Future of Learning Top Reads for week of May 6 2019

“This Will Be The Biggest Disruption In Higher Education,” by Brandon Busteed, in Forbes

“Today, the #1 reason why Americans value and pursue higher education is ‘to get a good job.’ The path has always been assumed as linear: first, go to college and then, get a good job. But what if there was a path to get a good job first – a job that comes with a college degree? In the near future, a substantial number of students (including many of the most talented) will go straight to work for employers that offer a good job along with a college degree and ultimately a path to a great career.”

“Based on a Kaplan University Partners-QuestResearch study I led and which was released today, I predict as many as one-third of all traditional students in the next decade will ‘Go Pro Early’ in work directly out of high school with the chance to earn a college degree as part of the package.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Two important caveats:

  1. Consider the source: The author is the President of a for-profit higher ed institution that stands to benefit enormously from 1/3 of high school students “Going Pro.”

  2. Consider the psychographics to whom the author’s prediction most applies: “students who already have a career in mind, who value work experience, and [whose] families are looking for ways to make college more affordable” and “families who are also looking for more affordable college options, but for students who don’t find college to be a perfect fit for them, [who] prefer an applied learning environment, and [who] are considering trade school options too.”

That said, experiments that place quality and cost pressure on colleges will ultimately benefit all college-going students.


“9 universities partner to craft standards for digital records,” by Natalie Schwartz, on EducationDive

“The effort aims to provide students with a free service that lets them securely collect and easily share academic credentials from a variety of sources, said Gary Matkin, dean of continuing education at UC Irvine. […]

“ ‘We want to try to create a wallet of these (credentials), where you can pull these things out like a credit card,’ he said.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Here is one way this could play out:

Step 1: A digital platform enables new approaches to credentialing. Once it is easy to share verified higher er digital badges and microcredentials, traditional courses will face competition as signals of meaningful learning.

Step 2: Colleges unbundle their undergraduate degrees. Once traditional courses start competing with other credentials, the requirements for undergraduate degrees will begin to morph. 120 credit hours will now be just one of several pathways.

Step 3: Students begin to remix the atomic units of a degree. In addition to 120 credit hours and 12-15 courses in a “pure” major, you may have the option to create heterogeneous stacks of credentials—courses + badges + microcredentials—that result in new “species” of majors, and perhaps even entire undergraduate degrees.


Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot