Future of Learning Top Reads for week of June 11 2018

 Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Call this the "Alternative Credentialing" edition of The Future of Learning Top Reads...

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“edX CEO Anant Agarwal Announces Ambitious Goals for 2022,” by Henry Kronk / @henry_kronk, in eLearningInside News

"Let’s say I want to launch an online masters degree in computer science and I want to teach AI as part of it," Agarwal said. "And U de M and Polytechnique, they have one of the top deep learning programs in the world. Imagine if you could collaborate where they create a MicroMasters in AI, I create a MicroMasters in architecture or systems, and someone else does one in software engineering. Imagine if you could combine that and, when a student completes a MicroMasters from A, from B, and C, they could combine that to form an online degree."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

As Brynjolfsson and McAfee argue in The Second Machine Age, most innovation is combinatorial. Here, Agarwal, the CEO of edX and MIT Engineering professor, is arguing for literally combining micromasters degrees--from different institutions--to create new online degrees that wouldn't not otherwise exist. Such an innovation could produce new degrees that signal more relevant learning for our Age of Accelerating Change.

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"Graduate Studies & Microcredentials," on AIMS website

"Microcredentials: Micro-credentials are performance-based, specialized professional learning opportunities where educators can immediately apply their new learning directly to their classroom or work environment. Each micro-credential requires an estimated 12-15 hours of work and will span 4-8 weeks. Small classes of 20-25 participants per micro-credential will be facilitated by expert educators supported by Loyola University Maryland. These educators will also review all work and assignments, ensuring that achieving a micro-credential certificate represents a meaningful early step on the path to accomplished teaching. At the conclusion of a micro-credential, participants who complete the work at a proficient level will receive a Continuing Education Certificate recognized by Loyola University Maryland for future professional use. Only $150 per microcredential."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

This is an unconventional "top read," because it's a product description, but when I came across it this past week I felt that "the signals were talking," to quote Amy Webb's book on forecasting.

AIMS is the independent school association for Maryland and Washington, DC. In light of the previous entry on edX’s aspirations and in light of the the fact that they have partnered with U. Loyola (MD), the Basecamp team sees alternative credentials beginning to move from "the fringe" (Webb's term for diffuse signals) into "trend" territory (concentrated signals). The Basecamp team has followed alternative credentials for a long time and we predict that they will alter the landscape of secondary and higher education.

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"Stackable degrees could be the future of higher education, experts say," by Shalina Chatlani / @chatlanis, in Education Dive Brief

"[E]veryone doesn't need a bachelor's degree, which is raising demand for the sub-degree market," said Pulsipher, adding that the traditional higher education model is going to have to change. "The whole notion of the stackable credential is going to become real," he said, "and we’ll no longer talk about a four-year grad rate, because if I just scaffold my credentials, that may take 20 years."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

What if you could go back to school to get a learning "booster shot"? Such a model would be more responsive to the rapidly shifting demands of the global economy and community while reducing the burden on learners to invest years of pursuing heavily bundled graduate degrees. In practice this may mean that "the idea of a fall or spring term is not applicable to a student with a full-time job."

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