What’s next for online education? — from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

An ecosystem not a dichotomy
As you’re hopefully already getting from my thoughts so far, I personally see our options for quality education in the future more like an ecosystem and not a series of mutually exclusive paths. It’s time to discard- or at least question-the “online vs. in person” dichotomy, almost always unfavourable to online education. It’s time to think in a more nuanced way about this. And, yes, you’ve guessed, more nuanced is always more difficult. Seeing the shades of grey requires a critical lens that we don’t need to see black and white.

The extent to which online education will be used in the future does not depend only on people (micro level), it depends on institutions (meso level) and policies (macro level).

The learning ecosystem, in my view:

    • includes various modalities used in a complementary way and as a continuum;
    • serves a multitude of audiences, at different stages of learning, with different aims and degrees of engagement;
    • requires comprehensive and interconnected support structures at institutional level, for students and faculty.

Also from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai, see:

Intentional learning design — from educationalist.substack.com by Alexandra Mihai

Excerpt:

My definition
Let’s start with a definition. By intentional learning design I mean designing learning experiences:

    • Focusing on the “why”: ensuring that any decision taken at the design stage is aligned with the overall narrative of the course and, more precisely, with the learning objectives; this requires self-reflection, at least some knowledge of the main pedagogical principles, attention to detail and openness to see learning design as an iterative process and not a box on a checklist;
    • Focusing on students’ experience: designing a course/ programme that is well tailored to students’ needs; this requires knowing your students well, making your design choices explicit to them and involving them in an ongoing dialogue.

Mid-term reflections on my American adventure

Excerpt:

A sneak peek into my research on Centres for Teaching and Learning (CTLs)
With a big part of the data collection already behind me, I thought I’d briefly share here some of my most important- and sometimes surprising- findings so far. While still pretty superficial, this can hopefully give you an insight into the discussions I’ve been having and hopefully make you curious to find out more once I’ll get to publish my results.

    • Positioning of CTLs.
    • Sense of CTL vulnerability.
    • The backgrounds and personalities of CTL leaders.
    • Integrated CTLs.
    • Credibility.
    • Who works in CTLs?
    • Professional development and career paths in CTLs.
    • CTL offer and programming.
    • Graduate student support.
    • Online education.
 

The Path Ahead for Community Colleges — from chronicle.com by Lee Gardner; PDF file here
3 ways to reset and succeed.

Excerpts:

This country often underappreciates its community colleges, but there’s no question that it needs them and the job they do. Here are three specific areas that scholars, advocates, and community-college leaders say are vital to future success for two-year institutions, and some examples of those that are trying new strategies to help themselves reset and rebuild.

  1. Rethink Enrollment
  2. Cater to Adults
  3. Look for New Leadership

 

 

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.
 

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. 

 

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.

 

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:

 

Why So Many Teachers Are Leaving, and Why Others Stay — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpts:

It’s no exaggeration to say that a big shift has occurred, and it happened very, very recently. If you are in a leadership position—a school administrator, a district superintendent, or even an official at the state level—and you’re concerned about this shift (which you definitely should be), I’m hoping to offer something helpful here.

We’ll start with the stories of four teachers who recently made the decision to leave their jobs and finding the common threads between them. These are the cautionary tales, the ones from which we can learn what not to do. Think of this part as “How to Lose a Teacher in One School Year or Less.”

Part two will be about teachers who stayed, and the administrative decisions that made this possible.

“The best thing the leadership in my school did was to LISTEN to the teachers. We are on the front lines and we see problems developing on a day to day basis. When admin listens to the problems WE are experiencing and seeks wisdom from US on potential solutions, that is absolutely the most significant factor on why our staff has seen less turnover than other schools.”

 

Five steps to getting higher ROI on your learning content — from chieflearningofficer.com by Anindita Gupta

Excerpt:

Both scenarios point toward the fact that organizations are investing a disproportionate amount of time and money on their star content while the supporting content assets are left languishing.  In the long run, this skewed handling makes it extremely difficult for L&D teams to manage and maintain not just their content but also their budget. They could do better, be leaner, get more out of their investments, and experience smarter if they did just one thing differently.
.

Live learning modules are only the tip of the iceberg of what is involved in creating them

 

Also relevant/see:

Addendum on 5/16/22:

 

From DSC:
For the last few years, I’ve been thinking that we need to make learning science-related information more accessible to students, teachers, professors, trainers, and employees — no matter what level they are at.

One idea on how to do this — besides putting posters up in the hallways, libraries, classrooms, conference rooms, cafeterias, etc. — is that we could put a How best to study/learn link in all of the global navigation bars and/or course navigation bars out there in organizations’ course management systems and learning management systems. Learners of all ages could have 24 x 7 x 365, easy, instant access as to how to be more productive as they study and learn about new things.

For example, they could select that link in their CMS/LMS to access information on:

  • Retrieval practice
  • Spacing
  • Interleaving
  • Metacognition
  • Elaboration
  • The Growth Mindset
  • Accessibility-related tools / assistive technologies
  • Links to further resources re: learning science and learning theories

What do you think? If we started this in K12, kept it up in higher ed and vocational programs, and took the idea into the corporate world, valuable information could be relayed and absorbed. This is the kind of information that is highly beneficial these days — as all of us need to be lifelong learners now.

 

From DSC:
The resource below (from The Chronicle of Higher Education) is one of the best, most useful articles I’ve read in a long time. It’s full of innovative and/or powerful ideas. I like the part about seeking to give students “more voice, more choice, more control.”

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 


 

5 No-Cost or Low-Cost Ways to Improve Your Campus — from chronicle.com by Richard J. Light and Allison Jegla
Change doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s often sparked by a simple suggestion and a leader willing to give it a try.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

No. 1: Reward innovative teaching. Lynne Schofield, a professor of statistics at Swarthmore College, has fundamentally changed the way her students learn basic and intermediate statistics. She lectures and assigns problem sets but she also teams up with local Philadelphia organizations such as food banks and blood-donation centers to give students an opportunity to solve real-world problems using their classroom knowledge. The organizations benefit from data and analysis that they may not have had time or bandwidth to collect themselves, and the students see the practical application of what they might ordinarily have perceived as a dry subject.

No. 2: Solicit ideas from students.
They met with a dean and proposed a public event called, “10 Big Ideas, 10 Professors, 10 Minutes Each.”

When the dean agreed, the students took the lead on selecting and inviting professors to each present the “most exciting new idea” in their academic field, in less than 10 minutes.

 


 

 

Education Needs a Reset. We Can Start by Listening to Our Teachers. — from edsurge.com by Elissa Vanaver

Excerpts:

What too few politicians and parents are talking about, though, is the dire state of the career pipeline for teachers, the ones we’ll be depending on to lead the post-pandemic learning recovery in our classrooms over the next few years—not to mention for the next generation.

Valuing teachers is the systemic path to centering students. In order to move the needle, we must go beyond what teachers need to do to address root causes that require cultural and systemic change. Here are a few things it will take:

  1. Understanding that teaching and learning are inherently relational and the power relationships have on student and teacher success.
  2. Centering the joy of learning and making classrooms a place students and teachers want to be.
  3. Creating an empowered teaching culture to advocate for children and encouraging creativity that optimizes engagement.
  4. Fostering culturally responsive methods through continuous mentoring by exceptional, experienced educators.
  5. Developing partnerships with quality teacher preparation programs for coherent and supportive career pathways.

From DSC:
When I used to work in customer service and also in technical support at Baxter Healthcare, I always thought that management should be listening closely to those employees who were on the front lines — i.e., those of us who were in regular contact with Baxter’s customers. Similarly, the teachers are on the front lines within education. We need to give them a huge say in what happens in the future of the preK-12 learning ecosystems. We also need the students’ voices to be heard big time.

Also popular last month from edsure.com, see:

 

Weighing the best strategies for reading intervention — from hechingerreport.org by Caralee Adams
Some schools are overhauling reading instruction and trying a variety of approaches to address the pandemic’s impact on learning

Excerpt:

But, some experts say, schools should also invest in deeper changes that tackle the root of the problem: Many teachers aren’t well versed in the science of reading and the best ways to teach to the widening range of abilities they are seeing in students.

Teachers need training on the science of reading research, guidance on leveraging data and ongoing support to help them target instruction.

 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

 

We need to use more tools — that go beyond screen sharing — where we can collaborate regardless of where we’re at. [Christian]

From DSC:
Seeing the functionality in Freehand — it makes me once again think that we need to use more tools where faculty/staff/students can collaborate with each other REGARDLESS of where they’re coming in to partake in a learning experience (i.e., remotely or physically/locally). This is also true for trainers and employees, teachers and students, as well as in virtual tutoring types of situations. We need tools that offer functionalities that go beyond screen sharing in order to collaborate, design, present, discuss, and create things.  (more…)

 

Teacher Job Satisfaction Hits an All-Time Low — from edweek.org by Madeline Will
Exclusive new data paints a picture of a profession in crisis

Excerpts:

Teachers’ job satisfaction levels appear to have hit an all-time low this year as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage schools.

That’s according to the Merrimack College Teacher Survey, a nationally representative poll of more than 1,300 teachers conducted by the EdWeek Research Center and commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College.

In interviews, teachers say they still love teaching—but they’re fed up with everything else. They feel burdened by a constantly growing workload, especially with more students having greater academic and social-emotional needs than ever before. They don’t feel like they’re paid appropriately for all the work they do. And they don’t feel respected as professionals.

Also see:


From DSC:
But it’s not just in K12 where our learning ecosystems are malnourished:


  • Ep.77: Turnover, Burnout and Demoralization in Higher Ed — a podcast from insidehighered.com and hosted by Inside Higher Ed Editor Doug Lederman
    Excerpt: 
    Faculty and staff members are leaving colleges and universities in droves. Other employers are experiencing these trends, too, but are some issues unique to higher education? Employers of all kinds are struggling to hold on to their employees in the wake of the pandemic and amid a white-hot job market. Data recently released by the University of North Carolina system, for instance, shows that faculty and staff turnover in the first half of this academic year was about 40 percent higher than the average of the last four years. Are colleges and universities just dealing with the same issues other industries are facing? Or are there unique problems in higher ed that campus leaders need to acknowledge?

Also relevant/see:

Between this academic year and last, faculty members aw a 5-percent drop in inflation-adjusted average salary.

 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian