So while we may be a few years from plugging into the Matrix, what is becoming clear is that to survive and thrive in the coming decades, colleges and universities will need to focus on creating an online experience as compelling as their on-campus experience.

Ryan Lufkin

 

From DSC:
After thanking Diana for the posting, I replied:

Not to be negative here, but this visual strikes me as something that our “one-size-fits-all” K12 learning ecosystems sometimes do here in the U.S.

 

Screenshot of Adobe Live -- is Adobe Live a type of component of our future learning ecosystems?

From DSC:
It seems to me that this is one of the types of learning experiences that we will have in the future — i.e., where you can tap into a variety of live/virtual streams of content whereby you can peer over the shoulder of experts using products and/or services.

streams of content are ever flowing by -- we need to tap into them and contribute to them

 

From DSC:
An AI-backed platform will constantly search all job postings and present the most desired skills in the marketplace and then how to get those skills. The providers will be individuals, organizations, training providers, traditional institutions of higher education, vendors and more.

Depending upon what happens with blockchain — and if a much more energy-efficient/environmentally-friendly solution can be implemented — blockchain may be a part of that equation.

 

Demarginalizing Design: 3 powerful ways to get started — from ditchthattextbook.com by Dee Lanier

Excerpt:

Get proximate to the pain

  • Gather the people that are most affected by the problem.
  • Listen for pain. Emotions such as outrage and frustration are insights into the source of the problem.
  • Design with them, not for them. Your job is to facilitate the discussion that allows them to come up with their own solutions that affect their community.

From DSC:
You will notice some more postings regarding “Design Thinking” on this Learning Ecosystems blog from time to time. I’m continuing to do this because as we move more toward a reality of lifelong learning, we should probably rethink the entire cradle-to-grave design of our learning ecosystems.

 

From DSC:
Inflation way up. Real wages way down. Not a good mix for higher education. And faculty members aren’t the only ones impacted here. These developments may cause the rise of additional alternatives to institutions of traditional higher education out there. 


One of the resources mentioned in Isha Trivedi’s article out at The Chronicle of Higher Education that’s entitled “Faculty-Pay Survey Records the Largest One-Year Drop Ever” was this one:

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2021-22 — from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

Key Findings (emphasis DSC):
Provisional results were released in early April 2022, including summary tables and institution-level datasets. Key findings include:

  • From 2020–21 to 2021–22, average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 2.0 percent, consistent with the flat wage growth observed since the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty fell below Great Recession levels in 2021, with average salary falling to 2.3 percent below the 2008 average salary, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty members decreased 5.0 percent after adjusting for inflation, the largest one-year decrease on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.
  • In 2021–22, 97.2 percent of full-time faculty members were covered by retirement plans, a 2.8 percentage point increase from 2020–21.
  • Institutions reported full-time faculty salaries for women that are 81.9 percent of those for men in 2021–22, on average. The gender pay gap is greatest at the full professor rank.
  • From 2019–20 to 2021–22, the number of full-time women faculty members increased 1.6 percent, compared with a 2.5 percent decrease for men.
  • In 2020–21, average pay for adjunct faculty members to teach a course section ranged from $2,979 in public associate’s institutions without ranks to $5,557 in public doctoral institutions.
  • In fall 2020, about three in five (61.5 percent) faculty members were on contingent appointments.

Also relevant, see:

 

Some learning-related tips from Eva Keiffenheim’s Learn Letter


Excerpts from Eva’s 6/15/22 letter re: learning a language — with Mathias Barra, who “has studied about 20 languages and is fluent in six”

2) The best way to mastery is by making language learning part of your life
There’s no single best way to study languages. Mathias approached every language differently.

The most important thing is to find some activities that you actually enjoy in the language. For example, you can:

  • watch a Netflix series with double subtitles with the free Language Reactor extension
  • reading a book in the language you’re learning, for example with easy readers?
  • go to radio.garden and listen to the language you’re learning
  • switch your phone settings to another language
  • write your diary in the language you’re learning

“The best way to study languages is not to limit it to study time, but to make it part of your life, for example, through exposure.”

Some tools and resources Mathias recommends:

  • iTalki offers 1-on-1 lessons in more than 150 languages
  • Journaly allows you to type a text that natives correct
  • Slowly connects you with a language tandem for writing letters
  • HiNative gets you answers from native speakers
  • Speechling helps you work on listening comprehension

See the full interview here.

And from Eva’s 6/22/22 Learn Letter:

According to this concept, there’s an optimal arousal level for task performance. The Yerkes-Dodson Law says there is an empirical relationship between stress and performance. Yerkes and Dodson discovered that the optimal arousal level depends on the complexity and difficulty of the task.

From DSC:
Reading a bit about the Yerkes-Dodson Law, I was reminded of a bad learning experience from years ago. I recall sitting in a conference room at Baxter Healthcare and I was trying to learn more about programming.  I had just been switched into a new group and my new supervisor was trying to teach me some basic items (basic to him, anyway). He was getting increasingly frustrated at me for not understanding some things. The more frustrated he got, the less I could even concentrate on what he was saying and trying to teach me. 

Along these lines, I also remember a relative trying to teach another relative some new things. Again, the more upset the “teacher” got, the less able the “learner” was able to concentrate. It didn’t end well. 

Oh…what’s that?! I’m hearing a loud “Amen!!!” coming from countless music teachers and students out there too. 

For these kinds of reasons, I want to learn more about the place of emotion in our learning ecosystems.

 

Measurement has never mattered more — from chieflearningofficer.com by Tom Griffiths
5 best practices to excel at L&D measurement in remote and hybrid work.

Excerpt:

Measuring learning has always been important, but in today’s remote and hybrid workplaces, it’s essential. You can develop, design and deliver the best training programs, but if you can’t show stakeholders across the organization that it actually “worked,” then you’re missing a crucial part of the story. Today’s remote and hybrid workplaces demonstrate that it’s more important than ever to use structured and intentional measurement methods, due to the reduced visibility and increased flexibility of our workforce. If business leaders were skeptical before about how in-person training impacted behaviors in the office, imagine how skeptical they might be now as training takes place from home in our pajamas.

Showing training results under these conditions has never been so important for learning and development. While the training environments have changed, companies still need to show that every dollar spent was a good investment. And how can we say training, or the L&D function it comes out of, is valuable if we never measure its effectiveness?

From DSC:
I agree that it helps to attempt to measure learning — and thus I posted this article by Tom Griffiths from Chief Learning Officer. That said, it’s much easier said than done. In fact, I think it’s most likely impossible to actually and accurately do so.

To me, it’s like when I was working at Kraft and we were trying to get people to use electronic mail. How would you begin to quantify the Return on Investment (ROI) from using/implementing email throughout the organization? As but one example, what happens if two people or two groups/departments are able to communicate faster and collaborate better due to electronic mail and are able to get a new product to market first?

  • How should that be quantified?
  • Is it fair to put all of the value on email/communications?
  • What about the research and the product development/testing that it took to get to that point? How should the ROI be divvied up? For how long should the ROI be attributed to email and to those other things?

Surely email helped a great deal, but to try to quantify that ROI is next to impossible, if not downright impossible. 

The same with learning. Don’t believe me? 

Well, let’s narrow the focus waaaaaaay down for a second — to make it begin to be more realistic.

What did you learn this last week?

  • Can you recall it all?
  • Did you take a pre-test and post-test on everything that you learned?
  • Can you quantify the ROI on each piece of that learning? That is, could you attach a dollar amount to all of the results of that learning? I doubt it. I couldn’t.

But were you glad that you learned those things? Were they beneficial? Do you think learning about new things is worth the trouble?

And that’s just one person looking at the last week of their learning.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the five best practices to excel at L&D measurement. They can be helpful and they can scratch the surface of obtaining such data. But at the end of the day, the C-Suite will have to accept that not everything can be neatly packaged into pieces of data and accurate ROI’s.

Should that stop them from trying to help their employees reinvent themselves? Learn new skills/upskill? No, I don’t think so either. But it’s a fool’s errand to think you’ll be able to measure all learning in one’s organization.

At the end of the day, what drives investment in L&D’s efforts needs to be an appreciation for lifelong learning and the place of learning within the culture of one’s organization. While one may not be able to fully capture the ROI from it, learning is still valuable.

If I were a Chief Learning Officer in a corporation, I’d try to make it so that everyone could get the time and budget to learn something new about ANY topic that they wanted to. Get the love of learning going! Get that yeast baked into the bread.

I’m sure that there’s much more to say about this — but that’s going to have to do it for today. 

 

From DSC:
The following items made me reflect upon the place of COVID-19 in causing the current ills within higher education — but also thinking about the ills that were present long before Covid hit us.

Key point:
We should be careful not to conveniently use COVID-19 as the scapegoat for all that’s wrong within higher education.


On the faculty/staff side of the house


The Season of Our Professorial Discontent — from chronicle.com by Paul Musgrave
The pandemic irrevocably changed the student-teacher relationship — and not for the better.

Excerpts:

As pandemic slides into endemic, it’s worth asking: Did the pandemic break something fundamental about academe? Was the spring of 2022 the end of pandemic disruptions, or the start of a new normal?

This time, as I delivered the lines to an audience of 30 in a course with 200 students enrolled, I was wondering whether I wanted to give a lecture ever again.

From DSC:
Regarding the first quote…several things were broken within academe long before COID-19. Re: the second quote, what should that tell us if only 30 students showed up in a class with 200 students in it?

Faculty autonomy and faculty satisfaction are being whittled away.

From DSC:
From what I can tell, that’s been happening for years within the K-12 learning ecosystem. It seems like this trend is now occurring within the higher ed learning ecosystem. (I could go off on a tangent about why we didn’t help our fellow educators within K-12 — whose “product” directly impacts those working within higher ed — but I better not. This posting is already packed with reflections.)

Below are some relevant quotes from Kevin McClure’s 5/27/22 article out at The Chronicle of Higher Education (emphasis DSC). I agree with much of what Kevin is saying here.

Don’t Blame the Pandemic for Worker Discontent
It hasn’t just been a tough two years. It’s been a tough two decades.

Excerpt:

The pandemic alone didn’t cause the low morale and turnover you might be seeing among your faculty and staff members just as the lack of personal protective equipment didn’t solely give rise to the Amazon Labor Union. Yes, today’s workers are re-evaluating their workplaces, seeking reassignment within their institutions, and in some cases resigning from jobs altogether. But they are doing so for many of the same reasons they did 20 years ago — poor working conditions.

So burnout isn’t just about people struggling to cope with stress; it’s about people struggling in workplaces where stress never subsides.

In my own interviews on morale, higher-education workers have talked about leaders who aren’t listening, low compensation, and understaffing.

We see our workplaces differently, and our tolerance of poor working conditions has evaporated.

 


On the student side of the house


“It hasn’t just been a tough two years. It’s been a tough two decades.” The same — and likely more — could be said for the student side of the house, especially in regards to the price of education and how relevant/up-to-date the content has been. As the prices of obtaining a degree have skyrocketed over the last several decades, students and parents now HAVE to ask, “What’s the Return On Investment (ROI) here? Am I gaining the skills in college that will get me hired after college?”

Again, the point I’m trying to make here is that we should be careful not to conveniently use COVID-19 as the scapegoat for all that’s wrong within higher education.

Along these lines, the following two quotes seem relevant to me from Beth McMurtrie’s (6/2/22) Teaching e-newsletter (also from The Chronicle):

I asked Walton to tell me more about the setup at his university. He said classes were fully in person but instructors were encouraged to record lectures and be highly flexible with due dates. The result: Most days he had less than 50-percent attendance, and he received a lot of last-minute emails from students who said they woke up that morning with a headache or otherwise not feeling well. A few filed documented absence requests, but not many, suggesting that these were not serious illnesses, like Covid.

I’ve never had more incompletes for courses than in the last two years, so signaling to students that their distribution courses are flexible and accommodating has only let them de-emphasize them even more.

There’s likely a variety of causes/possibilities here — and I’m sure that Covid-related reasons are among them. But it makes me really wonder if students don’t think that the content is all that valuable or relevant to begin with these days. Is college even worth it anymore? Why am I here in the first place? Where is the motivation coming from? Is it extrinsic or intrinsic motivation?

Perhaps it’s time to change the curriculum/content as well as the price.


Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo (from 2009).

A graphic I created back in 2009, with Yohan Na’s assistance.


 

As Challenges in Education Persist, Our Coverage Will Elevate Educator Voices — from edsurge.com by EdSurge Staff

Excerpt:

Elevating the diverse voices of educators—particularly the perspectives of those traditionally marginalized—is critical for making change. That’s especially important at this moment, during what appears to be an inflection point in the history of American education.

During this period of upheaval, we’ve amplified the voices of educators as they navigate the fallout from the pandemic through our Voices of Change project, creating opportunities for educators to reflect, share and learn from one another through journalism, storytelling and research.

From DSC:
This is great to see, especially seeing as we are in a game-changing environment. These folks are on the front lines, so to speak. As such, we need to listen to them very carefully. Their voices should be the first to be considered and heard as we move forward into the future of education.


Also relevant/see:

Teachers of the Year Say Educators Deserve More Trust — — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

“We have this idea that they’ve lost learning, but I really want to change that narrative into: Their learning has shifted,” she explains. “They learned a lot. It might not have been the science I wanted them to learn, but they learned how to learn online and in person; they learned how to change at a moment’s notice, they learned how to keep themselves and … their family safe. I’m pretty sure they all have graduate degrees in technology at this point.”

Rivera believes that education would improve if leaders at every level listened to teachers more, trusted them as experts and drew on their insight when making decisions.

 

 

From DSC:
The items below reminded me that things aren’t looking good for higher education these days. Having a son a quarter of the way through college makes this even more relevant/personal for our family.


The Big Quit | Even tenure-line professors are leaving academe. — from chronicle.com by Joshua Doležal

Excerpts:

We have become accustomed to the exodus of graduate students, postdocs, and adjuncts, but before Covid it was still possible to see tenured and tenure-track faculty members as relatively immune from the stresses of working in higher ed. No more. A 2020 study by The Chronicle and Fidelity Investments found that more than half of all faculty members surveyed were seriously weighing options outside of higher education: either changing careers entirely or retiring early.

“If a return to normal simply means restoring the burnout conditions that the pandemic inflamed, then the rumble of faculty members leaving may build to a roar that no amount of magical thinking can explain away.”

Here’s a relevant quote from a weekly newsletter — Teaching — from The Chronicle of Higher Education (by Becky Supiano)

The bottom line? “You don’t get student success,” McClure says, “unless you have invested in faculty well-being.”

The quote is from Kevin McClure, who is “trying to get the challenges front-line faculty and staff face on the radar of more college leaders.” As primarily a former staff member, I appreciate that he’s including staff members here. Staff are important members of the academe as well.


Drop in Spring-2022 Enrollment Is Worse Than Expected — from chronicle.com byAudrey Williams June

Excerpt:

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center provide a final tally on enrollment for the spring of 2022 — and reveal a persistent trend: College attendance continues to decline.

Undergraduate enrollment fell 4.7 percent from a year earlier, a shortfall of more than 662,000 students. Since the pandemic began, the undergraduate student body has dropped by almost 1.4 million students.

But also in play, he said, are students who increasingly question the value of college, are wary about taking out student loans to pay for it, and who have options to join the labor market instead.


Michigan colleges experience nation’s worst spring enrollment dive, new report shows — from mlive.com by Samuel Dodge

Excerpt:

College enrollment across Michigan plummeted 15% during the spring semester this year, dragged down by a 20% hit to four-year public universities, a new report shows. Spring enrollment across all sectors dropped to 360,220 students, a decrease of more than 62,000 from 2021 to this year, according to data released Thursday, May 26, by the National Student Clearinghouse.


[Cost of Inequity]  The Student Loan Crisis — from businessinsidre.com by various
How the student loan industry put a $1.7 trillion price tag on the American dream and the proposed reforms that could pay the bill.


A somewhat-related item:

The Future of Higher Education Is the Hybrid Campus — from campustechnology.com by Dr. Jeffrey R. Docking
Blending the best of face-to-face instruction with the flexibility of online learning can enhance the higher ed experience for all types of learners, lower the cost of a degree and better prepare students for the workforce.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

What Students Want
Students and families are increasingly rethinking whether a traditional college education is worth the investment, leaving higher ed leaders searching for innovative ways to showcase their school’s value and entice students. When we think about what students really want, they want more than a degree — they want skills training that will ensure a well-paying, rewarding career. In fact, 62% of college students say they would be more likely to re-enroll if their institution offered “new programs and certificates tailored to the new economy” with high-demand majors and education that connects them to employability. This makes sense since employers are continuing to find value in students developing a “broad skill base that can be applied across a range of contexts.”

But over the last several years, and after seeing the success of it at Adrian College, I’ve become convinced that the future of residential colleges is not face-to-face or online, but an intelligent blend of both modalities.


A somewhat-related item:

Navigating career turbulence — from ted.com by Adam Grant; with thanks to Deirdre Honner for this resource

Description:

Everyone’s career will hit some turbulence at some point. Instead of pushing harder against the headwinds, we’re sometimes better off tilting our rudder and charting a new course. In this episode, host Adam Grant speaks with people who have taken unusual steps to battle uncertainty, rethought their approach to finding and landing a job and reached out for help in unexpected places — as well as an expert on recessions who forecasts the future by looking to the past. Listen and subscribe to WorkLife with Adam Grant and more podcasts from the TED Audio Collective wherever you’re listening to this.

 

From DSC:
The report below contains some great examples of a few of the elements in a learning ecosystem! Though there are many other elements in a learning ecosystem, tools and technologies are certainly two key components of one.

Some of the topics in this report at:

  • Knowledge bases and knowledge management technology
  • Microlearning
  • Learning record store
  • Learning Experience Platform (LXP)
  • Augmented reality / Virtual reality (AR/VR)
  • Adaptive learning / Intelligent tutor
  • Technology stack

2022 Trends in Learning Technology — from learningguild.com by Steve Foreman

Excerpt:

In this research report, Steve Foreman analyzes recent survey findings to examine eight learning technologies and explore how they impact the L&D space, organizations, customer satisfaction, and more.

This image contains some information regarding the learning record store

 

Above video from Steve Kerr’s statement on school shooting in Texas

From DSC:
Steve Kerr has it right. Powerful. Critically important. 

“Enough!”  “We can’t get numb to this!”

 

From DSC:
The items below made me reflect on the need to practice some serious design thinking to rethink/redesign the cradle-to-grave learning ecosystems out there.


Real World Learning in Action — from gettingsmart.com by Shawnee Caruthers

Key Points

  • The Real World Learning initiative was created to address a simple, but equally complex challenge: How do you prepare students for life after high school?
  • The traditional, go to classes, earn some credits, participate in some activities and earn a diploma wasn’t working, at least not equitably.

Creating a new high school experience starts with innovative thinking and advocates willing to say yes. As a result of collaborations, visiting best practice sites and numerous convenings, the Kansas City region is now a hub for pathways, wall-to-wall academies, microschools, innovation academies, student-run businesses, strong client-connected project examples and more. Educational stakeholders can now go across state lines to see future-forward thinking for students.

Also relevant/see:

Framing and Designing the HOW — from gettingsmart.com by Rebecca Midles

Key Points (emphasis DSC):

  • The referenced circle graphic is intended to guide how we talk about our work as a system, internal and externally.
  • It also is about understanding our why on a personal level.
  • Learning systems are specifically designed to get the results they have, and to change results, we have to redesign the system.

Also relevant/see:

Fewer People Are Getting Teacher Degrees. Prep Programs Sound the Alarm — from edweek.org by Madeline Wil

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As teacher dissatisfaction rates rise and concerns about teacher shortages intensify, colleges of education are sounding the alarm: Enrollment has been steadily declining for the past decade, and the pandemic has likely made things worse.

Smaller and Restructured: How the Pandemic Is Changing the Higher Education IT Workforce — from educause.edu by Jenay Robert

Excerpt:

Several prominent themes emerged from the analysis of these responses and are supported by other recent EDUCAUSE research:

  • Though most respondents reported a reduction in force, some were able to justify adding new positions to their units in 2021, primarily to meet new institutional needs.
  • Budget cuts were the main cause of reductions in force.
  • Work factors such as flexible, remote work options and competitive salaries are playing a central role in attrition and recruitment.
  • Increased workloads and personal stressors related to the pandemic have resulted in widespread burnout among staff.
  • IT units have plans to reorganize in 2022 to become more agile and efficient and to respond to the evolving needs of their organizations.

Allan: With $175G Grants, Accelerate ED Looks to Better Link K-12, College & Work — from the74million.org by Sara Allan

Excerpt:

Today, most states require high school students to complete a set of defined courses, assessments and experiences in order to graduate on a career-ready pathway. However, the number of schools that fully embrace coherent programs of study that connect K-12, higher education and employment remains frustratingly small.

.


What if every high school student had the chance to take an additional year of courses related to their interests and earn enough credits to complete their associate degree one year after high school while gaining valuable experience and career preparation—at little to no cost?

— from Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers

From DSC:
The above quote is the type of “What if…” question/thinking that we need to redesign our cradle-to-grave/lifelong learning ecosystems.


A relevant addendum on 6/1/22:

 

‘Stackable credentials’ could be future of higher education in Colorado — from thedenverchannel.com by Nicole Brady; with thanks to Ray Schroeder for this resource out on LinkedIn

Stackable credentials could be future of higher education in Colorado

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

DENVER — Metropolitan State University of Denver is one of Colorado’s largest four-year institutions, but some students are spending just months there — not years — before joining the workforce.

They’re doing it by “stacking” credentials.

“Stackable credentials are really a convergence of individuals wanting to learn in smaller chunks and industries being willing to accept those chunks,” said Terry Bower, associate vice president of Innovative and Lifelong Learning at MSU Denver.

The career launchpad lays out exactly what steps are needed to work in those industries and how much money a person can earn with different credentials.

For students who decide they want to add more credentials or work toward a degree, they can return to MSU with no credits lost.

From DSC:
That part that says “The career launchpad lays out exactly what steps are needed to work in those industries and how much money a person can earn with different credentials” will likely be a part of a next-generation learning platform. Here are the skills in demand. Here are the folks offering you the ability to learn/develop those skills and here’s what you can expect to earn at different levels of this type of job. The platform will be able to offer this type of information and these types of opportunities throughout your lifetime.

Cloud-based learner profiles will be part of this new setup — along with recommendation engine-based results based upon one’s learning preferences (not learning styles — which don’t exist — but upon one’s learning preferences).

Learning from the living class room

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian