Future of Learning Top Reads for week of May 21 2018

Photo by  Tong Nguyen van  on  Unsplash

"Why the Lumina Foundation Is Betting Big on New Kinds of Credentials," by Jeffrey Young (interview with Courtney Brown, VP for Strategic Impact at the Lumina Foundation)/ @jryoung, in EdSurge News

"These MicroMasters, micro-credentials, are on top of a degree. So most people that get a MicroMasters have a bachelor's degree. They tend to be a top-off, not a beginning. We're trying to explore, could they be that first credential? Could an adult get a MicroMasters as their first credential, to give them that first rung on the ladder, and then take that and build on it?"

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

What if microcredentials could open up new submarkets between high school and college, and between college and work? For example, what if a high school junior or senior could earn college credit toward a MicroBachelors, but choose to work for a year or two before completing her undergraduate degree (by "topping off" her micro-credential)? What if employers began to hire people with MicroMasters instead of full Masters degrees? Might we discover that there is underserved market? After all, when Georgia Tech launched their fully online Masters in Engineering they learned that the typical applicant would never have applied to Georgia Tech's on-campus program.

We believe that microcredentials will become increasingly disruptive to higher education--and, by extention, high school education.


"Learning Is a Learned Behavior. Here’s How to Get Better at It," by Ulrich Boser / @ulrichboser, in Harvard Business Review

"A growing body of research is making it clear that learners are made, not born. Through the deliberate use of practice and dedicated strategies to improve our ability to learn, we can all develop expertise faster and more effectively. In short, we can all get better at getting better.

"Here’s one example of a study that shows how learning strategies can be more important than raw smarts when it comes to gaining expertise. Marcel Veenman has found that people who closely track their thinking will outscore others who have sky-high IQ levels when it comes to learning something new. His research suggests that in terms of developing mastery, focusing on how we understand is some 15 percentage points more important than innate intelligence."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Learning doesn't just happen. There is a science to learning strategies, which means there is a craft to teaching.

Boser highlights three key strategies that amplify learning:

  1. Organize your goals
  2. Think about your thinking
  3. Reflect on your learning

In the future, schools that thrive will have ways (probably many ways) to ensure that teachers and students and parents talk about the science of learning and the craft of teaching.


"Venture University: A Trade School for the Innovation Economy," by Tom Vander Ark / @tvanderark, on the Getting Smart blog

"Participants source investment opportunities, review pitches, meet with startups, conduct diligence, present investment recommendations, and vote on which investments to make. A typical cohort will invest in a handful of companies."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

To be honest, this is not a learning model that we find exciting or inspiring. However, the fact that there is a school creating a new model to meet new needs and fulfill new demands is "a signal from the edge," as futurist Amy Webb would say, that we should pay attention to. As the rate of change continues to accelerate, we predict that more non-traditional schools will crop up, and they will be far nimbler than traditional schools, who will have to make a choice about whether to compete.


Question of the week: What kinds of non-traditional school might appear in the next few years to threaten your established model?

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Christian Talbot