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.

 

Meet the metaverse: Creating real value in a virtual world — from mckinsey.com with Eric Hazan and Lareina Yee

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Welcome to the metaverse. Now, where exactly are we? Imagine for a moment the next iteration of the internet, seamlessly combining our physical and digital lives. It’s many things: a gaming platform, a virtual retail spot, a training tool, an advertising channel, a digital classroom, a gateway to entirely new virtual experiences. While the metaverse continues to be defined, its potential to unleash the next wave of digital disruption is clear. In the first five months of 2022, more than $120 billion have been invested in building out metaverse technology and infrastructure. That’s more than double the $57 billion invested in all of 2021.

How would you define the metaverse?
Lareina: What’s exciting is that the metaverse, like the internet, is the next platform on which we can work, live, connect, and collaborate. It’s going to be an immersive virtual environment that connects different worlds and communities. There are going to be creators and alternative currencies that you can buy and sell things with. It will have a lot of the components of Web3 and gaming and AR, but it will be much larger.

Also relevant/see:


Also relevant/see:


 

The Future of Education | By Futurist Gerd Leonhard | A Video for EduCanada — from futuristgerd.com

Per Gerd:

Recently, I was invited by the Embassy of Canada in Switzerland to create this special presentation and promotional video discussing the Future of Education and to explore how Canada might be leading the way. Here are some of the key points I spoke about in the video. Watch the whole thing here: the Future of Education.

 

…because by 2030, I believe, the traditional way of learning — just in case — you know storing, downloading information will be replaced by learning just in time, on-demand, learning to learn, unlearning, relearning, and the importance of being the right person. Character skills, personality skills, traits, they may very well rival the value of having the right degree.

If you learn like a robot…you’ll never have a job to begin with.

Gerd Leonhard


Also relevant/see:

The Next 10 Years: Rethinking Work and Revolutionising Education (Gerd Leonhard’s keynote in Riga) — from futuristgerd.com


 

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.

 

New Pathways: Experiencing Success In What’s Next — from Getting Smart

Excerpt:

Some of you were able to attend our official kick-off event yesterday (on 6/21/22), but for those who weren’t able to make it we wanted to let you know that our new campaign, New Pathways, has officially begun!. Over the next few years, and in partnership with ASA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stand Together and the Walton Foundation, we will be dedicated to tracking innovations in the following six pillars:

  1. Unbundled Learning
  2. Credentialed Learning
  3. Accelerated Pathways
  4. New Learning Models
  5. Support & Guidance
  6. Policies & Systems
We believe that when combined, these pillars enable learners to find success in what’s next in their professional lives, their personal lives and in their communities.

 

 


 

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:

 

Coursera’s Global Skills Report

Excerpt from the Executive Summary:

Here are some of our top findings:

  • Digital skills are the shared language of the modern economy.
  • Women’s participation continued to rise.
  • The developing world had the highest rate of learner growth.
  • Lower levels of internet access mean lower levels of skills proficiency.
  • Courses in human skills had more learners from developed countries, while those in digital skills had more from developing ones.
  • The U.S. held steady in its overall skills proficiency ranking—yet it lost meaningful ground in core technology and data science skills.
  • Europe leads the world in skills proficiency.
  • Proficiency in technology and data science skills varies widely across the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Learners used Coursera to understand the pandemic.
 

Will Learning Move into the Metaverse? — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Pamela Hogle

Excerpt:

In its 2022 Tech Trends report, the Future Today Institute predicts that, “The future of work will become more digitally immersive as companies deploy virtual meeting platforms, digital experiences, and mixed reality worlds.”

Learning leaders are likely to spearhead the integration of their organizations’ workers into a metaverse, whether by providing training in using the tools that make a metaverse possible or through developing training and performance support resources that learners will use in an immersive environment.

Advantages of moving some workplace collaboration and learning into a metaverse include ease of scaling and globalization. The Tech Trends report mentions personalization at scale and easy multilingual translation as advantages of “synthetic media”—algorithmically generated digital content, which could proliferate in metaverses.

Also see:

Future Institute Today -- Tech Trends 2022


Also from learningsolutionsmag.com, see:

Manage Diverse Learning Ecosystems with Federated Governance

Excerpt:

So, over time, the L&D departments eventually go back to calling their own shots.

What does this mean for the learning ecosystem? If each L&D team chooses its own learning platforms, maintenance and support will be a nightmare. Each L&D department may be happy with the autonomy but learners have no patience for navigating multiple LMSs or going to several systems to get their training records.

Creating common infrastructure among dispersed groups
Here you have the problem: How can groups that have no accountability to each other share a common infrastructure?

 

Shifting Skills, Moving Targets, and Remaking the Workforce — from bcg.com by Matt Sigelman, Bledi Taska, Layla O’Kane, Julia Nitschke, Rainer Strack, Jens Baier, Frank Breitling, and Ádám Kotsis; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
Our analysis of more than 15 million job postings reveals the future of work.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Jobs do come and go, but even more significantly, jobs change. Day by day, skill by skill, the basic building blocks of a job are repositioned, until the role looks much different than it did just five years ago. Yet the job title—and the worker in the job—may remain the same.

But even company leaders may not realize how profoundly and rapidly the jobs throughout their business and industry are evolving. A comprehensive look at job listings from 2016 through 2021 reveals significant changes in requested skills, with new skills appearing, some existing skills disappearing, and other existing skills shifting in importance.

The challenge for employers and employees alike is to keep up—or, better yet, to get ahead of the trends.

Four Big Trends
We see four big trends in skill change:

    • Digital skills, like technical fluency and abilities including data analysis, digital marketing, and networking, aren’t limited to jobs in IT.
    • Soft skills, like verbal communication, listening, and relationship building, are needed in digital occupations.
    • Visual communication has become increasingly important even outside of traditional data occupations. Experience with tools such as Tableau, MS Power BI, and Adobe Analytics is in high demand.
    • Social media skills, such as experience with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Adobe Photoshop, are in demand in the current media climate.

Also from Ryan Craig, see:

How to Really Fix Higher Ed — from theatlantic.com by Ben Sasse
Rather than wiping the slate clean on student debt, Washington should take a hard look at reforming a broken system.

Excerpts:

Most young Americans never earn a college degree, and far too many of those who do are poorly served by sclerotic institutions that offer regularly overpriced degrees producing too little life transformation, too little knowledge transmission, and too little pragmatic, real-world value.

Far too often, higher education equates value with exclusivity, and not with outcomes. The paradigmatic schools that dominate higher-ed discussions in the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post measure themselves by how many high-school seniors they reject, rather than by how many they successfully launch, by how much they bolster the moral and intellectual development of the underprivileged, or even by a crude utilitarian calculus such as the average earnings of their recent graduates.

Each of these changes will depend on breaking up the accreditation cartels. College presidents tell me that the accrediting system, which theoretically aims to ensure quality and to prevent scammers from tapping into federal education dollars, actually stifles programmatic innovation inside extant colleges and universities aiming to serve struggling and underprepared students in new ways. 


One last item here:

Learning Should Be Like Cooking — from linkedin.com by Cali Koerner Morrison

Excerpt:

We need systems of record that are learner-owned, verifiable and travel across all types of learning recognition. 1EdTech is making great strides in this direction with the comprehensive learner record and the T3 Innovation Network with the LEROpen Skills Network and Credential Engine are making great strides to level the playing field on defining all elements of skills-based learning and credentialing. We need pathways that help guide learner-earners through their career progression so they are in a constant swirl of learning and earning, leveling up with each new achievement – from a microcredenial to a master’s degree.

 

Apple Starts Connecting the Dots for Its Next Big Thing — from nytimes.com by Tripp Mickle and Brian X. Chen
The company has enlisted Hollywood directors like Jon Favreau to help its effort to create products that blend the physical and virtual worlds.

Excerpt:

Nearly 15 years after the iPhone set off the smartphone revolution, Apple is assembling the pieces for what it hopes will become its next business-altering device: a headset that blends the digital world with the real one.

The company has enlisted Hollywood directors such as Jon Favreau to develop video content for a headset that it is expected to ship next year, according to three people familiar with that work. Mr. Favreau, an executive producer of “Prehistoric Planet” on Apple TV+, is working to bring that show’s dinosaurs to life on the headset, which looks like a pair of ski goggles and aims to offer virtual- and augmented-reality experiences, these people said.

Speaking of the future, here’s another item regarding what’s coming down the pike:

 
 

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.

 

 

How to ensure we benefit society with the most impactful technology being developed today — from deepmind.com by Lila Ibrahim

In 2000, I took a sabbatical from my job at Intel to visit the orphanage in Lebanon where my father was raised. For two months, I worked to install 20 PCs in the orphanage’s first computer lab, and to train the students and teachers to use them. The trip started out as a way to honour my dad. But being in a place with such limited technical infrastructure also gave me a new perspective on my own work. I realised that without real effort by the technology community, many of the products I was building at Intel would be inaccessible to millions of people. I became acutely aware of how that gap in access was exacerbating inequality; even as computers solved problems and accelerated progress in some parts of the world, others were being left further behind. 

After that first trip to Lebanon, I started reevaluating my career priorities. I had always wanted to be part of building groundbreaking technology. But when I returned to the US, my focus narrowed in on helping build technology that could make a positive and lasting impact on society. That led me to a variety of roles at the intersection of education and technology, including co-founding Team4Tech, a non-profit that works to improve access to technology for students in developing countries. 


Also relevant/see:

Microsoft AI news: Making AI easier, simpler, more responsible — from venturebeat.com by Sharon Goldman

But one common theme bubbles over consistently: For AI to become more useful for business applications, it needs to be easier, simpler, more explainable, more accessible and, most of all, responsible

 

 

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.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian