.

MedCerts has seen growing demand for its online certification training, with strong interest in the 28-week medical assistant and 12-week phlebotomy technician programs.

The company has enrolled 55K students and roughly doubled its offerings during the last two years. Its fastest-growing segment is the train-and-hire model, where employers cover the full tuition and training costs for students.

“We are now helping several hundred people every month move from education to high-demand careers, and our pace and scale are still growing,” says Rafael Castaneda, MedCerts’ vice president of workforce development.

Stride Inc., a large online K-12 education provider, acquired MedCerts in 2020 for roughly $80M. The company’s 50+ self-paced career training programs in healthcare, IT, and professional development typically cost $4K in tuition and other fees. Most can be completed in six months, and the company offers on-demand support to all students for a year regardless of their program’s length.

 

Accelerated Learning — Schools’ Answer for ‘Learning Loss’ — Hits Some Speed Bumps — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

The main finding? Accelerated learning simply requires more. More staff, more resources, more energy, more buy-in from teachers.

As district leaders talked about their day-to-day realities, they shared how those things were all tough to come by when everyone in the system was already stretched thin.

Not necessarily related to the above item, but I wanted to pass this one along to you as well:

QAA Report on Badging and Micro-Credentialing: How Education and Employment Can Benefit from Using Skills Profiles  — from gettingsmart.com by Rupert Ward

Key Points

  • Skills profiles make it easier for educators and employers to understand how skills gained in learning can be transferred to those required in earning.
  • This QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project Report demonstrates both how badges and microcredentials can be incorporated into a range of higher education courses and, through doing this, how we can ultimately personalise learning and earning.
 

Are Microcredentials Finally Gaining Traction? — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim

Excerpt:

This month, the London School of Economics expanded its degree partnership with 2U to launch a series of edX microcredentials that provide learners with a flexible, stackable pathway towards pursuing a fully online undergraduate education. Wim Van der Stede, LSE’s new academic dean for extended education, graciously agreed to answer my questions about these new programs.

In that time, we’ve seen the power that online learning has to meet learners’ needs at every stage of their lives and careers.

The world around us is changing, rapidly, and we need to support professionals, alumni and students in refreshing and adapting their knowledge and skills, as and when they need, through evolving lives and careers. This is at the heart of LSE’s mission as a global social science hub of research and education, and plays a key role in achieving our mission to educate for impact by empowering students to develop the skills to solve society’s most pressing issues in an ever-changing world.


A side thought from DSC:
Speaking of Economics, I wonder if and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact the field of Economics?


 

With Google’s latest push, a blending of industry and higher ed — from workshift.opencampusmedia.org by Elyse Ashburn
Google’s new industry specializations were co-built by its experts and faculty at four top universities—part of a larger push to combine forces with higher education to drive economic mobility.

Excerpt:

Google is making a bigger push into higher education, partnering with name-brand universities to offer more advanced credentials that build on its signature Career Certificates program. The four new industry specializations—for fields like construction management and financial analysis—were co-designed by Google’s technical experts and university faculty with subject matter expertise.

The specializations are open to anybody on Coursera’s platform, and typically cost several hundred dollars to complete.

It’s a blending of industry and academic expertise—with an eye toward helping more Americans get high-demand jobs—that Gevelber calls a tipping point for higher education.

 

2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Action Plan: Hybrid Learning — from library.educause.edu

Excerpts:

Building on the trends, technologies, and practices described in the 2022 Horizon Report: Teaching and Learning Edition, the panel crafted its vision of the future along with practical action items the teaching and learning community can employ to make this future a reality. Any stakeholder in higher education who teaches in or supports hybrid learning modalities will find this report helpful in preparing for the future of hybrid learning. The future we want is within reach, but only if we work together.

Asked to describe the goals and elements of hybrid learning that they would like to see 10 years from now, panelists collaboratively constructed their preferred future for institutions, students, instructors, and staff.

Institutions

  • Higher education is available on demand.
  • Learning is not measured by seat time.
  • Collaboration across institutions facilitates advancement.
  • College and university campuses are not the sole locations for learning spaces.

Students, Instructors, and Staff

  • Everything is hybrid.
  • Student equity is centered in all modalities.
  • Professional development is ongoing, integrated, and valued.
 

U-M partners with Google to offer job-ready tech skills program — from record.umich.edu by Sean Corp

Excerpt:

A new flexible online training program on data science will prepare job-seekers in Michigan and beyond to quickly enter one of the fastest-growing labor markets and advance their careers.

The Center for Academic Innovation created the program, “Data Analytics in the Public Sector with R,” for data science and other professionals interested in how public data sets can drive decisions and policymaking in the public sector. The course complements current Google career certificates, flexible online “Grow with Google” job-training programs for high-demand fields.

Also relevant/see:

Google Cloud and edX Partner to Launch Cloud Computing Professional Certificate — from prnewswire.com 2U, Inc.

Excerpt:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Google Cloud and edX, a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU), today announced the launch of a Professional Certificate program in Google Cloud Computing Foundations. The certificate will bring edX’s global community of 45 million learners access to skills that are central to cloud basics, big data, machine learning, and where and how Google Cloud fits in. Registration is open today at www.edx.org, with courses beginning November 2022.

“We are excited to launch our Google Cloud training content on the edX platform,” said Chris Pirie, Director of Google Cloud Learning Profile and Partnerships. “This partnership presents a fantastic opportunity for learners around the world to build in-demand cloud skills on a proven learning platform.”

 

Amazon ups its cloud training investments — from workshift.opencampusmedia.org by Byelyse Ashburn
Amazon Web Services just launched a new skills center near D.C. and is expanding both its in-person and online training programs for cloud careers.

Excerpt:

The big idea: The skills center is just one part of AWS’ plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars providing free training in cloud computing to 29 million people globally by 2025. In the past year, the company has dramatically increased its free cloud skills offerings, adding AWS Skill Builder, an online library of 500-plus self-paced courses. It’s also twice expanded re/Start, its cohort-based training program for workers who are unemployed or underemployed.

Thus far, the company has helped more than 13 million people gain cloud skills for free through its various offerings—seven million more than this time last year.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian