The Future of Learning Differs Depending on Local Context

Keynote presentation and sessions will cover the KnowledgeWorks future forecast, innovation and the impact of global trends on international schoolsKnowledgeWorks helps Pittsburgh explore their future, offers to also assist other communities

Topics: Future of Learning

Starting this fall, communities can work with KnowledgeWorks to explore how to take action today to ensure local education systems better prepare every student for the future of learning and work.

“Every community is going to have specific conditions in which learning is happening and specific needs that the community has to create an equitable future for all students,” said Katherine Prince, KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of Strategic Foresight. “We need to develop and pursue strong future-oriented visions for learning. Otherwise, technology and society will continue to progress at an exponential rate, leaving our education systems struggling to adapt and too many children ill-prepared for emerging realities.”

With more than 10 years of researching and exploring education’s future, KnowledgeWorks will work with communities to create a local forecast adaptation. Through considering The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code, working with local partners to consider the area’s current economic and educational landscape, and then creating a local forecast adaptation, communities will think toward the future to help plan for changes on the horizon.

“Different communities are going to experience change differently,” said Jason Swanson, KnowledgeWorks Director of Strategic Foresight. “Each community will have its own idea and vision for its aspirational future. The key is to consider those aspirations now and think critically about how they can harness change to get to that future.”

Recently, Pittsburgh’s Remake Learning Network, which brings together educators and innovators working to shape the future of teaching and learning in the region, commissioned KnowledgeWorks to help them consider the possibilities for the future. Swanson and Prince worked with Remake Learning and its partners to examine Pittsburgh’s in- and out-of-school learning systems, as well as to consider local signals of change.

“It was really good for us to think about our hyper-local context and look at things happening in our own backyards that are already shaping the future. I encourage every community to do that,” said Sunanna Chand, Learning Innovation Strategist at Remake Learning Council. “The most recent KnowledgeWorks forecast is a high-up, 20,000-foot view of national and global trends. It was really helpful to think locally about what our community sees for the future, what we want to change and how we plan to stay on course toward that future.”

As a result of the partnership, The Future of Learning in the Pittsburgh Region was released locally in the spring. Remake Learning Network distributed copies in the Pittsburgh Business Times and used the resource to throughout Remake Learning Days, a weeklong, community-wide event to showcase what makes the Pittsburgh region a national leader in innovative teaching and learning. Swanson and Prince also facilitated a youth workshop around the future of learning.

“In Pittsburgh, we think about the future of learning a lot because we want to create remarkable 21st-century learning experiences for kids,” Chand said. “But while we think about the future often, we don’t often think in 10-year time horizons. We’ve looked at and considered KnowledgeWorks’ future forecasts over the years, so it was a natural fit to work with Jason and Katherine to think about what learning could look like here in Pittsburgh.”

KnowledgeWorks has been forecasting the future of education since 2006, when it released its first-ever future forecast, the 2006-2016 Map of Future Forces Affecting Education. The organization then released the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning in 2009 and Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem in 2012. Its most recent forecast, The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code was released in December 2015.

As one of the only organizations focusing on strategic foresight for education, KnowledgeWorks’ forecasts and related publications have seen interest around the world with nearly 350,000 copies distributed.

Communities and organizations that are interested in considering what the future of learning could look like in their area can contact Prince and Swanson for more information.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.