Change credentials, change the world
- Traditional education isn’t the best fit for everybody
- Technology will play a pivotal role in delivering education
- Innovative credentialing models represent a growth opportunity
The global middle class is growing—and it’s hungry for education. But traditional delivery models in higher education don’t fit the modern student, who has to weigh the time and costs in earning a degree with its tangible benefits. Thus, the emerging models for higher education must be accelerated, focused, and market-driven. And, they have to be accessible and affordable. It’s a tall order.
At last month’s New York Times Schools for Tomorrow conference, attendees explored this growing demand for educational programs that help people prepare for 21st century jobs. So how is this trend really going to change higher education as we know it? It’s going to require new ways of credentialing students for their knowledge and skills, according to Kevin Carey, director of the education policy program at the New America Foundation and author of The End of College.
The colleges and universities that thrive in this new era will be those that partner with ed tech solution vendors, “just-in-time” alternative credential providers, industry leaders, and public policy organizations to offer new types of credentials that meet today’s learners’ needs. Here, a few top examples of innovative credentialing happening now:
- Forget the traditional credit hour as measured by seat time; competency-based education (CBE) models let students advance at their own pace as they demonstrate mastery of knowledge, skills, and learning outcomes in their program
- Many colleges and universities are using free and accessible massive, open online course (MOOC) content to flip their classrooms, enhance blended learning initiatives, or even deliver an entire year’s worth of educational content to students
- Digital badges are increasingly being used as micro-credentials for stackable continuing education and workforce development coursework and certifications
- Some providers of alternative credentials offer professional boot camps and coding academies focused on teaching students critical job-related skills
These emerging models are gaining traction as the U.S. Department of Education, private foundations, and professional organizations encourage institutions to experiment with the innovative delivery of high quality, accessible, and affordable education. And, in spite of the growing student population, personalized learning customized to each student is becoming a critical element in higher education—especially now that adaptive learning platforms and CBE technology are available to help institutions deliver this type of experience at scale.
With all the changes on multiple fronts, the intense competition presents a unique growth opportunity for higher education institutions.
How are you changing your delivery models and credentials to serve these new students as well as meet the needs of the educationally under-served around the world?