How Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods highlights the hybrid, ‘omnichannel’ future of higher ed — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher

Excerpt:

The expectation that students can integrate their learning experiences across channels is now arriving in higher education. Online education has reached a tipping point where almost 30 percent of all students in U.S. higher education are enrolled in at least one online college course. A significant number of students are already blending their experience across online and offline channels—and numerous data points speak to the evolving value of blending online delivery with physical presence, as suggested by Amazon.

In national surveys of prospective adult students that we have conducted regularly at Northeastern University over recent years, we have consistently found that 60 percent of students prefer a blended or hybrid learning experience. In other words, the majority of the higher education student market is neglected by today’s dominant approach that focuses on offering either online or in-person programs.

Like Amazon, the colleges and universities that are able to deliver across channels—leveraging the combination of physical presence and online algorithms—will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of the in-demand, destination nature of studying in certain cities; the local sourcing of faculty; and proximity to key employers, industries, and job opportunities.

 

Over the next decade, growth and competitive success in higher education will not be a function of who is able to offer online programs. Instead, the successful institutions will be those who can symbiotically integrate their placed-based educational operations and experiences with software-driven analytics, learning science, and machine learning to create a more personalized experience. A more Amazon-like experience.

 

 


From DSC:
A few side comments here:

  1. The future won’t be kind to those institutions who haven’t built up their “street cred” in the digital/virtual space. For example, if you are working at a traditional institution of higher education that doesn’t have online-based programs — nor does it have plans to create such programs in the future — you should get your resume up-to-date and start looking…now.
    .
  2. For data/analytics to have a significant impact and inform strategic or pedagogical decisions, one needs to collect the data. This is not hard to do online. But it’s very difficult — at least at a granular level — to do in a face-to-face environment.
    .
  3. Coursera’s MeetUps around the world — where their learners are encouraged to join study and discussion groups related to their online-only courses — make me wonder about the future of learning spaces and whether your local Starbucks might morph into a learning hub.

 

 

 


 

 

 

The future of work: Death of the single skill set in the age of automation — from forbes.com by Jeanne Meister

Excerpt:

The future of work is here today, and the nature of both manufacturing and knowledge jobs will never be the same. According to a McKinsey analysis of 2,000 different work activities across 800 occupations, automation will change virtually every job across all occupations. Specifically, McKinsey found that in about 60% of occupations, 30% of tasks could be handed over to robots and bots. “More occupations will change,” the report concludes, “than will be automated away.”

Other sources have predicted that automation of professional knowledge economy jobs in the United States will be more than 10 times as large as the number of manufacturing jobs automated to date.

 

 

So how does one prepare for this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of work? I believe by understanding a simple fact: across many jobs there is a “death of a single skill set,” and what has made you employable today will not be enough to ensure you are employable tomorrow.

 

 

According to recent research by MIT,  90% of executives believe their businesses are being disrupted or reinvented by digital business models, and 70% believe they do not have the right skills.

 

 

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs [Meghan Bogardus Cortez at edtechmagazine.com]

 

The 2017 Dean’s List: EdTech’s 50 Must-Read Higher Ed Blogs — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
These administrative all-stars, IT gurus, teachers and community experts understand how the latest technology is changing the nature of education.

Excerpt:

With summer break almost here, we’ve got an idea for how you can use some of your spare time. Take a look at the Dean’s List, our compilation of the must-read blogs that seek to make sense of higher education in today’s digital world.

Follow these education trailblazers for not-to-be-missed analyses of the trends, challenges and opportunities that technology can provide.

If you’d like to check out the Must-Read IT blogs from previous years, view our lists from 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

 

 



From DSC:
I would like to thank Tara Buck, Meghan Bogardus Cortez, D. Frank Smith, Meg Conlan, and Jimmy Daly and the rest of the staff at EdTech Magazine for their support of this Learning Ecosystems blog through the years — I really appreciate it. 

Thanks all for your encouragement through the years!



