More Predictions: Higher Education

Predicting the Future: Higher Education in 2112 (Part 2)

My workplace overlooks a big downtown university campus, and it’s always fun to see the frosh week excitement and back-to-school energy.

This made me think about: what will higher (university) education look like 100 years from now? Hard to imagine, especially because universities have sustained a pretty enduring business model and delivery system for – what – the last thousand years or so?

But I think we’re seeing the fault lines in higher education, some driven by students themselves and their expectations/learning preferences, some changes being driven by new technologies/social media, and perhaps the most significant changes are a result of globalization and rise of “educational megalopolies”.

So – here are some of my predictions:

This first one is kind of a no-brainer: Face-to-face learning will be the exception. Students will design and access knowledge and skills guided by both human and virtual tutors/faculty

Students will register and be affiliated with multiple academic institutions from the same family of university “brands” (as smaller schools become gobbled up by the big names)

Students will travel virtually or geographically throughout their academic careers and access a plethora of institutionally-branded choices in different metropolitan centres and online, with the entire academic record in a single transcript file location

The electronic transcript will look more like a virtual portfolio of students’ work and assessments, and will link to other accomplishments/activities

There will be no such thing as “full” courses (due to over-enrollment) because all courses will be webcast

The most successful university brands will offer programs in multiple languages: for example, English, Mandarin, Portuguese, Hindi, Russian (via automatic simultaneous translation of faculty/instructional materials)

Unique, personalized programs of study will be developed so as to fit specific jobs via proprietary algorithms (and these will be recalibrated as students’ career goals change)

Teaching performance will be graded on a variety of metrics – including student performance and feedback/reviews – and this will be integrated within mobile academic course calendars (inside-out universities).

  1. Fascinating comments! I think the entry points for higher education will be spread over a
    lifetime as the need to be in higher education becomes less focused on early adulthood.
    No longer will we be catapulted out of higher education in early adulthood.
    Our education journey will be more like a roller coaster.

    • I like the roller-coaster analogy! There are ups and downs, but regardless, we’re always moving forward as there is no endpoint to learning (until the ride stops, so to speak).

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