Future of Learning Top Reads for week of July 24

Photo by  Ross Findon  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash


If you want to sketch the contours of the future of learning, it helps to read beyond educational publications. Here is 1 video (with transcript) and 2 short articles that can help you sense the shape of where learning will (or should) go next:


“Forget the pecking order at work,” by Margaret Heffernan / @m_heffernan, on TED.com

“It means that what happens between people really counts, because in groups that are highly attuned and sensitive to each other, ideas can flow and grow; people don’t get stuck; they don’t waste energy going down dead ends.” [It is worth watching the 15 minute video, but if you can’t you can always read the transcript by clicking the middle tab under the embedded video.]

Why does this matter for the future of learning? As the World Economic Forum discovered in their most recent survey of hiring managers, collaboration is essential for our rapidly changing, deeply networked world. In the future, schools that thrive will not just teach the skills of collaboration; they will be built, from top to bottom, on cultures of collaboration.


“More colleges dropping out,” by Douglas Belkin / @dougbelkin, on Wall Street Journal

“[T]he broad decline lends credence to those who have long argued that higher education is ripe for a period of intense change and further declines. ‘In the next 10 to 15 years, we’ll see many fewer traditional colleges serving many more students,’ said Michael Horn, the co-founder of Clayton Christensen Institute [...]. ‘And an increased number of upstart educational programs serving students with online learning in shorter bursts throughout people’s lives’.”

Why does this matter for the future of learning? In the six decades following World War II, higher education was held out as the promise to upward economic mobility, but since 2007 a confluence of factors has depressed demand. The same factors are putting significant pressure on independent schools. “That drop in demand has led to a loss of pricing power among some private institutions,” as Belkin concludes. This is why public universities--and now some public high schools--are luring away out-of-state / out-of-district students with tuitions that are lower than private institutions. In the future, some schools simply won’t survive.


“Free robot lawyer can now help you with 1000 different legal scenarios,” by Luke Dormehl / @lukedormehl, on Digital Trends

“Having previously helped people appeal $4M worth of parking tickets and obtain invaluable access to government housing, Browder has now given his automated attorney the motherload of upgrades.”

Why does this matter for the future of learning? If college has been held out as the gateway to upward economic mobility, then law school has offered the promise of a lifetime of stable work and high income. For now, lawyers aren’t going anyway, but there will be fewer jobs, paying less money, under less desirable conditions. And as Dormehl concludes, the “use-cases [for people with law degrees] may be more limited than you might imagine.” In the future, schools that thrive will form learners who create unique value vs. train them to perform automatable tasks.


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