The College of the Future: The Academic Environment

These learning teams described in the previous blog will be working in an academic environment that has changed dramatically.

  • First, learning resources will be free and electronically referenced to the subject being studied or project being implemented. So, upon the request of the learner, sequenced learning resources in multiple modalities will emerge with a keystroke to support the next steps of learning. These will include instructional designs, games, videos, simulations, labs-on-line, articles, and heretofore unknown additional options. The learning resource universe will be extremely rich and accessible.
  • Second, through the increasingly sophisticated use of learning outcomes, learning pathways will become both more consistent (in terms of the evidence-based outcomes) and more highly personalized (in terms of the learner’s participation in the design of her learning activities that satisfy the requirements). So, the evidence supporting learning will be clearer and more valid than ever. Program consistency can be better evaluated while, at the same time, learner flexibility is improved.
  • Third, all learning will be easily referenced to specific careers and jobs so that the learner knows how the learning satisfies not only academic, but also professional requirements.

There is one critical caveat to this discussion of staffing in the college of the future. As people design their programs and the student pathways to and through them, they must make the educational and academic decisions first. Then they should identify the professional functions and roles so they can define the underlying technologies needed. And finally, and only finally, they should describe the teams and integrated capacities needed to support the model. This type of “reverse engineering” will help safeguard the newly designed program from “legacy-program” creep through which “the way we have always done it” influences staffing decisions and compromises the innovation.

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