 

 

 

 

Most Millennials Are Finding It Hard to Transition Into Adulthood: Report — from nbcnews.com by Safia Samee Ali

Excerpt:

“It became too difficult financially to be in school and not working,” says Kaylor, who dropped out of Lincoln Christian University, in Illinois, after one semester because of a money crunch. “And without schooling, you can’t get a job that you can survive on, so I had to move back home,” he said.

From DSC:
Let’s pause right there. If higher ed is the gatekeeper into better salaries/wage rates — i.e., the ability to make a living — then it must be affordable. Higher education has a big piece of this current situation. This is why a backlash against traditional institutions of higher education continues to build. When a lower cost “Amazon.com of Higher Education” comes along, many will take that route. Just sayin’.

“In 1975, only 25 percent of men aged 25 to 34 had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men,” according to the report.

In 2015, one-third or about 24 million young adults, ranging from 18 to 34, lived with their parents, according to the report.

 

“These individuals are the first to go through new demands in a drastically different job force than from one generation prior,” he said. So it’s no surprise the transition has been bumpy for many.

 

 

 

 

The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training — from by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson
As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks and there is massive disruption of jobs, experts say a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demands. There are two uncertainties: Will well-prepared workers be able to keep up in the race with AI tools? And will market capitalism survive?

Excerpt:

Machines are eating humans’ jobs talents. And it’s not just about jobs that are repetitive and low-skill. Automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in recent times have shown they can do equal or sometimes even better work than humans who are dermatologists, insurance claims adjusters, lawyers, seismic testers in oil fields, sports journalists and financial reporters, crew members on guided-missile destroyers, hiring managers, psychological testers, retail salespeople, and border patrol agents. Moreover, there is growing anxiety that technology developments on the near horizon will crush the jobs of the millions who drive cars and trucks, analyze medical tests and data, perform middle management chores, dispense medicine, trade stocks and evaluate markets, fight on battlefields, perform government functions, and even replace those who program software – that is, the creators of algorithms.

Several policy and market-based solutions have been promoted to address the loss of employment and wages forecast by technologists and economists. A key idea emerging from many conversations, including one of the lynchpin discussions at the World Economic Forum in 2016, is that changes in educational and learning environments are necessary to help people stay employable in the labor force of the future. Among the six overall findings in a new 184-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, the experts recommended: “The education system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market. At the same time, recent IT advances offer new and potentially more widely accessible ways to access education.”

 

 

In the next 10 years, do you think we will see the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future?

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
The following questions (from the article) might be fodder for initial conversations regarding what changes need to immediately occur within higher education. Those changes might be to establish teams/task forces/etc. charged with answering these kinds of questions.

  • What are the most important skills needed to succeed in the workforce of the future?
  • Which of these skills can be taught effectively via online systems – especially those that are self-directed – and other nontraditional settings?
  • Which skills will be most difficult to teach at scale?
  • Will employers be accepting of applicants who rely on new types of credentialing systems, or will they be viewed as less qualified than those who have attended traditional four-year and graduate programs?

The following section further supports a vision that I’ve been tracking entitled, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” — where I see the “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” unfolding. Blockchain-based technologies will likely be involved here.

A diversifying education and credentialing ecosystem: Most of these experts expect the education marketplace – especially online learning platforms – to continue to change in an effort to accommodate the widespread needs.  Some predict employers will step up their own efforts to train and retrain workers. Many foresee a significant number of self-teaching  efforts by jobholders themselves as they take advantage of proliferating online opportunities.

Respondents see a new education and training ecosystem emerging in which some job preparation functions are performed by formal educational institutions in fairly traditional classroom settings, some elements are offered online, some are created by for-profit firms, some are free, some exploit augmented and virtual reality elements and gaming sensibilities, and a lot of real-time learning takes place in formats that job seekers pursue on their own.

A considerable number of respondents to this canvassing focused on the likelihood that the best education programs will teach people how to be lifelong learners. Accordingly, some say alternative credentialing mechanisms will arise to assess and vouch for the skills people acquire along the way.

