Close this search box.

Forecast 5.0
Navigating the Future of Learning

November 27, 2018
By: Katherine Prince, Jason Swanson, Katie King

Discover how current trends could impact learning ten years from now and consider ways to shape a future where all students can thrive.

Navigating the Future of Learning is KnowledgeWorks’ fifth comprehensive forecast on the future of learning. A new era is unfolding in which exponential advances in digital technologies are causing us to reevaluate our relationships with one another, with our institutions and with ourselves. As part of this shift, we have identified five drivers of change that will impact learning over the next decade and imagine what those drivers of change could mean for education. How these forces combine and interact will present a new context for education and a new landscape of choices for transforming teaching and learning.

  • Automating Choices: Artificial intelligence and algorithms are automating many aspects of our lives
  • Civic Superpowers: Engaged citizens and civic organizations are seeking to rebalance power
  • Accelerating Brains: People have increasing access to tools and insights that are reshaping our brains in intended and unintended ways
  • Toxic Narratives: Outdated and misaligned systems and metrics of success are contributing to chronic health issues, including rising rates of mental illness among children
  • Remaking Geographies: Communities are working to remake themselves in the face of deep transitions

As you grapple with the changes on the horizon, delve into what they could mean for learning and consider what role you might play in shaping the future of learning, approaching the future with a spirit of exploration will help make it approachable.

We can never know how the future will unfold, but we can expand our ideas about what might be possible and necessary for learning. We can also identify where we might want to intervene, harness or adapt to shape a future of learning in which all students can thrive.

Exploring the future of learning today is an act of stewardship to our future communities and to the young people who will live in them.

Related Resources

Two posters accompany Navigating the Future of Learning, illustrating topics from the forecast and offering a visual jumping off point for conversations:

  • Drivers of Change: These major societal shifts that will impact education over the next decade. They combine multiple trends, patterns, plans and developments to identify broad patterns of change.
  • Provocations for the Future of Learning: These describe future possibilities for supporting the healthy development of young people, enabling effective lifelong learning and contributing to community vitality.

Executive Summary
Download an executive summary of the forecast, which summarizes key points from Navigating the Future of Learning.

Strategy Guide
Our strategy guide is designed to help K-12 educators, postsecondary education institutions and community-based learning organizations take action with the future in mind.

Discussion Guides
While reading Navigating the Future of Learning is a valuable way to explore future trends and their possible impact on teaching and learning, you can also use it as a starting point for rich discussions and strategic planning and help initiate positive action and change. To assist in productive conversations, we have created three audience-specific discussion guides for district, school and classroom leaders; higher education administrators, faculty and staff; and education thought leaders and changemakers

Additional Reading
We created Navigating the Future of Learning using strategic foresight methodology, which is a planning-oriented discipline related to futures studies. This allows us to identify common themes and make informed observations under conditions of uncertainty. We have compiled a collection of resources that helped inform Navigating the Future of Learning, as well as additional related reading. We will continue to add relevant resources to this collection over time.


Katherine Prince
Vice President of Foresight and Strategy
Jason Swanson
Senior Director of Strategic Foresight
Katie King
Senior Director of Strategic Engagement

Related Resources

Consider the countless opportunities for AI to enhance educational opportunities but also the ethics of using it as a solution…

Jason Swanson
Senior Director of Strategic Foresight

Artifacts from the future can help learning communities support their vision for the future.

Jeremiah-Anthony Righteous-Rogers
Senior Manager of Strategic Foresight

Technology is a tool, but teachers are the key to personalized learning. We answer some questions and address misconceptions.

Matt Williams
Executive Vice President, Chief Program Officer