We have just crossed – in the past few months – the cusp of The Disaggregation of Education. Even though evolving, the working definition of the disaggregation of education is, after disruption, the education market breaks into smaller pieces. And, the smaller pieces that meet a changing market demand will be the successful ones, impacting all education venues, including higher education. As part of this disaggregation of education, higher education as we know it just died. While schools of higher education play a role in the immediate future in providing teacher preparation, that will change..
Currently, the change is evidenced by the following:
- The back-end use of algorithms to inform practice and teacher know-how on assessing student success by creating customized, differentiated learning, making it more engaging and relevant, e.g. School of One and Time To Know;
- The growth in competency-based v. seat-time requirements: “Thirty-six states have adopted policies that allow districts or schools to provide credits based on students’ proving proficiency in a subject, rather than the time they physically spend in a traditional classroom setting;
- The advent and growth of Learning Badges, which promotes the idea that learning need not only happen at “school” to be meaningful and to “mean something.” Kahn Academy’s granting of Learning Badges or some other form of Learning Acknowledgement, such as MITx, are now undertaking fresh forms of learning using emerging models, including Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These models are some of the early examples replacing formal education, especially considering higher education’s skyrocketing cost and young people leaving with huge student debts in their early life. Financial stress is already pushing the learning market to offer alternatives to the traditional routes. For example, StraighterLine provides low-cost offerings based on subscription, self-paced, online college courses;
- The world of Open Educational Resources (OER) gaining fast traction with the first world OER congress to be held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris next month;
- More monies available to start-up tech ed companies changes the landscape of possibility (see Potential Benefits for Education Startups Seen in U.S. Bill and various organizations providing upfront dollars via competitions, such as CommonSenseMedia, Imagine K12, and Next Generation Learning Challenges). Further, don’t overlook the Education Game X Prize. The challenge? “There is a global shortage of great teachers. If an online or mobile gaming platform existed that was able to reliably teach students in a compelling and engaging fashion, it would transform education around the world for anyone with a smart phone. Imagine if learning a subject was fun and done with your best friends.”; and
- Open Source Education being offered at no charge, as mentioned above, prompts one to wonder if communities – worldwide – spring up around these learning and independently organized opportunities, such as TEDEd, expanding globally the availability of flipped learning on a global scale. Currently, teachers are trying to figure out how to navigate the emerging landscape of MOOCs and yet-to-come learning environments, while also assuring quality learning experiences, not just cost-savings for educational institutions.
These are only a few of today’s observations; each day brings more. It is the Disaggregation of Education, incubated from a merger of market demands and technology power – beyond online learning, beyond disruption – that is dismantling our current thinking and approaches to education, and it will be learning that triumphs, hopefully, in the end and not solely the quest for large profit margins. But, know that the Disaggregation of Education will have – and has already – a profound effect on every aspect of education, learning, and teaching.
What are your thoughts? What observations would you like to share on the disaggregation of education?
Running the digital river of learning with you,