10 Elements of Next-Generation Higher Education

Next-generation higher education systems will share ten elements:

  1. States replacing accreditation with performance contracting around outcomes (including real writing and math standards).
  2. Learners bundling from multiple providers; stackable credits and credentials (WA policy is better than most).
  3. Free access to a wide variety of online courses: synchronous online courses (e.g., Coursera) and open courses/content (e.g., Saylor).
  4. Very low cost credentialing: verification of completion and achievement (e.g., StraighterLine, Propero, UniversityNow and free CLEP prep courses).
  5. Broad access to low cost high-support environments (e.g., community colleges wrapping MOOCs in student services).
  6. Broad access to college credit opportunities in secondary schools: AP, dual enrollment, and MOOCs.
  7. Broad access to low-cost competency-based job certificate programs (also the best entry point for standards in postsecondary).
  8. Alternative market signaling strategies including badging, certification, portfolio, and references augment or replacing degrees in dynamic job categories (e.g., web design/development).
  9. Traditional colleges will reduce costs and boost completion rates with blended and adaptive learning.
  10. Colleges, companies, and associations focused on powering lifelong learning relationships.

Pearson is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Coursera is a portfolio company of Learn Capital.  

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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