Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Dec 18 2017

Photo by  Ahmed Saffu  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ahmed Saffu on Unsplash

"Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined," by Sendhil Mullainathan, in the New York Times

"Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.

"Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.

"Take education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

There are plenty of places to find lists of skills and mindsets for the near- and middle-term future. Our favorite is the World Economic Forum's "Future of Jobs Report" (Jan 2016) that includes the Top 10 Skills for the year 2020.

In the future, schools that thrive will prepare students and teachers for the "unimagined" by forming them to "learn how to learn."


"Cost Of Education Is Rising But Learning Is Failing," interview of David Blake, CEO of Degreed, by Rajguru Tandon, in Business World

"In an ever-shifting world, we need a model of agile, continuous lifelong learning. [...] We have entered a world where we learn from a diversity of sources for the entirety of our lives. The problem with that is that credentials like degrees and certificates tell employers about your education and things like performance reviews only tell your employer what you did this year.

"While assessments are typically very narrow and hard to scale, none of those things tells anyone what you can do now or in future."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

As the previous entry in this week's Future of Learning indicates, lifelong learning--powered by a curriculum that teaches people to "learn how to learn"--does not match up with our current system of credentialing in high school and college, which imply that learning is fixed in time (and somehow ends at approximately age 22!). A nimbler approach to assessment and credentialing can promote the adaptive mindset that our age of accelerating change calls for. The Mastery Transcript Consortium is one model (for high schools) that will break down learning into bite-sized units. In the future, schools that thrive will rapidly design learning experiences for emerging needs and nimbly credential them.


"Oberlin faces budget crunch due to missed enrollment targets," by Rick Seltzer, in Inside Higher Ed

"Oberlin will seek ways to reduce spending in the short term, Canavan wrote. That will allow it to develop long-term strategies like broadening its appeal to college-bound students, raising money through a new comprehensive campaign, offering early retirement plans and placing stricter conditions on funding for large capital projects."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Oberlin missed its enrollment target by a wide margin for the 2017-18 school year. When one of the country's elite liberal arts colleges begins to face enrollment challenges, you know something is amiss. The Basecamp team sees this news as a lagging indicator of an underlying structural crisis in higher ed (and independent K12 education). Endlessly rising tuition costs and legacy programs have created unsustainable burdens. According to WICHE (Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education), there will be a 26% decrease in independent school graduates over the next 15 years. A perfect storm is brewing. In the future, schools that thrive will experiment now with changes to their business model that can scale up over time.


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