Digital disruption in higher education is inevitable: alternative models will challenge the status quo


Disruption is often more visible in obvious spaces and industries such as travel, entertainment, transportation, retail, etc. Eat). From apps to work in the Amazon warehouse, as the Oscar-winning film Nomadland shows, The last decade has brought us to the emergence of the odd-job economy, job splitting, and rapidly changing behavior. of consumers. If you are looking for what will change the most this decade, it might just be higher education. But it is not easy to make impactful changes to a entrenched industry. Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway tried to disrupt healthcare costs with Haven, and it failed. Like anything ripe for change, it starts with the problem and the opportunity. In higher education, there are a few key areas:

Bubble Trouble: The Post-Pandemic Economy of Higher Education

The cost of a four-year degree has skyrocketed – average tuition fees alone rose 361%, compared to 1963 and 69% of students graduating with a mix of private and federal debt. Yet he is always valued according to the opportunities he can unlock. However, the average American college student doesn’t have much choice in how to disrupt the system. Assuming $ 100,000 or more likely $ 200,000 in student debt is considered the cost of doing business to achieve career goals. Dan Rosenweig, CEO of Chegg, a textbook company, asks “is this the American dream or the American nightmare?” and asserts that higher education is a bubble.

Tunisha Singleton, an adjunct faculty member at Fielding Graduate University and a PhD in Philosophy and Media Psychology from her alma mater, believes diversity at multiple levels poses challenges: believe there are alternative models . Diversity has also been, and continues to be, a big issue in many areas. Yes, the diversity of administration and faculty because representation certainly matters and that’s something students can see as well. But also, diversity of approach.

In addition to college campus closures, the pandemic has also intensified the professional hub. With so many people suddenly out of work, alternative models are needed. Google recently unveiled plans to provide multiple certificates in a variety of subjects to help people return to work or change careers faster. It won’t bypass university or honors completely, but it does present another option depending on what field someone wants to pursue.

Digital disruption is inevitable

When Google thinks about it, you can bet the industry takes notice. 3M, Walgreens and CVS have all partnered with Carrus, a leader in digital education, to create fast, high-quality healthcare training that builds a pool of skilled talent for their businesses. This type of direct partnership, in theory, creates a faster and more direct talent pipeline for a company, and they can also tailor training to better meet their goals. Having a certificate or training program backed by a company looking to hire that specific expertise is extensive and takes some of the uncertainty out of the training process for a job seeker. Minerva, a highly selective online-only university, combines a digitally focused college without the campus experience with what looks like an Ivy League value proposition: “Nurture critical wisdom for the good of the world.” The professors here hold virtual office hours, and the digital university attracts students from all over the world who never have to leave their home countries to attend and graduate.

Employers in certain industries are also becoming aggressive in recruiting. For example, Gearbox Entertainment president Randy Pitchford has embarked on a virtual speaking tour of top universities such as Michigan State University, University of Southern California, and more to share his ideas directly with students considering a career in interactive entertainment. Pitchford recognizes the need for new ideas and perspectives to keep moving forward. The best game developers in the world ten years from now are probably people who aren’t even in the industry today.

Ben Shank, former CEO of the American Higher Education Alliance and current CEO of Tower Education Technologies, sees digital disruption differently when it comes to larger institutions versus smaller ones: “The larger, well-known institutions will likely continue, the campus model being their main income generator. They also tend to offer virtual experiences, but that is only a small portion of their income. Small and medium-sized establishments, on the other hand, have an important decision to make. These colleges and universities could continue to struggle and could even be forced to close if they choose to continue to rely entirely on campus students for their income. ”

Ben also notes the changing sand of degrees versus degrees: “Looking at it from a more consumer-driven perspective, COVID-19 has opened the doors for traditional and non-traditional students to get an education. customized to meet their needs. . Getting an education now is less about getting a degree and more about receiving micro-titles and alternative degrees. ”

The integration of digital education will lead the way

Much of the future of higher education will go digital to some extent. The pandemic accelerated change, but change was still inevitable. However, this will not remove the need for in-person tuition. Digital education is still seen as a way to complement education, create flexibility when needed, and enable students to become more proficient faster. That’s why Gartner estimates that by 2025, 90% of U.S. public school districts will use a mix of in-person and digital distance learning.

Instructure, the creator of the online learning management tool Canvas, has over 30 million users. They have worked with at least 14 states to maximize their digital offerings and prepare for that future. They also led an initiative with Zoom and other digital companies to help bridge the digital divide as we add more technology to education. Having digital education offerings prepares school systems for unforeseen future events like a pandemic and gives them more options on how they teach, where they teach, and when they instruct. Instructure even offers a quick tool to determine how much learning has been gained or lost during this pandemic so that school systems can supplement knowledge where it is needed most. It can also help students progress faster in their studies or get specific one-on-one help where it’s needed most. For some, it’s all about flexibility.

Nathalie Mainland, SVP and Managing Director of Education Cloud at Salesforce sees a future of flexible learning: “We are seeing more flexible learning options that will include more flexible cost structures for students. The four-year degree will persist alongside increasing opportunities for degrees, badges and certifications that will provide greater choice for all lifelong learners. Part of that flexibility includes what she callsstackable credentials “… she develops this as” the ticket to a more diverse and fairer workforce, especially for women, black workers and LatinX. “

Overall, while the traditional college campus experience is unlikely to go away, we are increasingly conditioned to online education. Some students will use digital education to catch up in certain areas, while others may use it to get a head start in pursuing a career in line with what they are learning. Much like the electric vehicle market, once you see everyone step into the game, it’s hard to deny that the digital transformation of education will accelerate exponentially. We are inevitably moving towards a less linear, more flexible, more certified and hybrid higher education system that adapts to change and, ideally, faces change.



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