Seven Trends Impacting Edu-Jobs

Katie McNerney thinks about the future of education and the talent that will be required to unlock its potential. The CEO of EdFuel hangs out at 1776, a D.C. startup accelerator, with founder Kathleen deLaski, also the president of the deLaski Family Foundation. They’re working on a national market assessment called Map The Gap due out the first of the year. I talked to them last week about trends impacting talent development in education and some of the competencies that will grow in importance.
Seven Trends. As we explore in a new free e-book Navigating the Digital Shift, a confluence of forces has created the best opportunity we’ve ever had to dramatically boost achievement and completion rates. Seven of the trends reshaping edu-jobs include:
1. The shift to digital is changing everyone’s job from the classroom to the boardroom with a particular need for provisioning cloud-based services and supporting access devices.
2. The gradual shift from education as a place to learning as a service is resulting in an unbundling of offerings. In secondary and postsecondary education, there is growing access to part-time online learning, called self-blend, a la carte or course choice (see Louisiana Students Gain Online Options). The postsecondary landscape is rapidly changing with MOOCs, stackable certificates, bundled degrees, and competency-based employment certificates.
3. The growing number of formal and informal learning options is introducing more consumerizationfrom pre-school to grad school–a trend introducing demands for better customer service, brand awareness and improved outreach.
4. As we outlined in Improving Conditions and Careers, next-gen delivery models incorporatedifferentiated staffing–specialists teaching in multi-level teams with new extended reach strategies and leadership roles.
5. Distributed workforce strategies connect specialists to learners with special needs and allow some teachers to work remotely.
6. Students in blended learning environments produce thousands of data points every day. Making the most of the big data opportunity will require building smart learner profiles, applying predictive analytics, and new educational models (see Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles ).
7. Blended Learning Demands Big Open Spaces and some of us think It’s Time to Separate Facilities From Operations leading to new roles in facilities design, provisioning and management.
10 In-Demand Competencies. These seven trends are (or soon will be) increasing demand for a new set of competencies:
1. Authors like Doug Lemov and groups like APQC stress the importance of consistently high levelexecution–and that requires instructional leadership and process management.
2. Leveraging the personal digital learning opportunity requires what IDEO calls design thinking and what Clay Christensen calls disruptive innovation.
3. Somebody needs to manage all of this change; project management skills are more important than ever. For example, project managers will need to help balance consistent execution (#1) and disruptive innovation (#2).
4. Edupreneurs like Summit CEO Diane Tavenner apply lean startup and iterative development strategies to building new tools and schools.
5. Ben Fenton, New Leaders, noted an emerging skill for principals is “the ability to envision and implement new ways of organizing staff and especially extending the reach and success of the most effective staff.”
6. It is more important than ever to use student data to lead a school conversation about good instructional choices.
7. Expanding need for brand advancement and customer acquisition places a higher priority onmarketing skills.
8. As states and districts create multi-provider environments focused on outcomes, performance contracting and smart procurement strategies are becoming more important.
9. People that choose education as a profession often have a different psychological profile than people that choose a business pathway; bridging these differences can require a competent translator. Building support across diverse communities requires an unusually high degree of cultural competence.
A growing number of talent recruitment and development groups are pretty good at mapping competencies for edu-jobs. Jason Weeby said ” Education Pioneers currently maps to nearly all of these competencies, and updates their competency map annually based on robust feedback from their partner education organizations.”
Jason also noted the importance of leadership development and a tenth competency–the ability to build, maintain, and use a professional network. He also noted the need for competence in functional areas of finance, technology, operations, human capital, and data management.
As New Leaders and Education Pioneers have determined, the seven trends discussed above suggest it’s time to update job descriptions for EdLeaders and learning professionals.

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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