It’s a hot button in the news. America’s educational system is broken, both at the K-12 level as well as higher education. The future of education looks bleak. But, how we do to fix it?
As I keep my ear to the ground, I predict four big changes we will see in schools over the next ten years. We will see these in schools and universities as our economy and our culture demand change from us.
Here are four big forecasts for the future of education:
1. Specialized Higher Education
When surveyed, Americans’ number one reason to attend college is to gain skills and knowledge for a career. It came in far above gaining a well-rounded education or to become a more informed citizen. We’re becoming more pragmatic with time. We want to do what works. We want to pay for what works. And right now, the job market is in need of customized skills. We will weed out unnecessary courses and rethink what’s mandatory, based on practical needs. We’ll see a diversity of colleges that offer special prep courses that translate into jobs and careers.
2. Student-Driven and Problem-Based Classes
Our current pedagogy just can’t keep up. About a third of teens drop out of school—which translate to 7,000 kids a day, and about 1.2 million students every year. It’s often not their fault. We fail to offer relevant subjects in an engaging manner for the 21st century student. In the future, we’ll see students using portable devices to learn their subject with a teacher on a monitor, observing their progress. It will be driven by the student, at her pace. Classes will be problem-based not merely subject based. Kids will be solving real-world problems which will engage their passions.
3. Ivy League for the Masses
By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require post-secondary education. Sadly, more than a third of students need remedial classes in college. On top of all this, student debt is higher than ever; the average graduate carries a $26,600 debt. 80% of Americans say the education isn’t worth the debt. How will we fix this? Watch for a growing Internet presence of Ivy League classes offered in an amazingly engaging manner. Educators from Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Duke are linked to these massive, open on-line courses and millions are signing up. They’re accessible and affordable or free.
4. Most valuable commodities: Critical thinking and leadership
Critical thinking is almost a lost art and eventually, education will realize it must recapture teaching this essential element in our society. Already it’s the number one reason university instructors give for the importance college. The same is true for leadership. As poor examples continue to seize news headlines, schools will make leader development central. The Higher Education Research Institute reports: In today’s world, every graduate will need to possess leadership skills (click to tweet).
These four predictions for the future of education are a taste of what we’ll discuss at our 2013 National Leadership Forum, on June 27-28th in Atlanta. This interactive forum will be our most invigorating one ever. We will hear from futurist Leonard Sweet, researcher Elena Bodrova, educational entrepreneur Kim Bearden, Undercover Boss Joel Manby, and myself among other special, surprise guests. Registration is now open. Bring a handful of decision-makers from your team…and prepare for your future.