Learning from the Living [Class] Room

A powerful, global, next generation learning platform -- meant to help people reinvent themselves quickly, safely, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently.

Among money-courses, the best synthesis to date is found at Reforge. With a subscription model like MasterClass, Reforge organizes courses around business problems like retention and engagementexperimentation and testing, and monetization and pricing. Who builds and leads them? Executives from companies like Tinder, SurveyMonkey, HubSpot and Instacart. Reforge has attracted these experts through MasterClass-like persistence and networking (and presumably an attractive economic model). And as with MasterClass, it’s now at the point where tech leaders are seeking out Reforge.

Beyond branded experts and production values, Reforge has added a critical third element that we haven’t seen in less expensive love-courses: synchronous learning. Reforge casts itself as a membership network where “each has something to offer.” So in addition to 2-3 hours of self-paced material each week, members attend live sessions where instructors apply concepts through work-based scenarios.

MasterClass’s first masterstroke was recognizing that when it comes to conveying expertise online, brand matters a lot. 

From Ryan Craig's 11/14/21 Gap Letter 

Millions of jobs lost in the pandemic aren't coming back, and many of those vanished positions were disproportionately held by people of color. As automation and other shifts accelerate, many of these displaced workers will need additional education and training to find new roles, as well as a rapid return on their educational investment. This means more of the short-term credentials that are getting so much attention these days — but it also means faster pathways to an associate or bachelor's degree, both of which have greater proven value in the labor market.

From Competency-based learning can power an equitable recovery -- highereddive.com on 10/21/21

Foster online discussions: Terry Ord, an associate professor in the School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, moved his class online during the pandemic, where it has stayed. Many of his students are from other countries, so he has had to figure out how to create a lively, asynchronous online community.

Ord created a forum centered on the lecture content. He broke his class of about 70 students into study groups of eight to 10 students, which remained fixed throughout the course. Then he released recorded lectures in groups of three to four at a time. The students had two to three weeks to watch them, post questions, and respond to other students’ questions.

“It was a huge hit,” he writes. “Most students went well beyond the requirements of the Q&A forum, spending time discussing ideas with each other and posting expanded details on content that they’d independently researched online. It was wonderful.”

The quality of discussion is actually better, he says, than in his face-to-face course, and the Q&A is mentioned as one of students’ favorite components, with many saying it pushed them to think for themselves.

From Teaching: Your Pandemic Teaching Tips by Beth McMurtire -- 10/14/21

Here are a couple of recent examples of learning-related platforms:




  • UND says it wants to “provide competency-based, online education that provides ‘micro-pathways’ or smaller targeted units of learning to individuals as a way to enhance their skill set and knowledge for advancing in the labor market or reskilling for a new employment opportunity.” -- from It’s like Netflix for education: UND considers subscription tuition model 

  • Curiosity Stream Is the Streaming Service Tailored for People Who Love To Learn — from
    And for less than $20 a year, Curiosity Stream offers something for everyone.

  • A pre-pandemic study shows that more than 4 in 10 college degree holders are underemployed and are likely to remain that way for decades to come. This coupled with the astronomical cost of college and mounting student loan debt raises a need for alternative pathways into America’s workforce. The current college system is not putting all Americans to work.
    Jobtech has the potential to be more effective for job seekers by aligning their aspirations more directly with the needs of employers. Unlike higher education institutions, a jobtech company’s profit and survival depend on people getting placed in good jobs. (Why Tech Companies View the Job Search As Big Business | EdSurge - 5/10/21)

  • "Perhaps most significant, this trend represents employers stepping in to fill the skills gap and build learning options to create the digital workforce of the future. It’s clear that these employer-issued credentials are becoming a major part of the broader, significant trend toward skills-based hiring—and alternative, non-degree pathways into careers and professional advancement. Why now? Because online education is now mainstream, and online platforms make it easier for employers to offer education on their own if they wish, separate from the traditional higher education enterprise. And, many companies can’t wait for higher education institutions to develop the shorter term credential programs employers need." (More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is A Parallel Higher Education System Emerging? | EdSurge- 3/25/21)

In 2021, it's all about rapid skill building at scale. This image links to the 20-21 Workplace Learning Report

  • In fact, the number one thing teens would change about college is the price tag. Their second top concern is making sure the path they take directly connects them to a future career. (source)

  • Given the expected concentration of job growth in high-wage occupations and declines in low-wage occupations, the scale and nature of workforce transitions required in the years ahead will be challenging, according to our research. Across the eight focus countries, more than 100 million workers, or 1 in 16, will need to find a different occupation by 2030 in our post-COVID-19 scenario, as shown in Exhibit 4. This is 12 percent more than we estimated before the pandemic, and up to 25 percent more in advanced economies (Exhibit 4). (MckInsey & Co. 2/18/21)

  • We are confronted less often with the traditional 18-year-old learner and increasingly with the 60-year learner -- students who return repeatedly through their career seeking upskilling and wholly new competencies. These students need just-in-time learning that addresses the changing needs of employers and entrepreneurs in an AI-rich environment. (source)

  • At the moment, “the higher-education value proposition is all around the most inexpensive education and certification that will get me a job,” says Susan Grajek, vice president for communities and research at Educause, a nonprofit organization that advocates for technology in higher education. (source)

  • Per Laurie Burruss on LinkedIn: The internet has empowered adult learners by providing new online tools to ramp up education and training. “The need for workers to keep pace with fast-moving economic, cultural and technological changes, combined with longer careers, will add up to great swaths of adults who need to learn more than generations past — and faster than ever,” said Luke Yoquinto, a research associate at the M.I.T. AgeLab and co-author of “Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn

  • Then some data from MOOC Enrollment Explodes in 2020:
    According to a new report by Class Central, a company that tracks massive open online courses, of all learners who have registered for MOOCs throughout their history, a third did so last year. Coursera, the largest MOOC operator, added nearly four times the number of new registered users, exploding from 8 million in 2019 to 31 million in 2020 — a rise of 387 percent. Dhawal Shah, founder of Class Central, estimated that Coursera's total number of users is currently 76 million. The second largest MOOC organization, edX, doubled in size, expanding from 5 million new registered users in 2019 to 10 million in 2020. Shah put the total user base at 35 million. UK-based Future Learn nearly met Coursera's pace of growth, adding 5 million new registered users in 2020, compared to 1.3 million in 2019, a boost of 384 percent. The total user base was estimated to be about 15 million.


  • Digital credentials leader bolsters workforce analytics and skills visibility for the enterprise -- resource from Ryan Craig's Gap Letter Vol III, #3 (Feb 5, 2021)
    Credly, the leader in digital credentials, announces Credly 360, a new offering that provides the most reliable workforce analytics and skills visibility available for enterprises. Powered by the world’s largest network of verified skills, Credly 360 allows organizations to better understand, engage and retain talent.

  • "Launching a new non-degree credential today is like building a bridge halfway (a pier); the only way to complete it is to build from the other side – from the employer side. And that’s exactly what digital credential apps will do. And once the enterprise has made better hiring decisions, we’ll see apps mapping career pathways, highlighting future managers and leaders and assembling more complete, compatible and diverse teams." Ryan Craig -- Gap Letter Vol III, #3 (Feb 5, 2021)

  • ...CuriosityStream is a streaming service for people who love to learn. It hosts numerous award-winning, thought-provoking educational content covering history, science, technology, and sports.

  • ...the social and economic imperatives for colleges to serve older students — offering them convenient, affordable academic programs — have never been more compelling.
    (Goldie Blumenstyk, from the 11/4/20 edition of The Edge newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education)

  • What will this new world look like? It’s likely, for one thing, to be more consolidated, with smaller numbers of colleges creating the content that can now be delivered, at scale, online. It’s likely that to be increasingly un-bundled, with the once-standard package (four years, on campus, with education plus everything else) broken into a myriad of more discrete and specific offerings. It’s likely to be distributed over a large segment of a learner’s life.
    (Debora Spar , Sr. Associate Dean of Harvard Business School Online, 9/10/20)

  • YouTube retains the #1 position that it is has held *for the 5th year running.* (emphasis DSC)
    Jane Hart, 9/1/20, Top 200 Tools for Learning

  • AI changes everything. It changes how we work, shop, travel, entertain ourselves, socialize, deal with finance and healthcare. When online, AI mediates almost everything – Google, Google Scholar, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Netflix. It would be bizarre to imagine that AI will have no role to play in learning – it already has. Both informally and formally, AI is now embedded in many of the tools real learners use for online learning...
    -- So what is the book about? (Donald Clark, September 2020); which discusses his book entitled, Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development

  • Information technology transforms industries by making scarce resources plentiful, forcing customers to rethink the value of established products.
    -- Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? (June 2020)

  • “Many—perhaps millions—will need quick, job-focused upskilling and reskilling." -- Opportunity America (June 2020)

  • The problem lies in an imperfect, incomplete market that does not provide comprehensive information over an individual’s lifetime to encourage a broader awareness of careers. Nor do we help individuals understand that career development is a process and not a destination, while showing them how to develop their lifelong approach to making a living. -- A New Model for Career Exploration in a VUCA World (July 2020)

  • "...it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficultiesfor colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person instruction. Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale." -- Dr. Micheal Crow, Pres. ASU, 6/25/20

  • "The Coronavirus has brought forth the Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — a time for builders to create the platforms, tools, and technology to propel society forward." -- source, dated 5/6/20

  • "As previously noted, in the next 10 years, the number of higher ed students will double from 207M to over 414M. In Before Coronavirus (B.C.), we had expected a lot of this growth to happen online. In After Disease (A.D.), all of this growth will occur online, and many of the students formerly on campuses will also be taking courses online. -- source, dated 5/6/20

  • "Millions of working adults must turn to digital degrees to improve their employability in a post-industrial economy that demands higher-level skills than on the assembly line." -- source, dated 3/5/20

  • "Technology-enhanced learning can help us keep up with demand and offer pathways for the existing workforce to gain new skills. AI-based learning tools developed in the past decade have incredible potential to personalise education, enhance college readiness and access, and improve educational outcomes." -- source, dated 1/21/20

  • "Voice is the most accessible form you can think of when you think about any interface. In education, it’s already started to take off."  -- source, dated 3/2/20

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© 2021 | Daniel Christian | However, the idea goes back much further than this:

Learning from The Living [Class] Room