Aligning the business model of college with student needs: How WGU is disrupting higher education — from christenseninstitute.org by Alana Dunagan

Excerpt:

Since its inception, Western Governors University (WGU) has aimed to serve learners otherwise shut out of the traditional system. Now, the groundbreaking institution has both graduated 100,000 students and has over 100,000 students currently enrolled. These milestones demonstrate WGU’s ability to scale its high-quality, low-cost model, signaling a momentous shift in the higher education landscape.

In the mid-1990s, governors of 19 states across the western United States were concerned about bringing accessible college education to rural populations, especially working adults.These governors, led by Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, decided to explore building a new university to address the challenge. As the memorandum of understanding between those governors that officially marked the founding of WGU stated, “The strength and well-being of our states and the nation depend increasingly on a strong higher education system that helps individuals adapt to our rapidly changing economy and society. States must look to telecommunications and information technologies to provide greater access and choice to a population that increasingly must have affordable education and training opportunities and the certification of competency throughout their lives.”

 

Now in its third decade, WGU has students in every U.S. state and has over 100,000 enrolled students—a 230% increase since 2011. 

 



Excerpts from their paper:

The potential of competency-based education
Competency-based education is an approach to learning that allows students to determine the pace of their learning and move ahead once they demonstrate mastery in a concept. As described by Clayton Christensen and Michelle Weise:

Competency-based programs have no time-based unit. Learning is fixed, and time is variable; pacing is flexible. Students cannot move on until they have demonstrated proficiency and mastery of each competency but are encouraged to try as many times as necessary to demonstrate their proficiency. Although skeptics may question the “rigor” behind an experience that allows students to keep trying until they have mastered a competency, this model is actually far more rigorous than the traditional model, as students are not able to flunk or get away with a merely average understanding of the material; they must demonstrate mastery—and therefore dedicated work toward gaining mastery—in any competency.

Competency-based education first took hold in the K-12 education system, but it is also growing in higher education. As of fall 2015, roughly 600 institutions were using or exploring competency-based programs in higher education.13 However, only a handful of institutions are using competency-based education exclusively and have designed their business models around it.

WGU offers programs across four industry areas: education, business, information technology, and healthcare. All of these programs are offered online; unlike most higher education institutions, WGU has no physical campus. Instead, it has invested heavily in a technology platform that allows it to deliver curriculum asynchronously, to wherever students are. In addition to its online platform, another unique aspect of WGU’s resources is its approach to faculty. In traditional institutions, faculty are responsible for academic research, course development, teaching, assessment, and advising students. Alternatively, WGU’s model unbundles the faculty role into component parts, with specialists in each role.

 

15 more companies that no longer require a degree — apply now — from glassdoor.com

Excerpt:

With college tuition soaring nationwide, many Americans don’t have the time or money to earn a college degree. However, that doesn’t mean your job prospects are diminished. Increasingly, there are many companies offering well-paying jobs to those with non-traditional education or a high-school diploma.

Google and Ernest & Young are just two of the champion companies who realize that book smarts don’t necessarily equal strong work ethic, grit and talent. Whether you have your GED and are looking for a new opportunity or charting your own path beyond the traditional four-year college route, here are 15 companies that have said they do not require a college diploma for some of their top jobs.

 

From DSC:
Several years ago when gas prices were sky high, I couldn’t help but think that some industries — though they were able to grab some significant profits in the short term — were actually shooting themselves in the foot for the longer term. Sure enough, as time went by, people started looking for less expensive alternatives. For example, they started buying more hybrid vehicles, more electric cars, and the sales of smaller cars and lighter trucks increased. The average fuel economy of vehicles went up (example). The goal was to reduce or outright eliminate the number of trips to the gas station that people were required to make.  

These days…I wonder if the same kind of thing is happening — or about to happen — with traditional institutions of higher education*? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

Traditional institutions of higher education better find ways to adapt, and to change their game (so to speak), before the alternatives to those organizations gain some major steam. There is danger in the status quo. Count on it. The saying, “Adapt or die” has now come to apply to higher ed as well.

Faculty, staff, and administrators within higher ed are beginning to experience what the corporate world has been experiencing for decades.

Faculty can’t just teach what they want to teach. They can’t just develop courses that they are interested in. The demand for courses that aren’t attractive career-wise will likely continue to decrease. Sure, it can be argued that many of those same courses — especially from the liberal arts colleges — are still valuable…and I would agree with some of those arguments. But the burden of proof continues to be shifted to the shoulders of those proposing such curricula.

Also, the costs of obtaining a degree needs to come down or:

  • The gorillas of debt on peoples’ backs will become a negative word of mouth that will be hard to compete against or adequately address as time goes by
  • The angst towards higher ed will continue to build
  • People will bolt for those promising alternatives to traditional higher ed where the graduates (badge earners, or whatever they’re going to be called) of those programs are hired and shown to be effective employees
  • I hope that this isn’t the case and that it’s not too late to change…but history will likely show that higher ed shot itself in the foot. The warning signs were all over the place.

 

 

The current trends are paving the way for a next generation learning platform that will serve someone from cradle to grave.

 

 

* I realize that many in higher ed would immediately dispute that their organizations are out to grab short term profits, that they don’t operate like a business, that they don’t operate under the same motivations as the corporate world, etc.  And I can see some of these folks’ points, no doubt. I may even agree with some of the folks who represent organizations who freely share information with other organizations and have motivations other than making tons of money.  But for those folks who staunchly hold to the belief that higher ed isn’t a business at all — well, for me, that’s taking things way too far. I do not agree with that perspective at all. One has to have their eyes (and minds) closed to cling to that perspective anymore. Just don’t ask those folks to tell you how much their presidents make (along with other higher-level members of their administrations), the salaries of the top football coaches, or how many millions of dollars many universities’ receive for their television contracts and/or their ticket sales, or how much revenue research universities bring in from patents and so on and so forth.

 

 



Addendum on 8/24, per University Ventures e-newsletter

2. Facebook Goes Back to College (emphasis DSC)
TechCrunch report on how digital giants are buying into Last-Mile Training by partnering with Pathstream to deliver necessary digital skills to community college students.
Most good first jobs specifically require one or more technologies like Facebook or Unity — technologies that colleges and universities aren’t teaching. If Pathstream is able to realize its vision of integrating industry-relevant software training into degree programs in a big way, colleges and universities have a shot at maintaining their stranglehold as the sole pathway to successful careers. If Pathstream’s impact is more limited, watch for millions of students to sidestep traditional colleges, and enroll in emerging faster and cheaper alternative pathways to good first jobs — alternative pathways that will almost certainly integrate the kind of last-mile training being pioneered by Pathstream.

 

America’s colleges and universities could learn a thing or two from Leo, because they continue to resist teaching students the practical things they’ll need to know as soon as they graduate; for instance, to get jobs that will allow them to make student loan payments. Digital skills head this list, specifically experience with the high-powered software they’ll be required to use every day in entry-level positions.

But talk to a college president or provost about the importance of Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Tableau, Adobe and Autodesk for their graduates, and they’re at a loss for how to integrate last-mile training into their degree programs in order prepare students to work on these essential software platforms.

Enter a new company, Pathstream, which just announced a partnership with tech leader Unity and previously partnered with Facebook. Pathstream supports the delivery of career-critical software skill training in VR/AR and digital marketing at colleges and universities.

 



 

Addendum on 8/24, per University Ventures e-newsletter
3. Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College
Inside Higher Education Q&A on upcoming book A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College.
Last-mile training is the inevitable by-product of two crises, one generally understood, the other less so. The crisis everyone understands is affordability and unsustainable levels of student loan debt. The other crisis is employability. Nearly half of all college graduates are underemployed in their first job. And we know that underemployment is pernicious and lasting. According to the recent report from Strada’s Institute for the Future of Work, two-thirds of underemployed graduates remain underemployed five years later, and half remain underemployed a decade later. So today’s students no longer buy that tired college line that “we prepare you for your fifth job, not your first job.” They know that if they don’t get a good first job, they’re probably not going to get a good fifth job. As a result, today’s students are laser-focused on getting a good first job in a growing sector of the economy.

 

 

 

Education startup OnlineDegree.com makes the first year of college tuition-free — from forbes.com by Richard Vedder

Excerpt:

If you were told that an educational institution existed that would enable you to earn a year of college credit at zero financial cost and with minimal hassle –from a for-profit private entrepreneurial venture — you would no doubt be suspicious. I receive several pitches a week from individuals trying to promote all sorts of innovations, so I was especially dubious of this proposition – until I talked to Grant Aldrich, the fellow who helped initiate this project, and after reflecting a bit on modern internet-based businesses.

Hundreds of millions daily use at zero cost an immensely popular social media platform, Facebook. It provides much joy to user’s lives. Moreover, Facebook, Inc. has, of this writing, a market capitalization of $539.6 billion and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is at age 34, one of the richest people in the world. I suspect Grant Aldrich thinks that the Facebook model can be replicated successfully in higher education. Aldrich’s website (https://onlinedegree.com) will provide users with free, high-quality online college-level courses, financed through advertising, sponsorships, etc., much like Facebook and Google do.

The venture is brand new and modest in scope and is just now ready to launch its project.

 

He is bringing market-based capitalism to higher education without the crutch of government-subsidized student loans.

 

Yet Aldrich claims that he is not out to destroy traditional higher education, but rather to revitalize and support it. Students ultimately would go from his online courses into traditional schools, saving at least 25% of the cost through credit transfer, making traditional education significantly more affordable and viable.

 

 


The information below is from Grant Aldrich, Founder of OnlineDegree.com (emphasis via DSC)


Rather than bypassing traditional universities like the MissionU’s or Coursera’s, we have a disruptive solution to innovate within higher ed to combat student debt and bring students back to a collegiate path.

Here’s the quick summary: At OnlineDegree.com, anyone could receive credit, up to their freshman year of college, completely tuition-free. All from home, on their own schedule, no pressure, and no applications.

We offer students free college-level courses and work with accredited universities across the country to award college credit for the courses students take.  With many options to complete their entire freshman year equivalence, there are potential pathways to receive up to 44 units of recommended semester credit at over 1,400 colleges throughout the US…and growing.

By understanding the predicament that working adults have, it’s obvious that the current educational system hasn’t made it simple or easy enough for them to go back to school.  They’re busy, can’t afford it, and have a lot of anxiety taking the first step.  We’re changing that.

Further information is below.



Who Are We?

OnlineDegree.com is a team of startup veterans, leading academics and PhDs (from NYU, West Virginia University, Georgetown, etc). We’ve been working for over 2 years to make higher education more affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s been an incredible adventure to combat entrenched roadblocks and norms. More about us here:

How it Works
Students take as many college-level courses as they’d like on gen ed topics like Psychology, Robotics, Computer Programming, Marketing, History and many more…free. We’ve then worked with participating accredited universities across the country like Southern New Hampshire University, Excelsior College and others, so students can receive college credit for the courses they’ve taken. In addition, there are pathways to receive credit at over 1,400 schools in total throughout the US.

Our courses are:

  • Online and Available 24/7 – No class schedules, no fixed times, and completely self-paced.
  • Easy to Get Started- No applications, No entrance exams, and most importantly, No tuition.
  • Interesting and Top Notch- Our professors are experts in their respective fields with PhDs and advanced degrees. The courses are incredibly interesting.
  • Recommended for over 44 units of semester credit by the NCCRS

Why Is This So Disruptive?
Working adults now have a “bridge” to start their path back to school in 1 minute instead of 1 year in some cases…regardless of their finances or busy schedules. They can test drive different courses and subjects on their own schedule, be better prepared for college-level coursework at a university, and potentially receive college credits toward their degree. Given the common unfortunate student perception that applying directly to a community college or 4-year is intimidating, inflexible and/or costly, we’re more like “wading” into the pool rather than expecting everyone to jump in.

How Have We Made It Free?
We will always be 100% free to students…we’re not going to compromise on that. We’re exploring a marketplace for tutoring, Patreon, Kickstarter, university sponsorships/advertising, private grants, and many other avenues. We are bold enough to look outside of the traditional tuition paradigm to ensure we don’t exclude anyone from participating. There are all kinds of ways to keep the lights on without charging students or sacrificing educational quality.

Why Now?
Despite overwhelming demand to go back to school in the face of eroding manufacturing jobs, robot automation, and a quickly modernizing economy, millions of working adults are still not going back to school at a traditional university. The key is to understand the predicaments of the working adult: accessibility and affordability. Other marketplace offers that circumvent higher education have become increasingly popular. We’re solving this by removing all of the barriers to enable that first critical step in starting back towards a traditional university.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

The Law Firm Disrupted: A Kirkland & Ellis Law School? Crystal Ball Gazing on the Future of Legal Ed — from by Roy Strom
What blue-sky thinking about the future of legal education might tell us about the relationship between Big Law and legal institutions of higher learning.

Excerpt:

The speech, which is worth watching here at the 4 hour and 41 minute mark, was a clear-eyed look at both the current state and the future possibilities of “innovation” in the legal education market. Rodriguez comes to the conclusion that law schools that have focused on tech training or other skills aimed at changing legal services delivery have yet to “move the needle” on demand for their students, rankings for their own schools or their own economic predicament.

