Some example components of a learning ecosystem [Christian]

A learning ecosystem is composed of people, tools, technologies, content, processes, culture, strategies, and any other resource that helps one learn. Learning ecosystems can be at an individual level as well as at an organizational level.

Some example components:

  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) such as faculty, staff, teachers, trainers, parents, coaches, directors, and others
  • Fellow employees
  • L&D/Training professionals
  • Managers
  • Instructional Designers
  • Librarians
  • Consultants
  • Types of learning
    • Active learning
    • Adult learning
    • PreK-12 education
    • Training/corporate learning
    • Vocational learning
    • Experiential learning
    • Competency-based learning
    • Self-directed learning (i.e., heutagogy)
    • Mobile learning
    • Online learning
    • Face-to-face-based learning
    • Hybrid/blended learning
    • Hyflex-based learning
    • Game-based learning
    • XR-based learning (AR, MR, and VR)
    • Informal learning
    • Formal learning
    • Lifelong learning
    • Microlearning
    • Personalized/customized learning
    • Play-based learning
  • Cloud-based learning apps
  • Coaching & mentoring
  • Peer feedback
  • Job aids/performance tools and other on-demand content
  • Websites
  • Conferences
  • Professional development
  • Professional organizations
  • Social networking
  • Social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook/Meta, other
  • Communities of practice
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including ChatGPT, learning agents, learner profiles, 
  • LMS/CMS/Learning Experience Platforms
  • Tutorials
  • Videos — including on YouTube, Vimeo, other
  • Job-aids
  • E-learning-based resources
  • Books, digital textbooks, journals, and manuals
  • Enterprise social networks/tools
  • RSS feeds and blogging
  • Podcasts/vodcasts
  • Videoconferencing/audio-conferencing/virtual meetings
  • Capturing and sharing content
  • Tagging/rating/curating content
  • Decision support tools
  • Getting feedback
  • Webinars
  • In-person workshops
  • Discussion boards/forums
  • Chat/IM
  • VOIP
  • Online-based resources (periodicals, journals, magazines, newspapers, and others)
  • Learning spaces
  • Learning hubs
  • Learning preferences
  • Learning theories
  • Microschools
  • MOOCs
  • Open courseware
  • Portals
  • Wikis
  • Wikipedia
  • Slideshare
  • TED talks
  • …and many more components.

These people, tools, technologies, etc. are constantly morphing — as well as coming and going in and out of our lives.

 

 
Imagine my delight when co-founder of Coursera Daphne Koehler came into my office in 2012 to explain the radical concept behind her new business. What if you could Partner with the World’s best universities and professors to provide FREE online courses? Like other successful FREEMIUM models, you monetize the platform downstream by creating massive network effects and convert a small percentage to paying customers (we had invested in other successful FREEMIUM models such as Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Snap, so why wouldn’t that work here?)

Today, over 113 million learners from around the world access the platform to gain knowledge, to earn certificates and get diplomas from the top universities.

The Coursera ride has been amazing for most of the past decade, with over 100 million students, 200 universities and 5000 courses on the platform. And while the vast majority of the students on Coursera don’t pay a dime, the company has built a business with over $500 million in revenue and nearly a $2 billion market cap today.

Estimates are for the company to do $520 million in revenue in 2022, up from $415 million in 2021 and estimated $623 million in 2023. Coursera is losing money currently but has $424 million in cash and could turn profitable if it prioritized that and sells at 1.3x 2023 sales.

 

Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions — from cew.georgetown.edu

Summary:

Did you know that in the first year after graduation you can make more money with an associate’s degree in nursing from Santa Rosa Junior College in California than with a graduate degree from some programs at Harvard University? Data from the College Scorecard reveal many more surprising details of post-college outcomes for students and families about that all-important first year after graduation. Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions finds that first-year earnings for the same degree in the same major can vary by $80,000 at different colleges and universities. It also reveals that workers with less education can often make more than workers with more education, and that higher levels of education do not always result in higher student loan payments.

Speaking of Georgetown, also see:

In the U.S. alone, more than 39 million students leave college without a degree. Black, Latino, and Native American students are overrepresented in this population.

SCS’s program is designed to help students of all backgrounds complete their degrees and unlock their earning potential. The degree’s most recent on-campus cohort is composed of 62% students of color and 40% military-connected learners. SCS is introducing this fully online degree to scale this program to learners worldwide.

 

Are Microcredentials Finally Gaining Traction? — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim

Excerpt:

This month, the London School of Economics expanded its degree partnership with 2U to launch a series of edX microcredentials that provide learners with a flexible, stackable pathway towards pursuing a fully online undergraduate education. Wim Van der Stede, LSE’s new academic dean for extended education, graciously agreed to answer my questions about these new programs.

In that time, we’ve seen the power that online learning has to meet learners’ needs at every stage of their lives and careers.

The world around us is changing, rapidly, and we need to support professionals, alumni and students in refreshing and adapting their knowledge and skills, as and when they need, through evolving lives and careers. This is at the heart of LSE’s mission as a global social science hub of research and education, and plays a key role in achieving our mission to educate for impact by empowering students to develop the skills to solve society’s most pressing issues in an ever-changing world.


A side thought from DSC:
Speaking of Economics, I wonder if and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact the field of Economics?


 

Coursera is Evolving into a Third-Wave EdTech Company — from eliterate.us by Michael Feldstein

Excerpts:

This is the vision of Coursera’s three-sided platform at scale, connecting learners, educators and institutions in a global learning ecosystem designed to keep pace with our rapidly changing world.

Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda

Coursera's diversified model with 3 segments -- consumer, enterprise, and degrees

The point of this slide is to show the diversification of Coursera’s business. Degree programs may be down, but enterprise licenses and direct-to-consumer certificates are up. But it also indicates Coursera’s ability to diversify revenue streams for its university content providers. The enterprise business provides a distribution channel between universities and employers. From what I can tell, it’s a Guild competitor, even though the two companies look very different on the surface. The consumer segment started as the MOOC business and has expanded into the “tweener” space between courses and degrees: certificates, microdegrees, whatever.

 

Higher Education in Motion: The Digital and Cultural Transformations Ahead — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

In 2015 when Janet Napolitano, then president of the University of California, responded to what she saw as a steadily growing “chorus of doom” predicting the demise of higher education, she did so with a turn of phrase that captured my imagination and still does. She said that higher education is not in crisis. “Instead, it is in motion, and it always has been.”

A brief insert by DSC:
Yes. In other words, it’s a learning ecosystem — with constant morphing & changing going on.

“We insisted then, and we continue to insist now, that digital transformation amounts to deep and coordinated change that substantially reshapes the operations, strategic directions, and value propositions of colleges and universities and that this change is enabled by culture, workforce, and technology shifts.

The tidal movement to digital transformation is linked to a demonstrably broader recognition of the strategic role and value of technology professionals and leaders on campus, another area of long-standing EDUCAUSE advocacy. For longer than we have talked about digital transformation, we have insisted that technology must be understood as a strategic asset, not a utility, and that senior IT leaders must be part of the campus strategic decision-making. But the idea of a strategic role for technology had disappointing traction among senior campus leaders before 2020.

From DSC:
The Presidents, Provosts, CIO’s, board members, influential faculty members, and other members of institutions’ key leadership positions who didn’t move powerfully forward with online-based learning over the last two+ decades missed the biggest thing to hit societies’ ability to learn in 500+ years — the Internet. Not since the invention of the printing press has learning had such an incredible gust of wind put in its sails. The affordances have been staggering, with millions of people now being educated in much less expensive ways (MOOCs, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, other). Those who didn’t move forward with online-based learning in the past are currently scrambling to even survive. We’ll see how many close their doors as the number of effective alternatives increases.

Instead of functioning as a one-time fix during the pandemic, technology has become ubiquitous and relied upon to an ever-increasing degree across campus and across the student experience.

Moving forward, best of luck to those organizations who don’t have their CIOs at the decision-making table and reporting directly to the Presidents — and hopefully those CIO’s are innovative and visionary to begin with. Best of luck to those institutions who refuse to look up and around to see that the world has significantly changed from the time they got their degrees.

The current mix of new realities creates an opportunity for an evolution and, ideally, a synchronized reimagination of higher education overall. This will be driven by technology innovation and technology professionals—and will be made even more enduring by a campus culture of care for students, faculty, and staff.

Time will tell if the current cultures within many traditional institutions of higher education will allow them to adapt/change…or not.


Along the lines of transformations in our learning ecosystems, also see:


OPINION: Let’s use the pandemic as a dress-rehearsal for much-needed digital transformation — from hechingerreport.org by Jean-Claude Brizard
Schools must get ready for the next disruption and make high-quality learning available to all

Excerpts:

We should use this moment to catalyze a digital transformation of education that will prepare schools for our uncertain future.

What should come next is an examination of how schools can more deeply and deliberately harness technology to make high-quality learning accessible to every learner, even in the wake of a crisis. That means a digital transformation, with three key levers for change: in the classroom, in schools and at the systems level.

Platforms like these help improve student outcomes by enhancing teachers’ ability to meet individual students’ needs. They also allow learners to master new skills at their own pace, in their own way.

As Digital Transformation in Schools Continues, the Need for Enterprising IT Leaders Grows — from edtechmagazine.com by Ryan Petersen

K-12 IT leaders move beyond silos to make a meaningful impact inside and outside their schools.According to Korn Ferry’s research on enterprise leadership, “Enterprise leaders envision and grow; scale and create. They go beyond by going across the enterprise, optimizing the whole organization and its entire ecosystem by leading outside what they can control. These are leaders who see their role as being a participant in diverse and dynamic communities.”

 

 

U-M partners with Google to offer job-ready tech skills program — from record.umich.edu by Sean Corp

Excerpt:

A new flexible online training program on data science will prepare job-seekers in Michigan and beyond to quickly enter one of the fastest-growing labor markets and advance their careers.

The Center for Academic Innovation created the program, “Data Analytics in the Public Sector with R,” for data science and other professionals interested in how public data sets can drive decisions and policymaking in the public sector. The course complements current Google career certificates, flexible online “Grow with Google” job-training programs for high-demand fields.

Also relevant/see:

Google Cloud and edX Partner to Launch Cloud Computing Professional Certificate — from prnewswire.com 2U, Inc.

Excerpt:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Google Cloud and edX, a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU), today announced the launch of a Professional Certificate program in Google Cloud Computing Foundations. The certificate will bring edX’s global community of 45 million learners access to skills that are central to cloud basics, big data, machine learning, and where and how Google Cloud fits in. Registration is open today at www.edx.org, with courses beginning November 2022.

“We are excited to launch our Google Cloud training content on the edX platform,” said Chris Pirie, Director of Google Cloud Learning Profile and Partnerships. “This partnership presents a fantastic opportunity for learners around the world to build in-demand cloud skills on a proven learning platform.”

 

New Mexico College Publishes Report to Advance a National Learning and Employment Record for Skills-based Credentialing and Hiring — from prnewswire.com by Central New Mexico Community College

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.Oct. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In the current job market, applicants are usually asked to provide a broad résumé that lists the basics of their qualifications including college degrees and past work experience. It’s an outdated and inefficient system and one that Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) is now helping to improve.

Thanks to a grant from Walmart, CNM produced a comprehensive report that researches several independent efforts underway in order to build a model for creating a national Learner and Employment Records (LER) infrastructure. An LER enables the exchange of skills-based digital records that facilitate more efficient pathways from learning to earning.

An LER is more efficient and secure for both employers and job-seekers because it uses blockchain technology to provide security, trust, and transparency.

From DSC:
I still am learning about how secure blockchain-based applications are — or aren’t. But this idea of a Learner and Employment Record — which I’ve referred to on this blog as a “cloud-based learner profile” — seems to hold a lot of potential as we move into the future. Especially when the focus is increasingly on which skills a position needs and which skills an individual has.

I have used the term cloud-based learner profiles instead of LERs but the idea is the same

 

What a New Strategy at 2U Means for the Future of Online Higher Education — from edsurge.com by Phil Hill

Excerpt:

The acceleration is that 2U is going all in on the education platform strategy that started with the company’s acquisition of edX last year. The idea at the time was to rely on a flywheel effect, where edX can upsell to its tens of millions of registered learners taking free or low-cost online courses known as MOOCs, thus driving down the marketing costs required for the OPM business, while offering a spectrum of options—from free MOOCs to stackable certificates, to bootcamps and short courses, all the way to full degrees. The flywheel aspect is that the more the strategy succeeds, the more revenue is made by institutional partners and by the company, leading to more free courses and registered learners. It’s a self-reinforcing strategy that is the same one followed by Coursera.
.

 

The future of learning: Co-creating skills development strategies with employee preferences — from chieflearningofficer.com by Stacey Young Rivers
The limitations of developing just-in-time learning strategies perpetuate a paradigm where learning and development can appear ineffective for teams that have to move quickly and fail fast.

Excerpt:

I believe the future of learning will be a system where employees and learning teams co-create experiences. No longer will skills development programs be created in silos for employees to consume. Gone will be the days of conducting exhaustive needs analysis that can add layers of complexity for program delivery.

The limitations of developing just-in-time learning strategies perpetuate a paradigm where learning and development can appear ineffective for teams that have to move quickly and fail fast. Thinking about how to overcome these challenges conjures a solution similar to a metaverse, a persistent virtual world that is always open. One value proposition of a metaverse is that everyone can create their own adventure in an ecosystem supporting curiosity and experimentation, two areas undergirding skills development.

With this lens, understanding employee preferences for learning is the beginning of co-creating experiences, and one approach for how L&D leaders can begin to structure skills development programs. While conducting a study to engage employees in training, we uncovered new insights into where corporate L&D is headed in the future.

Also relevant here, see:

Workplace Learning: Still a Mess — from eliterate.us by Michael Feldstein

Excerpt:

There’s a mantra these days that higher education needs to get better at listening to industry so they can better prepare students for work. And while there is definitely some truth to that, it assumes that “industry” knows what it needs its workers to know. Former HP CEO Lew Platt once famously said, “If only Hewlett Packard knew what Hewlett Packard knows, we’d be three times more productive.”

In other words, a lot of vital know-how is locked up in pockets within the organization. It doesn’t reach either the training folks or the HR folks. So how are either universities or EdTech professional development companies supposed to serve an invisible need?

It’s not that they don’t know how to learn or they don’t like to learn online. It’s because their experience tells them that their valuable time spent “learning” might not equate to actual skills development.


Addendum on 8/15/22:


 

What’s the current state of OPM and UK university partnerships? — from neilmosley.com by Neil Mosley

Excerpt:

One of the big changes of the past couple of years has been the number of universities getting serious about what they are doing in the online distance education space.

Whilst the number of online distance education courses on offer in UK higher education has been steadily growing, the events of the last couple of years have spurred some universities to more intentionally consider what they are doing in this space.

For universities looking to develop an online distance education portfolio there has tended to be two main choices – make the necessary investment to do this themselves or partner with an online programme management (OPM) company.

In the UK, OPM partnerships tend to go under the radar and there’s not much widespread knowledge about who they are and what they do. I think more people in UK higher education should have an understanding of these types of partnership, not least because the number of new partnerships are accelerating.

Also from Neil, check out:

What role will MOOC platforms play in UK universities online futures?

Excerpt:

Nevertheless, as we enter a new era for online education, one in which there seems to be more universities developing partnerships to offer an online portfolio of courses, it will be interesting to observe whether MOOC platform partnerships will play a role in that and what this ultimately begins to look like.

 

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.

 

Opportunities for Education in the Metaverse -- from downes.ca by Stephen Downes

Opportunities for Education in the Metaverse — from downes.ca by Stephen Downes

Excerpt:

This short presentation introduces major elements of the metaverse, outlines some applications for education, discusses how it may be combined with other technologies for advanced applications, and outlines some issues and concerns.

Also relevant/see:

What Should Higher Ed in the Metaverse Look like? – from linkedin.com by Joe Schaefer

Excerpt:

The Metaverse is coming whether we like it or not, and it is time for educators to think critically about how it can benefit students. As higher education continues to evolve, I believe every learning product and platform working with or within the Metaverse should, at least, have these functionalities:


Addendum on 5/23/22:


 

100 Universities established an OPM, Bootcamp or Pathways partnership in Q1 2022 — from holoniq.com
Bootcamps are directing more resources B2B and B2G, OPMs are growing existing partnerships further and evolving their technology and healthcare programs.

Excerpt:

Higher Education, like the broader economy, is awkwardly emerging from an almost exclusively digital, isolated and stimulus fuelled environment into… well it’s not clear yet. University Partnerships continued to be established at pace through Q1 2022, albeit at a much slower rate than through 2021.



Also relevant/see:

College contracts with OPMs need better oversight, watchdog says — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Excerpt from Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Education should strengthen oversight of colleges’ relationships with companies that help them launch and build online programs, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an auditing agency for Congress.

Addendum on 5/11/22:


 

Coursera launches skills training academy for colleges and companies — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Experts say the move could help the company strengthen its focus on selling courses to colleges rather than consumers.

Excerpts:

Coursera, like other popular MOOC platforms, has made its name by bringing online classes to the masses. But lately, the company has been expanding efforts to provide these offerings to colleges and employers rather than solely to consumers.

The company doubled down on that strategy Wednesday, when it announced the launch of a career training academy that enables users to earn entry-level certificates from companies like Meta and IBM in fields such as data analytics, social media marketing and user experience design. Institutions — including colleges, businesses and government organizations — can sign up to make the platform available to their students or employees.

The move signals a shift in strategy for the company. While Coursera is still focused on delivering courses directly to consumers, it’s also been building out its offerings to colleges and employers. This business segment includes Coursera for Campus, which allows colleges to use the platform’s content in their classes. 


From DSC:
For those who think MOOCs have come and gone:

Coursera has been using academic content created by universities for years to build its audience, amassing some 97 million users by the end of last year, according to its latest earnings report. 


Addendum on 5/11/22:

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian