Hacking the Economic Future of Educational Markets

According to Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen, modular competency-based learning is bringing about “tectonic shifts” in higher education. If so, what are the implications for K12 to remain relevant to contemporary learners? What will be the impact on teacher preparation?

In an earlier post, I examined the lessons that K12 could learn from MIT’s report The Future of MIT Education. Outlined in the report’s seventh recommendation was the growing importance of curriculum designed in modules, which the report defines as “breaking a subject into learning units or modules, which can be studied in sequence or separately.”  The modular design provides a foundation for online competency-based models that are aligned to meet workforce needs.

In Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen observe that post-secondary is “structurally incapable” of adjusting to student needs in learning new skills necessary for “jobs emerging on a day-to-day basis” forcing the consumer to question the return on college investment.

Weise and Christensen contend that modular design, coupled with online competency-based approaches, will become the more valued option for targeted skill attainment that employers are seeking. They write:

An examination of online competency-based education unveils the tectonic shifts to come to higher education. Over time, the industry-validated experiences that emerge from the strong partnership between online competency-based providers and employers will ultimately have the power to override the importance of college rankings and accreditation.

While this economic trend of “purchase for skills” (not degrees, courses or classes) may seem applicable only to higher education, think again. K12 public and private education has some skin in the game. I’ve written before about how an Educational Debit Card will provide learners (and families) more choice and the popular rise of micro-credentials (badges) to acknowledge informal but powerful learning. As modular competency-based education catches on in higher education and the demand for post-secondary diminishes, K12 must revamp the curriculum and experiences for students by providing more pathways for learners to access passion and interests.

K12 must revamp the curriculum and experiences for students as the demand for post-secondary diminishes, giving way to passion and interests of learners.

In coming posts, I will examine the impact of modular competency-based education on teacher preparation, liberal arts, and cities of learning. Meanwhile, how is your learning organization revamping curriculum and pedagogical designs to meet the needs of contemporary learners? How can your learning organization prepare to compete in an expanding market of educational choices?

Running the Digital River of Learning with You,

Emily Vickery

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The Disaggregation of Education (Beyond Disruption)

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:

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,

Emily Vickery