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)

 

 

4 key tech strategies for the survival of the small liberal arts college — from campustechnology.com by Kellie B. Campbell
In a recent study on the use of technology to reduce academic costs in liberal arts colleges, four distinct themes emerged: the strategic role of IT; the importance of data; the potential of alternative education delivery modes; and opportunities for institutional partnerships. Here’s how IT leaders at these small colleges understand the future of their institutions.

Excerpt:

In this study, the flexibility of the semi-constructed interview format resulted in a fascinating level of honesty and bluntness from participants. In particular, participants’ language changed when they were asked to take off their professional hat and consider a new point of view — it was a chance to be vulnerable and honest. What was probably most interesting was that almost everyone signaled that the status quo is not sustainable. Something in the higher education model has to change for institutions to stay open, yet many lack a strategy for effecting change. Even if they do have a strategy in place on the business side, many are hesitant to dive into analysis and change on the academic side of the institution.

Institutions simply cannot continue to nibble at the edges of change. Significant change is needed in order to sustain the financial model of higher education. The ideas for doing so are out there, though the work must be guided by the institutional mission and consider new models for delivering education. CIOs and their departments can play an important role in that work — providing infrastructure, data, access, services and ideas — but institutional leadership at large needs to understand IT’s strategic role and position the organization to make that impact.

When participants were able to think about the “what if” question — what if the institution were forced to drastically cut academic costs — several had detailed, “out there” ideas that might not be traditionally welcomed into higher education cultures. Yet a number of participants were not being asked by their institutions to think about such ideas. The question is, if everyone agrees that the status quo is not sustainable, why aren’t they thinking about it?

 

 

Why AI is a threat to democracy — and what we can do to stop it — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao and Amy Webb

Excerpt:

Universities must create space in their programs for hybrid degrees. They should incentivize CS students to study comparative literature, world religions, microeconomics, cultural anthropology and similar courses in other departments. They should champion dual degree programs in computer science and international relations, theology, political science, philosophy, public health, education and the like. Ethics should not be taught as a stand-alone class, something to simply check off a list. Schools must incentivize even tenured professors to weave complicated discussions of bias, risk, philosophy, religion, gender, and ethics in their courses.

One of my biggest recommendations is the formation of GAIA, what I call the Global Alliance on Intelligence Augmentation. At the moment people around the world have very different attitudes and approaches when it comes to data collection and sharing, what can and should be automated, and what a future with more generally intelligent systems might look like. So I think we should create some kind of central organization that can develop global norms and standards, some kind of guardrails to imbue not just American or Chinese ideals inside AI systems, but worldviews that are much more representative of everybody.

Most of all, we have to be willing to think about this much longer-term, not just five years from now. We need to stop saying, “Well, we can’t predict the future, so let’s not worry about it right now.” It’s true, we can’t predict the future. But we can certainly do a better job of planning for it.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

C-Level View | Feature:
Technology Change: Closing the Knowledge Gap — A Q&A with Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpts:

Technology changes quickly. People change slowly. The rate of technology change often outpaces our ability to understand it.

It has caused a gap between what’s possible and what’s legal. For example, facial recognition seems to be starting to show up all around us — that’s what’s possible. But what’s legal?

The overarching questions are: What do we really want from these technologies? What kind of future do we want to live in?

Those law schools that expand their understanding of emerging technologies and lead the field in the exploration of related legal issues will achieve greater national prominence.

Daniel Christian

 

 

 

When the future comes to West Michigan, will we be ready?


 

UIX: When the future comes to West Michigan, will we be ready? — from rapidgrowthmedia.com by Matthew Russell

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

“Here in the United States, if we were to personify things a bit, it’s almost like society is anxiously calling out to an older sibling (i.e., emerging technologies), ‘Heh! Wait up!!!'” Christian says. “This trend has numerous ramifications.”

Out of those ramifications, Christian names three main points that society will have to address to fully understand, make use of, and make practical, future technologies.

  1. The need for the legal/legislative side of the world to close the gap between what’s possible and what’s legal
  2. The need for lifelong learning and to reinvent oneself
  3. The need to make pulse-checking/futurism an essential tool in the toolbox of every member of the workforce today and in the future

 

When the future comes to West Michigan, will we be ready?

Photos by Adam Bird

 

From DSC:
The key thing that I was trying to relay in my contribution towards Matthew’s helpful article was that we are now on an exponential trajectory of technological change. This trend has ramifications for numerous societies around the globe, and it involves the legal realm as well. Hopefully, all of us in the workforce are coming to realize our need to be constantly pulse-checking the relevant landscapes around us. To help make that happen, each of us needs to be tapping into the appropriate “streams of content” that are relevant to our careers so that our knowledgebases are as up-to-date as possible. We’re all into lifelong learning now, right?

Along these lines, increasingly there is a need for futurism to hit the mainstream. That is, when the world is moving at 120+mph, the skills and methods that futurists follow must be better taught and understood, or many people will be broadsided by the changes brought about by emerging technologies. We need to better pulse-check the relevant landscapes, anticipate the oncoming changes, develop potential scenarios, and then design the strategies to respond to those potential scenarios.

 

 

Training the workforce of the future: Education in America will need to adapt to prepare students for the next generation of jobs – including ‘data trash engineer’ and ‘head of machine personality design’– from dailymail.co.uk by Valerie Bauman

Excerpts:

  • Careers that used to safely dodge the high-tech bullet will soon require at least a basic grasp of things like web design, computer programming and robotics – presenting a new challenge for colleges and universities
  • A projected 85 percent of the jobs that today’s college students will have in 2030 haven’t been invented yet
  • The coming high-tech changes are expected to touch a wider variety of career paths than ever before
  • Many experts say American universities aren’t ready for the change because the high-tech skills most workers will need are currently focused just on people specializing in science, technology, engineering and math

.

 

 

The five most important new jobs in AI, according to KPMG — from qz.com by Cassie Werber

Excerpt:

Perhaps as a counter to the panic that artificial intelligence will destroy jobs, consulting firm KPMG published a list (on 1/8/19) of what it predicts will soon become the five most sought-after AI roles. The predictions are based on the company’s own projects and those on which it advises. They are:

  • AI Architect – Responsible for working out where AI can help a business, measuring performance and—crucially— “sustaining the AI model over time.” Lack of architects “is a big reason why companies cannot successfully sustain AI initiatives,” KMPG notes.
  • AI Product Manager – Liaises between teams, making sure ideas can be implemented, especially at scale. Works closely with architects, and with human resources departments to make sure humans and machines can all work effectively.
  • Data Scientist – Manages the huge amounts of available data and designs algorithms to make it meaningful.
  • AI Technology Software Engineer – “One of the biggest problems facing businesses is getting AI from pilot phase to scalable deployment,” KMPG writes. Software engineers need to be able both to build scalable technology and understand how AI actually works.
  • AI Ethicist – AI presents a host of ethical challenges which will continue to unfold as the technology develops. Creating guidelines and ensuring they’re upheld will increasingly become a full-time job.

 

While it’s all very well to list the jobs people should be training and hiring for, it’s another matter to actually create a pipeline of people ready to enter those roles. Brad Fisher, KPMG’s US lead on data and analytics and the lead author of the predictions, tells Quartz there aren’t enough people getting ready for these roles.

 

Fisher has a steer for those who are eyeing AI jobs but have yet to choose an academic path: business process skills can be “trained,” he said, but “there is no substitute for the deep technical skillsets, such as mathematics, econometrics, or computer science, which would prepare someone to be a data scientist or a big-data software engineer.”

 

From DSC:
I don’t think institutions of higher education (as well as several other types of institutions in our society) are recognizing that the pace of technological change has changed, and that there are significant ramifications to those changes upon society. And if these institutions have picked up on it, you can hardly tell. We simply aren’t used to this pace of change.

Technologies change quickly. People change slowly. And, by the way, that is not a comment on how old someone is…change is hard at almost any age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presentation Translator for PowerPoint — from Microsoft (emphasis below from DSC:)

Presentation Translator breaks down the language barrier by allowing users to offer live, subtitled presentations straight from PowerPoint. As you speak, the add-in powered by the Microsoft Translator live feature, allows you to display subtitles directly on your PowerPoint presentation in any one of more than 60 supported text languages. This feature can also be used for audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

Additionally, up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language, including the speaker’s language, on their phone, tablet or computer.

 

From DSC:
Up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language! Wow!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?! If this could also address learners and/or employees outside the room as well, this could be an incredibly powerful piece of a next generation, global learning platform! 

Automatic translation with subtitles — per the learner’s or employee’s primary language setting as established in their cloud-based learner profile. Though this posting is not about blockchain, the idea of a cloud-based learner profile reminds me of the following graphic I created in January 2017.

A couple of relevant quotes here:

A number of players and factors are changing the field. Georgia Institute of Technology calls it “at-scale” learning; others call it the “mega-university” — whatever you call it, this is the advent of the very large, 100,000-plus-student-scale online provider. Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn (U.K.) are among the largest providers. But individual universities such as Southern New Hampshire, Arizona State and Georgia Tech are approaching the “at-scale” mark as well. One could say that’s evidence of success in online learning. And without question it is.

But, with highly reputable programs at this scale and tuition rates at half or below the going rate for regional and state universities, the impact is rippling through higher ed. Georgia Tech’s top 10-ranked computer science master’s with a total expense of less than $10,000 has drawn more than 10,000 qualified majors. That has an impact on the enrollment at scores of online computer science master’s programs offered elsewhere. The overall online enrollment is up, but it is disproportionately centered in affordable scaled programs, draining students from the more expensive, smaller programs at individual universities. The dominoes fall as more and more high-quality at-scale programs proliferate.

— Ray Schroeder

 

 

Education goes omnichannel. In today’s connected world, consumers expect to have anything they want available at their fingertips, and education is no different. Workers expect to be able to learn on-demand, getting the skills and knowledge they need in that moment, to be able to apply it as soon as possible. Moving fluidly between working and learning, without having to take time off to go to – or back to – school will become non-negotiable.

Anant Agarwal

 

From DSC:
Is there major change/disruption ahead? Could be…for many, it can’t come soon enough.

 

 

Big tech may look troubled, but it’s just getting started — from nytimes.com by David Streitfeld

Excerpt:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley ended 2018 somewhere it had never been: embattled.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum say Big Tech, for so long the exalted embodiment of American genius, has too much power. Once seen as a force for making our lives better and our brains smarter, tech is now accused of inflaming, radicalizing, dumbing down and squeezing the masses. Tech company stocks have been pummeled from their highs. Regulation looms. Even tech executives are calling for it.

The expansion underlines the dizzying truth of Big Tech: It is barely getting started.

 

“For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”

 

Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

 

 

 

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