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The Future of the Education Sector


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Education is at a crossroads. Questions are being asked about the value of formal credentials while many of the most exciting innovations in our time are emerging from industry rather than as an outcome of a formal research project. The world has changed; what to do?

We’ve used our work on the Shift Index to view the education sector from a different perspective, and we’d like to hear what you think of the result.

Published in: Education

The Future of the Education Sector

  1. 1. The Future for the Education Sector v8 The Shift in Education Image: Francisco Osorio
  2. 2. Education is at a crossroads. Questions are being asked about the value of formal credentials while many of the most exciting innovations in our time are emerging from industry rather than as an outcome of a formal research project. The world has changed; what to do? We’ve used our work on the Shift Index to view the education sector from a different perspective, and we’d like to hear what you think of the result. 2
  3. 3. We assume that the future is like today, only more so 3 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 Yesterday Today Tomorrow MoreLess
  4. 4. … but those assumptions will not hold if the nature of the environment has changed 4 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 Yesterday Today Tomorrow MoreLess The shift from stocks to flows The shift from push to pull
  5. 5. The Shift Index1 showed us that how we communicate and collaborate has changed and that this has, in turn, driven changes in business and society. It also showed that Australia is better at generating knowledge flows than leveraging them to create value. The education sector appears to be the best tool to rectify this problem. 51. Peter Evans-Greenwood & Peter Williams (2014), Setting aside the burdens of the past, Deloitte Australia
  6. 6. Value used to rest on the stocks under our control. Digitisation has shifted our focus from the centre of organisations to the edge; from tending the operation of the boiler room that powers an enterprise to navigating the tempest surrounding it. Today value relies on tapping into the flows that weave through and around us. How has digital technology changed the nature of business and society? 6 Stocks to Flows This has changed the dynamics of many industries and organisations. Yesterday we used to push out solutions, products and information to meet predicted demand. Today we work with trends, enabling consumers to pull in solutions, products and information as needed. Push to Pull
  7. 7. Our current education sector is founded on the creation of knowledge stocks and then pushing these stocks into individuals and organisations. Our future education sector might be founded on the curation of knowledge flows, where knowledge and insight are pulled in by individuals and organisations as required. 7
  8. 8. Relationships based on stocks of knowledge that are pushed between participants The old relationships … 8 Industry Educators Student Credentials “We need someone certified to apply a known body of knowledge to a known problem” Knowledge “Provide me with the body of knowledge that I’ll need in my career.” Research “I have a specific problem that requires a general answer”
  9. 9. Relationships based on knowledge flows that participants pull from as required … might be replaced by new relationships 9 Industry Educators Student Capability “We need someone who has a demonstrable ability to synthesise a new solution to this novel problem” Skills “Help me find/acquire the skills I need to develop further” Optimisation “I have a general problem and I need to understand the specifics”
  10. 10. We foresee three big shifts in education The shift from a predictable environment to a less predictable one moves our emphasis from reductive analysis to constructive synthesis 10 Analysis to Synthesis Learning is no longer restricted to the classroom, as we cannot predict ahead of time what knowledge will be required, nor can we afford to take time out of formally acquire knowledge. Out-of-Context to In-Context We used to hire someone as we could trust them to apply a known body of knowledge, but today we need to be able to trust them to solve a poorly defined and novel problem Credential to Capability The shift from stocks to flows and push to pull is changing how we acquire and use knowledge
  11. 11. We need to teach the next generation not just how to pull apart the problems confronting them to understand each part, we also need to help them understand how to pull disparate parts together to create something new, innovating when confronted by novel situations. • Learning built around deliverables and outcomes • Experience in diverse contexts • The inverted classroom Analysis to Synthesis Image source: Emil Johansson
  12. 12. Learning is something that happens continually whenever an individual or organisation realises that new skills or knowledge is required to solve a problem. Expertise is pulled to the context and enabling the problem to be solved, with the knowledge worker participating and learning from the experience. • Simulation Learning • Service Learning • Industry-Based Learning Out-of-Context to In-Context Image source: Lars Plougmann
  13. 13. To build trust in what an individual is capable of, rather than their educational achievement, we need to understand: • The type problems the individual is interested in solving • Their success in solving these problems in the past Ideally we want to see a track record of real work. • “Open Source” • “Public Deliverables” • “Social Education/Publication” Credential to Capability Image source: Richard Masoner
  14. 14. A life-long relationship that is problem, rather than domain, focused The individual and the educator Our formal education provides us with three critical things: 1. It helps us to obtain the minimum body of knowledge required to identify, discuss and solve the domain of problems that we are interested in 2. It provides us with experience across a broad range of domains, so that we are: • aware of the limitations of our knowledge • sensitive to different approaches and domains • are hooked into the communities and knowledge flows that we can participate in and draw on as required, building a life-long relationship 3. It provides us with opportunities to demonstrate our competence and value by: • Enabling us to do real or simulated work • Supporting us in publishing the results of our labour 14
  15. 15. Challenge and opportunity rather than experience and credential focus The firm and the individual Our relationship is founded on a shared interest • The firm has problems that need to be solved • The individual is interested in similar problems We develop trust by looking into each others past and seeing what we have both done. We maintain our relationship as it provides both of us with the ability to learn and grow (scalable learning). We hire for capability and learning ability before we hire for expertise. We actually would rather hire smart and curious people than people who are deep, deep experts in one area or another. Laszlo Bock Google’s VP of People Operations 15
  16. 16. Insight and learning rather than questions and answers The educator and the firm Theory typically follows practice. The steam engine came before thermodynamics. Theory, however, enables us to optimise practice by providing us with a deeper understanding of the problem at hand. We work together to work smarter, rather than finding ourselves at opposite ends of a R&D agreement: • Firms benefit from insight into best practice and innovation from researchers • Researches need access to data and facilities that industry has For example: • Google and the self driving car (its not new, its just better funded) • NSA and cryptography (ditto) 16
  17. 17. Our value has been the product of research profile and credential quality. Now it’s the product of our community vibrancy and student achievements. It is the quality of the knowledge flows within and around our institution that create this value. Moving courses online is a double edged sword. While creating flexibility for students, it can also prevent the development of a community and reduce the value of our knowledge flows. Certification will remain, but it will be in niche areas. Research is something that the University invests in to increase the value of its knowledge flows. Educators Image source: Queen’s College
  18. 18. Formal education is a time to explore problems and build skills. It’s a hothouse that provides us with our initial knowledge, hooks us into knowledge flows, and helps us learn how to navigate the problem and knowledge landscape. Our education is built around solving problems and exploring opportunities, and takes place in public. We should view this not as the start of “life- long learning”, but beginning of “life-long problem solving” or “life-long exploration”. Individuals
  19. 19. Credentials are something we reach for when the stakes are high: medical doctors, structural engineers, etc. For most of our needs we use track record and an individual’s current abilities to determine who to work with. We engage researchers to help us optimise what we’re doing. The researchers work out what are the intersecting questions to research (since that is the first bullet point in their job description) and then bring us the insight we need. Organisations Image source: Angelo DeSantis
  20. 20. The new (or emerging) model of knowledge work Key questions If how we use knowledge has change, then how we think about knowledge work should change: • It was: the application of known knowledge to solve a known problem • It’s now: the integration/synthesis of knowledge to solve an unknown problem What is the shape of this new knowledge work model? It’s key drivers? How can we tell good work from bad work, when we don’t understand how the work was done? (i.e. identifying snake oil) How can we organise our institutions to optimise this new type of knowledge work? How does this new model integrate with the education and training sector? Life long learning? Or a life of exploration? If we change how we think about (and manage) knowledge work, will it be possible to improve productivity? 20
  21. 21. Skills not domains Key questions The penetration of digital technology has transforms some/many traditional domains of instruction into general purpose skills. Information technology – for example – is taught as a separate subject, where students learn to use specific IT tools and languages to solve arbitrary problems out of context. Does this still make sense? If the next generation is to move from being consumers to become productive members of society, then they need to realise that these are general, not specific skills. “Don’t teach them Java, show them how to use R to glean insights into a problem that they’re working on.” Subjects that we might (re)consider as “general skills” are: • Technology / Information Technology • Making / 3D Printing etc. • Critical / Design Thinking What is a complete list of these skills? How would we integrate them across the curriculum? Can we do this bottom up? Or must it be top down? 21
  22. 22. Managing the decline of (traditional) credentials Key questions Credentials are not going away. However, they are moving from being a general tool that we apply in all situations, to a specialist tool that we apply when we don’t have any other alternatives. Should we de-couple credentials/certification from course structure? • Currently the structure of courses and their content is determine (mainly) by the demands of the certification process at the end of the course (mainly in senior levels). Course is aligned with credential. • An alternative is to build course content around exploration themes, with students picking up credentials only where required (e.g. surgeon, food handling). Course is aligned with problems/themes. How would we decouple credentials/certification from course work? What are the practicalities? Do we need catch-up subjects? Do we need to create alternative – problem based – credentials? 22
  23. 23. Exposing students to the world Key questions If it’s important for students to create a public track record, then we need to equip the students with the skills to create and maintain this track record in a safe way. How can they learn to use a range of publication tools (blogs, Instagram, …) in a safe way? How do they curate their profile? Do some or all of their projects need to be warranted by an institution? How do we deal with IP issues? How do we equip them to deal with the dangers of internet fame? 23
  24. 24. Fellow, Centre for the Edge AU Peter is an advisor, author and innovator who has held leadership roles in global organisations through to start-ups and R&D labs Peter Evans-Greenwood National Lead, Higher Education Colette is a specialist in strategic change and policy reform and is recognised as for her insight regarding the education sector Colette Rogers CEO, Centre for the Edge AU Peter is an innovator and thought leader, founded Deloitte’s eBusiness Consulting, was CEO of The Eclipse Group and founded Deloitte Digital Peter Williams Partner, Consulting Fran’s extensive experience in public sector reform provides her with unique insight into system, policy and business change across government Fran Thorn We’d love to hear what you think 24 Principal, Consulting Former academic in the Law School at the University of Melbourne and former Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University Professor (Emeritus) Sally Walker
  25. 25. This publication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collectively the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this publication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication. About Deloitte Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms. Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence. About Deloitte Australia In Australia, the member firm is the Australian partnership of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. As one of Australia’s leading professional services firms, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and its affiliates provide audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through approximately 6,000 people across the country. Focused on the creation of value and growth, and known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programs, we are dedicated to helping our clients and our people excel. For more information, please visit Deloitte’s web site at Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited © 2014 Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. MCBD_Syd_06/14_050317