Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dr. Faulkner: Education in 30 Years

Education in 30 Years

            For many years I have subscribed to a free magazine titled Training. It is a publication directed at professional corporate trainers. I became aware of it by accident but soon realized that we are in essentially the same business and that there were things we could learn from the corporate world.  In the November / December issue Bob Pike reflects on The 30_Year View of education.  Here is the introduction to his article.

USA Today recently celebrated its 30th birthday.  That edition of the newspaper contained both a backward view for 30 years and a forward view.  I read with a great deal of interest the forward view – especially when it started talking about education.
In a nutshell, the predictions are:
1.     Grades will be left behind.
2.     Learning will be tailored
3.     Learning will be high tech.
4.     Learning will be fun.
5.     Learning will never stop.
6.     The human element will remain important.

As we survey the landscape of education, I have to agree with these predictions.  More and more emphasis is on demonstrating competency rather than assigning a grade.  We can see the beginnings in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and the Kahn Academy.  Just a few days ago we saw in the media that Vanderbilt will join a coalition of 10 well know universities offering open, online courses.  We can demonstrate that the tailored, high tech approach works in our own emporium model for learning support.

The challenge is to adopt these all across the college.  So I challenge the faculty -  which of these are already true of your classes and what will you do in the future to move in this direction?


  1. This is a very exciting prospect! Demonstrated competency has always been the m/o in the arts. Learning has always been tailored, and, if not always fun, certainly satisfying. Growth never stops and the human element is always primary. Some areas are now high tech. And I would be absolutely thrilled to leave grades behind!

  2. Faculty across campus, thanks to personal effort as well as various college initiatives have begun to transform how students are assessed. The ability to more clearly and closely link a student's "grade" to attainment of course outcomes is perhaps the most positive change I have seen in my 21 years in higher ed. Technology brings with it the ability to tailor teaching to student learning styles. (Even in our distance education course proposal form, one of the questions asks faculty how they expect to address different styles of learning using the technology we employ.)
    And my personal experience shows that "learning never stops" and that more and more our students are beginning to realize that.
    So, while I consider USA Today to be a mediocre at best news outlet, I do think they hit the nail right on the head. (But I am willing to wager that if we took those journalists from 30 years ago and showed them HOW their predictions came true, they'd be just as suprised as we are!)