Episode 14: Five Possible Futures (for Higher Ed) Beyond the Current Horizon

by Feb 19, 2020

Welcome to Education and Technology Futures, a videocast that highlights interesting trends and connections in the worlds of education, technology, and culture.

Everybody loves a good list, especially when it comes to predictions about future trends. In this episode, Rob takes a look at five possible eventualities for higher education by the end of the decade.

Full Transcript

Full Transcript

Everybody loves a good list, especially when it comes to predictions about future trends. It makes the first couple of months in a new decade particularly delightful, as everyone is eager to share their ideas about what they think will happen or what we should be focused on.

This is especially true in education and educational technology. As an example, in the past week, I’ve seen two more lists, one from Campus Technology and the other from EdTech Magazine. Both lists were compiled and commented on by panels of experts, people working on the inside and focused on the pressing issues they can actually see.

Their list of technologies and challenges points to all the usual suspects: Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence, Data Privacy, Workforce Readiness, Extended Reality, Predictive Analytics, and Industry Partnerships.

Of course, there are many future possibilities in education and ed-tech that are less obvious but that could be equally or more disruptive.

“What kinds of trends?” you ask? 

To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, here is a list of five things that may well come to pass in higher education over the coming decade based on current trends and trajectories.

  1. 50% of students won’t own laptops and will do the majority of their coursework via some form of handheld device.
  2. AI and predictive analytics will lead elite universities to use “academic genetic testing” as an important measure in identifying desired students. Using this measure, competition for top students will lead to enrollment offers beginning in the freshman year of high school.
  3. Universities will introduce lifelong learning models that lower undergraduate tuition rates substantially in exchange for long-term subscription revenue with 10, 20, and 30-year lifelong learning plans available.
  4. Businesses, dissatisfied with higher education’s inability to keep up with workforce requirements, will launch their own postsecondary solutions and establish global brands that compete for student enrollments.
  5. New models for affordable education will lower the need for federal student loans, which will significantly diminish the brands and power of accrediting institutions.

Well, that’s at least the start of my list. What do you see when you look out past the horizon in education?

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