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The future

This page is dedicated to thinking about future directions of learning and work.

The threat of Big Tech is real: Why it’s time to panic about what Google and Facebook are doing to our lives

An interview with Frankilin Foer, author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. "The problem is that we’re not just merging with our machines: We’re merging with the companies that operate those machines."

The Guided Pathways Approach to Higher Education

Practitioners recognize that merely providing institutional access won't suffice. Guided pathways "start with the students' end goals in mind, and then rethinks and redesigns programs and support services to enable students to achieve these goals."

Why Micro-Credentials Are Taking Hold in Universities

Universities are recognizing that learning doesn't always have to be packaged into multi-year chunks. It can also be broken up into less than 30-hour pieces, priced and awarded accordingly.

Artificial Intelligence

An indepth - and fascinating - look at artificial intelligence and what it means for humanity.

The Rise of the Useless Class

In the 21st century we might witness the creation of a massive new unworking class: people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society. This “useless class” will not merely be unemployed — it will be unemployable.

Adaptive Learners, Not Adaptive Learning by George Siemens

This is where adaptive learning fails today: the future of work is about process attributes whereas the focus of adaptive learning is on product skills and low-level memorizable knowledge. The future of work and life requires creativity and innovation, coupled with integrative thinking and an ability to function in a state of continual flux.

Facebook Helps Develop Software That Puts Students in Charge of Their Lesson Plans

Rather than have teachers hand out class assignments, the Facebook-Summit learning management system puts students in charge of selecting their projects and setting their pace. The idea is to encourage students to develop skills, like resourcefulness and time management, that might help them succeed in college.

What's Next for the LMS?

What is clear is that the LMS has been highly successful in enabling the administration of learning but less so in enabling learning itself. If current LMS designs are tied to a teaching and learning model that is being replaced with new approaches, then what should come next?

The future of the university: Speculative design for innovation in higher education

This exercise in speculative design — "speculating how things could be" — considers designs that critique our current moment but also suggest possibilities for what might be. Not all these designs are practical, but only in the sense that they challenge existing norms or would never pass regulatory muster, since they operate outside of and challenge those norms. But these designs also provide blueprints for new institutional forms (in at least one case, I am working to develop the design into an actual university), and there is no reason these speculative designs could not also be actualized.

The great unbundling of higher education

Bundling has been central to the higher education business model for centuries. Colleges and universities combine content and a wide range of products and services into a single package, for which they charge "tuition and fees." In other industries, unbundling has driven fundamental change. Digital technology has forced a revolution in a business model that, in the past, relied on bundling music that consumers wanted (singles) with the music that they didn't want (the rest of the album). Now, in a music industry unbundled by technology, consumers purchase only the products they want. In the television industry, viewers now watch individual shows, thanks to DVRs and Netflix, rather than channels or networks. Where does this leave the higher education bundle?

Turning to education for fun

A dumbed-down America? Not quite. Consider the academization of leisure: casual learning propelled by web culture, a new economy and boomers with money.

Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds

"Our findings suggest that individuals with less expertise can often have greater success in media penetration."

Report: Distance Education Is Here to Stay

From the Center for Digital Education

The Rise of the Servant Class

Routine jobs are disappearing at an accelerating rate. Nonroutine cognitive and especially manual work is on the rise. Washing your clothes, cleaning your house, walking your dog is the future of manual work.

Stanford's upcoming LEAD Certificate: Corporate Innovation

"New technologies have allowed us to rethink education as a journey rather than an event. This new program will provide an opportunity for executives to engage in deep and meaningful social interaction while at the same time consume education at the pace that's appropriate for them."

AI is destroying more jobs than it creates

"According to our estimate, 47 percent of total US employment is in the high risk category, meaning that associated occupations are potentially automatable over some unspecified number of years, perhaps a decade or two," predicts the report The Future of Employment.

Stanford 2025: An exploration of undergraduate experiences in the future (Nov 11)

Stanford University is exploring four big ideas to remake the undergraduate experience - open loop university, paced education, axis flip, and purpose learning

Let's Kill the College Major Jeff Selingo of The Chronicle of Higher Education

For most college students, the idea of a major is outdated in a 21st Century economy in a constant state of flux.

Open Educational Resources and the Future of Publishing Jose Ferreira of Knewton

Open educational resources will commoditize education content, forcing publishers to up their game.

eLearning Manifesto Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, Will Thalheimer

We believe that learning technology offers the possibility for creating uniquely valuable learning experiences. We also believe, with a sense of sadness and profound frustration, that most elearning fails to live up to its promise.

The dark side of business process automation: Lack of innovation and lethargic employees Mary Shacklett of TechRepublic (on Slate.com)

During a system failure, "we quickly discovered that there were scarcely enough "old hands" still on board who remembered how to bank with manual ledgers and how to make loans without automated decisioning systems."