As Digital Learning Day approaches, I’m taken back to my days working on the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning. While the 2020 Forecast was about much more than edtech and digital learning, there are certainly many connections between the future of learning and the digital learning revolution. As the 2013 version of the “big day” gets closer, I thought I would return to my future of learning roots and write a little on KnowledgeWorks’ most recent future forecast, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem.
This Forecast 3.0 contains five disruptions that will reshape learning over the next decade. Below, I am going to outline the five disruptions in Recombinant Education and provide some signals, or “examples, or early indicators” of how each disruption is beginning to play out today.
Forecast 3.0 Definition: “Transformational investment strategies and open access to startup knowledge, expertise, and networks will seed an explosion of disruptive social innovations.”
Opportunities to become an entrepreneur will be everywhere and available to anyone. With new, open networks that allow anybody access to the start-up knowledge, funding, and the necessary connections to turn their ideas into useful products, anyone who has the ambition and drive to make economic and societal impact will be able to do just that.
Ed Startup 101
Ed Startup 101 is an online course and community space designed to help educators and educational researchers learn about entrepreneurship, the premise being that “educators and educational researchers must reclaim entrepreneurship in the education space if we are ever to cross the bridge from theory to practice.” Course facilitators include representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, Brigham Young University (BYU) Economic Self-Reliance Center, the Romney Institute of Public Management, and the David O. McKay School of Education at BYU.
Forecast 3.0 Definition: “As big data floods human sensemaking capacities, cognitive assistants and contextual feedback systems will help people target precisely their interactions with the world.”
There is a huge opportunity to use big data to make decisions, but we’re going to need help making sense of the data overload that will result from the ever-expanding pool of information resulting from things like GPSs, cell phones, and our online activity. In education, we’ll be able to corral data about learners’ academic performance, and also data about their social and emotional needs, to match each learner with the particular learning experiences that will help them move forward. So we’re looking at a new frontier of personalized learning.
Knewton’s “adaptive technology continuously personalizes online learning content for each individual student.” Knewton uses real-time data around student performance to constantly offer up the most relevant material just when the student needs it most.
Forecast 3.0 Definition: “Activity of all sorts will be increasingly independent of institutions as contributions become more ad-hoc, dynamic, and networked.”
The way we work will be radically different in the future. We’ll see full-time employment decline as organizations use distributed networks to find the individuals who have the knowledge and skills needed to complete the tasks at hand. As ad hoc employees in this talent cloud, we’ll need to manage our personal brands and focus continually on learning new skills to meet the ever-changing needs of those doing the hiring. The more we move toward this kind of continuous career readiness, and the more learning providers and learners use social networks and other collaborative tools to facilitate learning experiences, the more room there will be for new kinds of credentialing to take root. So think beyond diplomas and degrees to things like badges, stackable certificates, and do-it-yourself credentials.
Degreed is a website that supports continuous lifelong learning by helping learners credential their education experiences from both accredited and non-accredited sources. It helps people get credit for all of their education and show others what they’ve mastered. They’re talking degree equivalents here, which they put in terms “jailbreak[ing] your degree.”
Customizable Value Webs
Forecast 3.0 Definition: “Innovative, open business models will leverage complex networks of assets and relationships to create ultra-customer-centric experiences across industries.”
As more resources become available as part of the learning ecosystem, students and parents will be able to combine a portfolio of these educational options together to meet their exact learning needs. Doing so will become easier and more cost-effective as learning providers continue to create new business models and platforms for content delivery and skill development. Digital tools will help people create and manage their learning portfolios, but educators will also play a key role in helping people knit experiences together in meaningful ways.
Shared Learning Collaborative
The Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) “supports personalized learning for all K-12 students by building an integrated and scalable technology infrastructure that links to the Common Core State Standards.” It’s providing the kind of backbone that will help individuals and learning resources move across a much more modular learning ecosystem.
Forecast 3.0 Definition: “Next gen cities will drive social innovation, with urban infrastructure shaped by patterns of human connection and contribution.”
More and more people are living in cities, but cities – like all governments – find themselves increasingly challenged to meet their citizens’ needs. At the same time, a do-it-yourself maker culture is shifting how people collaborate to solve problems. Instead of waiting for cities to get things right, citizens will come together to fill the service gap. Using rich information about what’s happening in their cities, they’ll create solutions that reflect where people are and what they need. Cities that use this new source of creativity effectively have the potential to spur economic development and embed learning across the urban landscape. We’re talking a whole new level of community engagement with learning.
By partnering with the AmeriCorps and community organizations, ExpandED Schools works to provide students with “more and better time to learn.” They do this by recruiting more teachers, balancing the curriculum, offering internships and apprenticeships, and providing summer and after-school learning opportunities to “create an immersive school day” that goes beyond traditional school boundaries.