Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Apr 30 2018

Photo by  Casey Horner  on  Unsplash

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

"74 Interview: Deborah Quazzo on the Business of Education Innovation, the Nation’s Shrinking Skilled Workforce & the GSV Acceleration Fund," by Emmeline Zhao / @emmelinez, in The 74

"There’s a book written by Nathan Grawe called Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. There was a dramatic fall-off in fertility rates during 2008–2010, a depression that really has not bounced back. So if you look out to the 2025 area, you begin to see very substantial reductions in high school population that would be going to college: 10 to 15 percent, even higher percentages, depending on geography. And you also end up seeing a re-sorting of where the growth is."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

The demographic trends that will impact higher ed are obviously lagging indicagors for the trends that have already begun to impact K12 independent school education. We see three tectonic pressures facing independent schools:

  1. Demographics are shrinking
  2. Low- or no-cost school alternatives are siphoning families
  3. Rising tuitions (compounded by equally rising college tuitions) are unsustainable

When the pie is shrinking, competition is increasing, and pricing is unsustainable, it is only a matter of time before the field separates into winners and losers.

What is your school's strategy to navigate these tectonic shifts?


"Go to college, on and off, for life," by Steve LeVine / @stevelevine, in Axios

"At a time technologists are stressing that, to stay employed, workers need to keep learning their whole lives, the graduate business school at the University of Michigan is offering alumni lifetime rights to return for refresher classes for free."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

U. Michigan (among others) is a fast follower of Stanford University, which originally envisioned an "open-loop" college experience: "Rather than a traditional degree consisting of four consecutive years after high school, students can accumulate six years of Stanford classes as it suits them and their career throughout their lives." Gone are the days of ending your education after age 22. The future of learning will be predicated on the principle of learning how to learn... for life.

How might this alter the landscape of credentialing?

Speaking of credentials...


... "Why Entrepreneurs Start Companies Rather Than Join Them," by Steve Blank, on steveblank.com

"If the authors are right, the way we signal ability (resumes listing education and work history) is not only a poor predictor of success, but has implications for existing companies, startups, education, and public policy that require further thought and research."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

What if traditional credentials not only fail to capture someone's true ability, but also lead entrepreneurial talent to select out of working in traditional organizations? That's the thesis of a research paper reviewed by Steve Blank, a serial entrepreneur and creator of the "Lean Launchpad" K12 entrepreneurship curriculum.

In the future, schools that thrive will form their students to be entrepreneurial in their mindsets and skillsets. (Even if someone has no intention of being a classical entrepreneur, she will almost certainly need to act "intrapreneurially" within an organization.) Such schools should also consider new credentials to signal more reliably a learner's entrepreneurial skillsets and mindsets.


Question of the week: What is your school's strategy to deal with a shrinking pool of candidates, increased competition, and unsustainable pricing?

Navigating Shrinking Demographics etc.png


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Christian Talbot