That is in large part due to at least 10 “conditions” that currently exist and are limiting legal education innovation. I won’t list them all here, but they include the formal structure of offering only JD and LLM degrees; a university schedule that was created more than 100 years ago; and, of course, accreditation and credentialing requirements.

One solution offered by Rodriguez: “Blue-sky thinking.”

 

 

 

From DSC regarding Virtual Reality-based apps:
If one can remotely select/change their seat at a game or change seats/views at a concert…how soon before we can do this with learning-related spaces/scenes/lectures/seminars/Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)/stage productions (drama) and more?

Talk about getting someone’s attention and engaging them!

 

 

Excerpt:

(MAY 2, 2018) MelodyVR, the world’s first dedicated virtual reality music platform that enables fans to experience music performances in a revolutionary new way, is now available.

The revolutionary MelodyVR app offers music fans an incredible selection of immersive performances from today’s biggest artists. Fans are transported all over the world to sold-out stadium shows, far-flung festivals and exclusive VIP sessions, and experience the music they love.

What MelodyVR delivers is a unique and world-class set of original experiences, created with multiple vantage points, to give fans complete control over what they see and where they stand at a performance. By selecting different Jump Spots, MelodyVR users can choose to be in the front row, deep in the crowd, or up-close-and-personal with the band on stage.

 

See their How it Works page.

 

 

With standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go now available at an extremely accessible price point ($199), the already vibrant VR market is set to grow exponentially over the coming years. Current market forecasts suggest over 350 million users by 2021 and last year saw $3 billion invested in virtual and alternative reality.

 

 

 

 

The Law Firm Disrupted: Walmart Won’t Pay You to Cut and Paste — from law.com by Roy Strom
The world’s largest retailer, locked in a battle over the future of its business, has developed a tool to help make its many outside lawyers more efficient.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Earlier this week, Walmart Inc. announced it would be rolling out 500 more giant vending machines in its stores to deliver online orders in seconds. The tool is designed to compete with online delivery services from Amazon.com Inc.

The world’s largest retailer also announced this week a tool that will compete (in some sense) with its outside counsel. Walmart has licensed a product from LegalMation that automatically drafts responses and initial discovery requests for employment and slip-and-fall suits filed in California. By this fall, the product should cover those cases in all 50 states.

LegalMation says it takes under two minutes to drag and drop a PDF of a suit into its product and receive a response to that case, in addition to a set of targeted requests for documents, form interrogatories and special interrogatories. That work has traditionally been handled by junior lawyers at Walmart’s outside firms, and LegalMation claims it can take them up to 10 hours to do. The savings on preparing an answer to these complaints is as much as 80 percent, LegalMation said.

“You’re still reviewing the outcome and reviewing the affirmative defenses,” said LegalMation co-founder Thomas Suh, a longtime legal technology advocate. “You’re eliminating the brainless cutting and pasting.”

 

About six months after the Harvard program, Lee and Suh had drilled down on where to apply AI, and they teamed up with IBM’s Watson to build their product. They also had to develop their own neural network that they said is the “secret sauce” to LegalMation’s ability to parse legalese.  “We would not be able to do this without an AI engine like Watson, and likewise I don’t think a product like this would be doable without our neural network,” Lee said.

 

 

Also see:

 

Also see:

Automation in the Legal Industry: How Will It Affect Recent Law School Grads? — from nationaljurist.com by Martin Pritikin

Excerpt:

A 2017 study by McKinsey Global Institute found that roughly half of all work activities globally have the potential to be automated by technology. A follow-on study (also from McKinsey in 2017) concluded that up to one-third of work activities could be displaced by 2030. What, if any, impacts do these eye-popping findings have on the future on the legal profession, especially for recent law school graduates embarking on their careers?

Recently, it was announced that ROSS, a legal research artificial intelligence platform powered in part by IBM’s Watson technology, was unveiling a new product, EVA, which will not only find applicable cases, but quality check case citations and history. As usual, this latest development has gotten people worried that human lawyers—and, in particular, recent law grads who have traditionally been tasked with legal research—may be on a path to extinction.

Obviously, no one can predict the future with certainty. But if history is any guide, these new technological developments will shift the type of work new lawyers are expected to do, but won’t necessarily eliminate it.

We may not be facing a future without lawyers. But it is going to be a future that requires lawyers to learn how to utilize technology effectively to serve their clients—something we should all welcome, not fear.

 

College of Law Announces the Launch of the Nation’s First Live Online J.D. Program — from law.syr.edu

Excerpt:

The American Bar Association has granted the Syracuse University College of Law a variance to offer a fully interactive online juris doctor program. The online J.D. program will be the first in the nation to combine real-time and self-paced online classes, on-campus residential classes, and experiential learning opportunities.


The online J.D. was subject to intense scrutiny and review by legal education experts before the College was granted the variance. Students in the online program will be taught by College of Law faculty, will be held to the same high admission and academic standards as students in the College’s residential program, and will take all courses required by its residential J.D. program.

 

Also see:

 

 

From DSC:
What can higher ed learn from this? Eventually, people will seek alternatives if what’s being offered isn’t acceptable to them anymore.


 

The Disappearing Doctor: How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Business of Medical Care — from nytimes.com by Reed Ableson and Julie Creswell
Big corporations — giant retailers and health insurance companies — are teaming up to become your doctor.

Excerpt:

Is the doctor in?

In this new medical age of urgent care centers and retail clinics, that’s not a simple question. Nor does it have a simple answer, as primary care doctors become increasingly scarce.

“You call the doctor’s office to book an appointment,” said Matt Feit, a 45-year-old screenwriter in Los Angeles who visited an urgent care center eight times last year. “They’re only open Monday through Friday from these hours to those hours, and, generally, they’re not the hours I’m free or I have to take time off from my job.

“I can go just about anytime to urgent care,” he continued, “and my co-pay is exactly the same as if I went to my primary doctor.”

That’s one reason big players like CVS Health, the drugstore chain, and most recently Walmart, the giant retailer, are eyeing deals with Aetna and Humana, respectively, to use their stores to deliver medical care.

People are flocking to retail clinics and urgent care centers in strip malls or shopping centers, where simple health needs can usually be tended to by health professionals like nurse practitioners or physician assistants much more cheaply than in a doctor’s office. Some 12,000 are already scattered across the country, according to Merchant Medicine, a consulting firm.

 

 

 

 

From MIT Technology Review on 4-2-2018

*Only* 14 percent of the world has to worry about robots taking their jobs. Yay?
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released a major report analyzing the impact of automation on jobs in 32 countries.

Clashing views: In 2016, the OECD said only 9 percent of US and worldwide jobs face a “high degree of automobility.” That was a contradiction of one of the most widely cited reports on jobs and automation, by Oxford researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, who in 2013 said that 47 percent of US jobs were at high risk of being consumed by automation.

What’s new: The OECD’s latest report says that across the countries analyzed, 14 percent of jobs are highly automatable, meaning they have over a 70 percent likelihood of automation. In the US, the study concludes that 10 percent of jobs will likely be lost to automation. An additional 32 percent of global jobs will be transformed and require significant worker retraining.

The big “but”: As the gap between the OECD report and Frey and Osborne’s estimates illustrate, predictions like these aren’t known for their accuracy. In fact, when we compiled all of the studies we could on the subject, we found there are about as many predictions as there are experts.

 


Also see:



Automation, skills use and training
— from oecd-ilibrary.org by Ljubica Nedelkoska and Glenda Quintini

Excerpts:

Here are the study’s key findings.
Across the 32 countries, close to one in two jobs are likely to be significantly affected by automation, based on the tasks they involve. But the degree of risk varies.

The variance in automatability across countries is large: 33% of all jobs in Slovakia are highly automatable, while this is only the case with 6% of the jobs in Norway.

The cross-country variation in automatability, contrary to expectations, is better explained by the differences in the organisation of job tasks within economic sectors, than by the differences in the sectoral structure of economies.

There are upside and downside risks to the figures obtained in this paper. On the upside, it is important to keep in mind that these estimates refer to technological possibilities, abstracting from the speed of diffusion and likelihood of adoption of such technologies….But there are risks on the downside too. First, the estimates are based on the fact that, given the current state of knowledge, tasks related to social intelligence, cognitive intelligence and perception and manipulation cannot be automated. However, progress is being made very rapidly, particularly in the latter two categories.

Most importantly, the risk of automation is not distributed equally among workers. Automation is found to mainly affect jobs in the manufacturing industry and agriculture, although a number of service sectors, such as postal and courier services, land transport and food services are also found to be highly automatable.

Overall, despite recurrent arguments that automation may start to adversely affect selected highly skilled occupations, this prediction is not supported by the Frey and Osborne (2013) framework of engineering bottlenecks used in this study. If anything, Artificial Intelligence puts more low-skilled jobs at risk than previous waves of technological progress…

A striking novel finding is that the risk of automation is the highest among teenage jobs. The relationship between automation and age is U-shaped, but the peak in automatability among youth jobs is far more pronounced than the peak among senior workers.


This unequal distribution of the risk of automation raises the stakes involved in policies to prepare workers for the new job requirements. In this context, adult learning is a crucial policy instrument for the re-training and up-skilling of workers whose jobs are being affected by technology. Unfortunately, evidence from this study suggests that a lot needs to be done to facilitate participation by the groups most affected by automation.

An analysis of German data suggests that training is used to move to jobs at lower risk of automation.

 

 

2018 TECH TRENDS REPORT — from the Future Today Institute
Emerging technology trends that will influence business, government, education, media and society in the coming year.

Description:

The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report identifies 235 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. Our annual report has garnered more than six million cumulative views, and this edition is our largest to date.

Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends is why we publish our annual Emerging Tech Trends Report, which focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory.

In this edition of the FTI Tech Trends Report, we’ve included several new features and sections:

  • a list and map of the world’s smartest cities
  • a calendar of events that will shape technology this year
  • detailed near-future scenarios for several of the technologies
  • a new framework to help organizations decide when to take action on trends
  • an interactive table of contents, which will allow you to more easily navigate the report from the bookmarks bar in your PDF reader

 


 

01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change, economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our organization?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our organization and our industry?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails to take action on this trend?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the established roles and responsibilities within our organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that disruption and deal with it in the present day?
07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing this trend? What can we learn from their failures and best practices?
08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our consumers/ constituents change as a result of this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future of our organization?

 


 

 

 

Michelle Weise: ‘We Need to Design the Learning Ecosystem of the Future’ — from edsurge.com  by Michelle Weise

Excerpts:

These days, education reformers, evangelists and foundations pay a lot of lip service to the notion of lifelong learning, but we do little to invest in the systems, architecture and infrastructure needed to facilitate seamless movements in and out of learning and work.

Talk of lifelong learning doesn’t translate into action. In fact, resources and funding are often geared toward the traditional 17- to 22-year-old college-going population and less often to working adults, our growing new-traditional student population.

We’ll need a different investment thesis: For most adults, taking time off work to attend classes at a local, brick-and-mortar community college or a four-year institution will not be the answer. The opportunity costs will be too high. Our current system of traditional higher education is ill-suited to facilitate flexible, seamless cost-effective learning pathways for these students to keep up with the emergent demands of the workforce.

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma.We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

 

We have to do better. Let’s begin seeding the foundational elements of a learning ecosystem of the future—flexible enough for adults to move consistently in and out of learning and work. Enough talk about lifelong learning: Let’s build the foundations of that learning ecosystem of the future.

 

 

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more with Michelle that we need a new learning ecosystem of the future. In fact, I have been calling such an effort “Learning from the Living [Class] Room — and it outlines a next generation learning platform that aims to deliver everything Michelle talks about in her solid article out at edsurge.com.

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Along these lines…I just saw that Amazon is building out more cashierless stores (and Walmart is also at work on introducing more cashierless stores.) Now, let’s say that you are currently a cashier. 2-5 years from now (depending upon where you’re currently working and which stores are in your community), what are you going to do? The opportunities for such a position will be fewer and fewer. Who can help you do what Michelle mentioned here:

Working learners will also need help articulating their learning goals and envisioning a future for themselves. People don’t know how to translate their skills from one industry to another. How does a student begin to understand that 30% of what they already know could be channeled into a totally different and potentially promising pathway they never even knew was within reach?

And that cashier may have had a tough time with K-12 education and/or with higher education. As Michelle writes:

Many adults may have no interest in coming back to college. Out of the 37 million Americans with some college and no degree, many have already failed one or twice before and will be wholly uninterested in experiencing more educational trauma. We can’t just say, “Here’s a MOOC, or here’s an online degree, or a 6- to 12-week immersive bootcamp.”

And like the cashier in this example…we are quickly approaching an era where, I believe, many of us will need to reinvent ourselves in order to:

  • stay marketable
  • keep bread and butter on the table
  • continue to have a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives

Higher ed, if it wants to remain relevant, must pick up the pace of experimentation and increase the willingness to innovate, and to develop new business models — to develop new “learning channels” so to speak. Such channels need to be:

  • Up-to-date
  • Serving relevant data and information– especially regarding the job market and which jobs appear to be safe for the next 5-10 years
  • Inexpensive/affordable
  • Highly convenient

 

 

 

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