Why think long term? Why think about the future of anything? There are no future facts, so what’s the point?
Because if you attempt to make sense of the amount of change we have today by using today’s thinking, you will end up with more of today.There’s a general consensus out there that what we have today is not working all that well, and that we need to change how we live and work and connect with each other and the planet – but how to do that?
To deal with the future of anything, we have to leave the status quo behind.This means unlearning how we see the world today, in order to be open to seeing what’s possible in the future.
If you stay with the status-quo, this is how you will look when the future hits you in the face,
And I know I would rather look and feel like this. This is probably misleading, because the future is complex and uncertain, but taking a proactive stance towards the future will help you seechange coming, and allow you time to respond in a meaningful way - rather than have to go into crisis mode when change happens around you.
Okay, in terms of the future of learning:from the first university in medieval times
To the ivory towers
To the mass university model
To new forms of online universities emerging today…learning – how content is created, put together and how it’s delivered, has been changing…
How learning will evolve into the future is largely unknown, except that it will change some more. The future of learning won’t be more of today.
What is clear today is that higher education is experiencing the onset of disruptive innovation – guaranteed to challenge the status quo.Clayton Christenson and The Innovative University – disruptive innovation definition…
For me I see four major trends that are starting to shape the future of learning today.
Personalisation is entering our lives from all directions – personalised health is a big one, personalised digital newspapers and magazines, snack culture, just in time everything – give me what I want, when I want it, in the form I want it, to the intention economy – car rental example – the individual at the centre of transactions.
Technology that enables – the rise of mobile devices – ereader, the ipad and iphone - As far back as 2004, Mark Prensky was talking about using mobile phones to deliver learning - mobile learning is moving up the trend curve.The internet of things – connecting us with physical things around us, based on sensors which we will soon be wearing, and which will be in our buildings – need to keep humanity in mind when this evolves.Charge Cindy story.Cloud computing – gives individuals access to huge amounts of processing power – new ways of thinking about computer, software and files. And allows big data to be a reality – synthesising huge amounts of data emerging from the internet of things.New businesses – the SF crème brulee cart (2009)
The Singularity – or technological creation of self-improving intelligence – is a trend based on the long term pattern of accelerating change that is projected to result in machines surpassing human intelligence and then improving own designs and augmenting their intelligence. When this happens, when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence, what sort of world will we live in? Will the knowledge brain chip or maybe the Star Trek Borg become a reality?What will learning look like then?There is now a Singularity University which aims to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges. One of its partners is Google.http://singularity.com/http://singinst.org/http://singularityu.org/
For education – open research, open educational resources, open access..Universities will also need to open to the change that is involved in shifting the educational experience, and what is means to learn.
Flexible workingNew jobsCoworkingDefinition of work and how we do it
Dave Cormier coined the term in 2008Online learning has been around for a long time, but needed that trigger to go mainstream.Sebastian Thrun and udacity at beginning of 2012 -
The degree is at the core of the learning experience in universities today but will it always be the case?Open content, MOOCs from best universities….If a degree exists, it will probably not be pre-packaged by a university – likely to be packaged by student in collaboration with an academic.
I can see big changes but they may not eventuate – the academic culture is strong.I can see the expertise of academics rising to the surface as the critical element in learning – not in the sage on stage variety, but in the learning facilitator, guide and certifier. Or the person who works with professional associations to accredit MOOCs and open content for professional degrees – who helps medical students find the nearest virtual cadaver facility for anatomy training… Some have suggested that we are returning to the really good old days of medieval universities where academics attracted students to the university, where there was small groups, personalised learning – in a digital learning environment, how would this play out?
Our understanding of knowledge is shifting- it’s open, digital and crowdsourced, so the academic expertise I referred to in the last slide will need to be defined in different ways. In the past, academics has a monopoly on knowledge because it was esoteric and you needed an academic to help you decipher it. And this may still be the case in the future, but that deciphering process will be different, more collaborative. That’s what can be shaped now.
And what will it mean for universities as physical entities – what will they look like in the future. How will they be structured, what systems they have, what work is like – all largely unknown, but will change as the learning process changes. Not tweaking though, not retrofitting change into today’s structures – we need new structures.
Remember that governments are mainstream institutions – not trend drivers – they react to trends, don’t shape them. They shape today’s behaviour through policy and funding decisions, rather than shape future behaviour.
Universities are like chameleons – able to change their ‘look’ to fit in with the environment, while maintaining basically the same structures and ways of operating.But this change will require more than tweaking a current model.
EduPunks Anna KamentzUnCollegePeter Thiel – don’t go to college, dropout and become an entrepreneur
Technology enabling this – anyone can form a learning group, sell a course (Udemy) set up a new learning websites.Riel Miler – sees a future where we don’t need more university graduates –where society is learning intensive society (can email you reference to his work on this – fascinating, deep and complex)
Following on from that, idea of connected learning where: ingeducation is conceived of as a responsibility of a distributed network of people and institutions, including schools, libraries, museums and online communities, bring generations together – driven by principles of equity, full participation and meaningful social connection.If universities can’t do this, the people will.
MOOCs are free, and conversation around business models – fees for exams and accreditation – but maybe wrong conversation?For example, pay for access to academic and expertise to facilitate learning experience? Pay not for tuition but for personalised support along the learning journey?
We can resist the change…
We ignore it…and keep doing what we have always done.
All these stances about change mean that you are happy to just let the future happen to you.
And fuzzy is hard for most people – give me structure, certainty and tell me where they fit
No linear path to the future
Context dependent so there is no one size fits all vision
The future of learning is up to you – embracing and exploring the change is a much better option than resisting – you will get run over by the change if you stand still.
Because this is where your university will end up if it doesn’t embrace strategic uncertainty and leave the status quo thinking behind.
1. The Future of Learning …is up to you Maree Conway Hub Melbourne December 2012
2. Long and good career inCAEs, TAFE, universities in 2005-2007Queensland and Victoria Managed their planning/strategy units 1999-2005 2012 2007….using futures approaches in strategy development, with particular focus on higher education. Working with government, non-profits, business and educational organisations.