 

 

DC: Many societies around the globe are looking at massive change coming at them. What changes should those of us working in higher education begin to make — immediately? In the longer term?

 



 

 

These respondents suggest that workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments.

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/6/17:

  • How to Prepare for an Automated Future — from nytimes.com by Claire Cain Miller
    Excerpt:
    We don’t know how quickly machines will displace people’s jobs, or how many they’ll take, but we know it’s happening — not just to factory workers but also to money managers, dermatologists and retail workers. The logical response seems to be to educate people differently, so they’re prepared to work alongside the robots or do the jobs that machines can’t. But how to do that, and whether training can outpace automation, are open questions.

 

 

 

Brace yourselves: AI is set to explode in higher ed in the next 4 years –from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
As AI grows in the education sector, its impact could be felt in student learning programs, websites and admissions programs

Excerpt:

A new report predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) in the U.S. education sector will grow 47.5 percent through 2021.

The report, Artificial Intelligence Market in the U.S. Education Sector 2017-2021, is based on in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts.

One of the major trends surrounding AI and education is AI-powered educational games. Because games have the potential to engage students while teaching them challenging education concepts in an engaging manner, vendors are incorporating AI features into games to enhance their interactivity.

Educational games that include adaptive learning features give students frequent and timely suggestions for a guided learning experience.

 

From DSC:
I can’t say how many AI-based solutions we’ll see within higher education in the next 4 years…it could be a lot…it could be a little. But it will happen. At some point, it will happen.

The use of AI will likely play a key role in a future organization that I’m calling the Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.  AI will likely serve as a foundational piece of what futurist Thomas Frey claims will be the largest company on the internet: “an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.” (source)

Web-based learner profiles and blockchain-based technologies should also be on our radars, and are relevant in this discussion.

 

Also see:

Key questions answered in this report

  • What will the market size be in 2021 and what will the growth rate be?
  • What are the key market trends?
  • What is driving this market?
  • What are the challenges to market growth?
  • Who are the key vendors in this market space?
  • What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the key vendors?

 

 

 

Q&A: Artificial Intelligence Expert Shares His Vision of the Future of Education — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Artificial intelligence expert Joseph Qualls believes AI can solve some of the biggest challenges facing higher education — and the change is already underway.

Excerpts:

EDTECH: What AI applications might we see in higher education?

QUALLS: You are going to see a massive change in education from K–12 to the university. The thought of having large universities and large faculties teaching students is probably going to go away — not in the short-term, but in the long-term. You will have a student interact with an AI system that will understand him or her and provide an educational path for that particular student. Once you have a personalized education system, education will become much faster and more enriching. You may have a student who can do calculus in the sixth grade because AI realized he had a mathematical sense. That personalized education is going to change everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
First of all, let me say again that I’m not suggesting that we replace professors with artificial intelligence, algorithms, and such.

However, given a variety of trends, we need to greatly lower the price of obtaining a degree and these types of technologies will help us do just that — while at the same time significantly increasing the productivity of each professor and/or team of specialists offering an online-based course (something institutions of higher education are currently attempting to do…big time). Not only will these types of technologies find their place in the higher education landscape, I predict that they will usher in a “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” — a new organization that will cause major disruption for traditional institutions of higher education. AI-powered MOOCs will find their place on the higher ed landscape; just how big they become remains to be seen, but this area of the landscape should be on our radars from here on out.

This type of development again points the need for team-based
approaches; s
uch approaches will likely dominate the future.

 

 


 

California State University East Bay partners with Cognii to offer artificial intelligence powered online learning — from prnewswire.com
Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology will provide intelligent tutoring and assessments to students in a chatbot-style conversation

Excerpt:

HAYWARD, Calif., April 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cal State East Bay, a top-tier public university, and Cognii Inc., a leading provider of artificial intelligence-based educational technologies, today announced a partnership. Cognii will work with Cal State East Bay to develop a new learning and assessment experience, powered by Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology.

Winner of the 2016 EdTech Innovation of the Year Award from Mass Technology Leadership Council for its unique use of conversational AI and Natural Language Processing technologies in education, Cognii VLA provides automatic grading to students’ open-response answers along with qualitative feedback that guides them towards conceptual mastery. Compared to the multiple choice tests, open-response questions are considered pedagogically superior for measuring students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, essential for 21st century jobs.

Students at Cal State East Bay will use the Cognii-powered interactive tutorials starting in summer as part of the online transfer orientation course. The interactive questions and tutorials will be developed collaboratively by Cognii team and the eLearning specialists from the university’s office of the Online Campus. Students will interact with the questions in a chatbot-style natural language conversation during the formative assessment stage. As students practice the tutorials, Cognii will generate rich learning analytics and proficiency measurements for the course leaders.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
The recent pieces below made me once again reflect on the massive changes that are quickly approaching — and in some cases are already here — for a variety of nations throughout the world.

They caused me to reflect on:

  • What the potential ramifications for higher education might be regarding these changes that are just starting to take place in the workplace due to artificial intelligence (i.e., the increasing use of algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning, etc.), automation, & robotics?
  • The need for people to reinvent themselves quickly throughout their careers (if we can still call them careers)
  • How should we, as a nation, prepare for these massive changes so that there isn’t civil unrest due to soaring inequality and unemployment?

As found in the April 9th, 2017 edition of our local newspaper here:

When even our local newspaper is picking up on this trend, you know it is real and has some significance to it.

 

Then, as I was listening to the radio a day or two after seeing the above article, I heard of another related piece on NPR.  NPR is having a journalist travel across the country, trying to identify “robot-safe” jobs.  Here’s the feature on this from MarketPlace.org

 

 

What changes do institutions of traditional higher education
immediately need to begin planning for? Initiating?

What changes should be planned for and begin to be initiated
in the way(s) that we accredit new programs?

 

 

Keywords/ideas that come to my mind:

  • Change — to society, to people, to higher ed, to the workplace
  • Pace of technological change — no longer linear, but exponential
  • Career development
  • Staying relevant — as institutions, as individuals in the workplace
  • Reinventing ourselves over time — and having to do so quickly
  • Adapting, being nimble, willing to innovate — as institutions, as individuals
  • Game-changing environment
  • Lifelong learning — higher ed needs to put more emphasis on microlearning, heutagogy, and delivering constant/up-to-date streams of content and learning experiences. This could happen via the addition/use of smaller learning hubs, some even makeshift learning hubs that are taking place at locations that these institutions don’t even own…like your local Starbucks.
  • If we don’t get this right, there could be major civil unrest as inequality and unemployment soar
  • Traditional institutions of higher education have not been nearly as responsive to change as they have needed to be; this opens the door to alternatives. There’s a limited (and closing) window of time left to become more nimble and responsive before these alternatives majorly disrupt the current world of higher education.

 

 

 



Addendum from the corporate world (emphasis DSC):



 

From The Impact 2017 Conference:

The Role of HR in the Future of Work – A Town Hall

  • Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Nicola Vogel, Global Senior HR Director, Danfoss
  • Frank Møllerop, Chief Executive Officer, Questback
  • David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Massive changes spurred by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile platforms, sensors and social collaboration have revolutionized the way we live, work and communicate – and the pace is only accelerating. Robots and cognitive technologies are making steady advances, particularly in jobs and tasks that follow set, standardized rules and logic. This reinforces a critical challenge for business and HR leaders—namely, the need to design, source, and manage the future of work.

In this Town Hall, we will discuss the role HR can play in leading the digital transformation that is shaping the future of work in organizations worldwide. We will explore the changes we see taking place in three areas:

  • Digital workforce: How can organizations drive new management practices, a culture of innovation and sharing, and a set of talent practices that facilitate a new network-based organization?
  • Digital workplace: How can organizations design a working environment that enables productivity; uses modern communication tools (such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and many others); and promotes engagement, wellness, and a sense of purpose?
  • Digital HR: How can organizations change the HR function itself to operate in a digital way, use digital tools and apps to deliver solutions, and continuously experiment and innovate?
 

Looking to build the campus of tomorrow? 5 trends you should know — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
Today’s trends will bring about a new vision for the traditional college campus.

Excerpt:

“Innovations in physical space must be made to accommodate demands for accessibility, flexibility and affordability,” according to The State of Higher Education in 2017, a report from professional services firm Grant Thornton.

Changes in infrastructure are being driven by a handful of trends, including:

  • Digital technology is decoupling access to the classroom and information from any specific geographic location.
  • Learning is becoming more “modular,” credentialing specific competencies, such as certificates and badges,, rather than the model of four years to a degree via fixed-class schedules. This requires a less broad range of academic buildings on campus.
  • Students will engage with their coursework at their own time and pace, as they do in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Price pressure on colleges will create incentives for cost efficiencies, discouraging the fixed-cost commitment embodied in physical structures.
  • Deferred maintenance is a problem so large that it can’t be solved by most colleges within their available resources; the result may be reducing the physical plant footprint or just letting it deteriorate further.

These developments will prompt physical space transformation that will lead to a new kind of campus.

 

 


The State of Higher Education in 2017 — from grantthornton.com

 

Browse the report articles:

 

 

Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future.

 

 

Retailers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Again. — from money.cnn.com by Paul R. La Monica
The dramatic reshaping of the American retail industry has, unfortunately, led to massive job losses in the sector.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The federal government said Friday that retailers shed nearly 30,000 jobs in March. That follows a more than 30,000 decline in the number of retail jobs in the previous month.

So-called general merchandise stores are hurting the most.

That part of the sector, which includes struggling companies like Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney, lost 35,000 jobs last month. Nearly 90,000 jobs have been eliminated since last October.

“There is no question that the Amazon effect is overwhelming,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist of private banking for BBH. “There has been a shift in the way we buy things as opposed to a shift in the amount of money spent.”

To that end, Amazon just announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers.

 

From DSC:
One of the reasons that I’m posting this item is for those who say disruption isn’t real…it’s only a buzz word…

A second reason that I’m posting this item is because those of us working within higher education should take note of the changes in the world of retail and learn the lesson now before the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education*” comes on the scene. Though this organization has yet to materialize, the pieces of its foundation are beginning to come together — such as the ingredients, trends, and developments that I’ve been tracking in my “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision.

This new organization will be highly disruptive to institutions of traditional higher education.

If you were in an influential position at Macy’s, Sears, and/or at J.C. Penney today, and you could travel back in time…what would you do?

We in higher education have the luxury of learning from what’s been happening in the retail business. Let’s be sure to learn our lesson.

 



 

* Effective today, what I used to call the “Forthcoming Walmart of Education — which has already been occurring to some degree with things such as MOOCs and collaborations/partnerships such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity, and AT&T — I now call the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.”

Cost. Convenience. Selection. Offering a service on-demand (i.e., being quick, responsive, and available 24×7). <– These all are powerful forces.

 



 

P.S. Some will say you can’t possibly compare the worlds of retail and higher education — and that may be true as of 2017. However, if:

  • the costs of higher education keep going up and we continue to turn a deaf ear to the struggling families/students/adult learners/etc. out there
  • alternatives to traditional higher education continue to come on the landscape
  • the Federal Government continues to be more open to financially supporting such alternatives
  • technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning continue to get better and more powerful — to the point that they can effectively deliver a personalized education (one that is likely to be fully online and that utilizes a team of specialists to create and deliver the learning experiences)
  • people lose their jobs to artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation and need to quickly reinvent themselves

…I can assure you that people will find other ways to make ends meet. The Next Amazon.com of Education will be just what they are looking for.

 



 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems