As soon as you finish reading this, go to www.FutureOfEd.org and check out the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning, a recently released landscape map produced by KnowledgeWorks and the Institute of the Future.
My friend Chad Wick flipped his foundation from a focus on schooling to a focus on learning. He’s been thinking creatively about this for a decade and is producing some useful tools.
The Forecast, while filled with Palo Alto hyperbole, points to some important trends
1. Altered bodies: this combo category combines cognitive modification and eco-schools—all overhyped for a 2020 forecast.
2. Amplified organizations: no question—social networking and open platforms allow amplification (maybe not ‘superheroes’) and advance meritocracy.
3. Platforms for resilience: this section deals with failures of public systems and the need for schools to be connection points for kids/families. This section points to the emerging learning ecosystem.
4. A new civic discourse: while they note a few hopeful trends, the larger and more destructive trend is the eroding political problem solving ability.
5. The maker economy: the discussion of the DIY economy is a little overwrought; more important to the global economy is the rise of India and China—and how the West participates.
6. Pattern recognition: the emerging ‘data picture’ of our lives makes me wonder about fragmented filters—newspapers and TV news used to create something close to a common filter; as we each create custom filters, do we create knowledge niches?
Change forces I wish they had considered more fully:
· Culture Matters: as Huntington’s book title suggests, clan culture and the role that learning plays is a vital input into a youth learning motivation. We attempt to combat a weak learning culture with engagement, relevance, and support, but culture has substantial influence on individual and group achievement.
· Geopolitics matter: while the learning ecosystem will emerge with some ubiquity, formal education will remain trapped in a web of local and national politics—some geographies will sprint ahead while others will remain trapped in 1950.
· Funding matters: there’s a global gap in access to quality secondary education—there will be continued cost pressure on learning systems as health benefits are extended globally to an aging world population.
· Investment matters: the lack of public and private investment in learning innovation contributed to the disastrously bad state we’re in. It’s too weak to call a trend, but public/private partnerships that leverage the benefits of philanthropic, venture, and public investment will be key to the FutureofEd.
More to come on implications of these trends.