Master's in Learning Platforms

“Learning together online” should the new mission statement of cross campus collaboration at every university.   It is as central to the future work of business students as it is to future educators.  “Learning together online’ incorporates emerging issues in information technology, intellectual property, neuropsychology, public policy, online business models, and innovation.
First generation learning management systems serve as harness for flat sequential courseware.  Next-gen widget-rich social learning platforms will create playlists from digital content libraries.  As our formal education system pivots to personal digital learning the backbone of the system shifts from a binder of policies to a digital platform–from computer as appliance to platform as nervous system, always on, any device, anywhere learning.
Andy Rotherham prompted these observations by convening a smart group of people with diverse experiences to think about next-gen preparation programs.
It appears to me that there is the need for a master’s degree in learning platforms (which at some colleges could replace old edtech programs).  Here’s the core course list:

  1. *Designing Effective Organizations & Schools
  2. *Entrepreneurship & innovation
  3. *Information technology: Web 3.0
  4. *Online Business Models
  5. *Digital Content & Intellectual Property
  6. *Psychology & Design of Learning Experiences*
  7. *Assessment and Learning Data Analysis
  8. *Public Policy of Learning
  9. *Rapid Prototyping & Project Management
  10. *Leadership & Organizational Development**

* Justin Cohen, MassInsight called this cognitive ergonomics
** Jeff Clark, NHA, called this complex systems
This sequence would prepare folks for many environments (i.e., anywhere learning is important—and that’s everywhere).  If offered online or blended (i.e., visit campus 4 times over 18 months) it could quickly become one of the largest degree on campus.
With a parallel incubator (like U of Utah’s Foundry), the program could be broadened  to a master’s in education entrepreneurship and could incorporate a start-up experience.
The leadership challenge in many organizations–especially schools–will increasingly be about creating, deploying, and managing outcomes on digital platforms.  Preparation program should reflect that.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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