Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Jan 14 2019

“The 10 most in-demand skills of 2019, according to LinkedIn,” by Abigail Hess, on CNBC

“ ‘Interestingly, the newcomers to our list were uniquely human traits: Among soft skills, creativity and adaptability joined the list for the first time, and among hard skills, people management was a new addition,’ [said Paul Petrone, editor of LinkedIn Learning].

"While digital skills like cloud computing and artificial intelligence topped the list of hard skills companies need most, the emergence of these three new skills suggests that employers recognize the importance of embracing modern technologies as well as recognizing those things technology can't do: connect with other people, engage in out-of-the-box thinking and quickly adapt to new priorities or problems.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

In a rapidly changing world, “soft skills” aren’t “soft” at all. They are both the “hard” differentiators between humans and machines, and they are the “hard” parts of navigating a VUCA world.


“Do historians miss the ideals of assessment, as some have suggested?” by Colleen Flaherty, in Inside Higher Ed

“Mintz, who said he has two classes with several hundred students each, aired something of an uncomfortable truth: that the most common college grade -- some 40 percent of all final marks -- is now A. That kind of inflation means that letter grades ‘do little to differentiate the level of student effort or the quality of student work or student growth over the course of a semester or program,’ he said. It amounts to an ‘unholy bargain’ in which ‘we don’t grade very hard and students don’t complain very much,’ he added. […]

“Project and performance-based assessments are much more likely to provide a ‘valid measure of student proficiencies and higher-order thinking skills than are multiple choice or short-answer questions,’ Mintz continued. And evaluation needs to be based on a detailed rubric, he said, suggesting that students may help create these rubrics.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Teachers often design assessments to make them easy to grade. This in turn makes learning easier to credential. And so we should not be surprised when we see credential inflation and grade inflation. After all, every system gets precisely what it was designed to produce.

But what if we reversed that order of operations?:

  • What do we want to credential?

  • Therefore what must we assess?

  • And so… what kind of learning experiences must we design?


“How to Move From Digital Substitution to ‘Deeper Learning’,” by Betsy Corcoran, in EdSurge News

“The biggest challenge for teachers is really around the dynamics of agency. More than anything else, that seems to be the sticking point—whether or not we want to give up control and hand it over to our students. It’s sort of about control and ownership and agency over what you do, and we violate that on an hourly basis in every school, everywhere. And so it’s about this idea that we have to turn things over to kids and let them drive their learning and make mistakes because it’s part of the process, instead of controlling everything so tightly [because] we just have these freakish control needs where we’re unwilling to let our students actually drive their own learning process.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

In the same vein as the previous entry, there is a good reason why so many teachers design experiences in which students merely comply or cooperate with the teachers, rather than collaborate and co-create with one another: it’s easier for the teacher to control.

It also results in a lack of learning. And what kid can afford that given what the world will demand?


Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot