People love to speculate on the future of education, specifically higher education. Will it endure in its current form or will it undergo so unforeseen metamorphosis? Well, here’s what we think: We think education will endure a transformation, and it will re-emerge in six distinct formats.
Career Learning Accelerators
Partnered with innovative technologies, these will be short, intensive programs designed to impress speed learning on professional students similar to today’s two or four-year programs, but faster and more intense. These will be high-motivation academic environments, heavy in idea and skill practice.
These will shatter the traditional conceptual mould of school. Instructors will assign students study material and homework prior to ever engaging with them. The idea is to force students to familiarize themselves with the course material before coming to class to cultivate better in-class learning and participation. Students will be tested and evaluated in groups rather than as individuals in-order to cultivate teamwork and social interaction. This will be reinvention of the classic scholastic experience.
These schools tilt towards a de-institutionalized, decentralized academic model, though they will offer physical schools and classrooms. These schools will use technology and digital interfaces as the backbone of their educational model. Expect most of these higher education operations to be founded by entrepreneurs rather than career educators.
These will be industry-specific educational entities that service businesses need to evaluate competency or proficiency, and measure job-specific aptitude. This arm of tomorrow’s higher education will also allow professionals to demonstrate their value to employers and more expediently climb traditional corporate ladders.
Think World Series of Poker, but for high value jobs. Prospective candidates will be able to compete for jobs by submitting their proposals to a strictly ruled contest where first prize is a highly coveted position. These will serve as complex educational environments where intense immersion to the current talent pool will cultivate new ideas and expectations, while cultivating networking and social skill development.
Traditional higher education offers students a strictly planned bundle of goods — knowledge, opportunity, cognitive skill development, tangible skill development, and access to robust social networks. Unbundled education will still offer the perks of today’s bundled education, but it will offer them in a disaggregated, a-la-carte way, making higher-education significantly more affordable but still extremely valuable to the consumer. Students will be able to create customised educational experiences.
Can we guarantee this is what the future of higher education looks like, of course not. But based on prevailing trends, it seems highly unlikely that higher education can endure in existing format. The marketplace is demanding change and from what we can see, that change is coming.