Those who push online learning as a panacea for all of higher education’s problems, she said, has ignored larger problems in the current structure.

“[Higher education] is frozen in time, based on assumptions that don’t fit the current world. We need a broader vision of what it means to educate, not just how to integrate technology,” Rutledge said. “This means we need to redefine what it means to both teach and learn. Technology can augment education where educators are technologically literate, but there is much evidence that technology isn’t effective when it is just artificially layered over an already ineffective system.”

The Pew survey responses were similar to predictions in a popular web video created by Bill Sams, an executive in residence at Ohio University.

Sams, in “EPIC 2020,” details the great institutional and societal strife of traditional education’s Armageddon, culminates with details of the learning system of the future: Google’s Evolving Personal Information Construct (EPIC), which “will know everything that you know and understand everything that you need to know to optimize your life,” Sams said.

Degrees will be replaced by credentials and badges, according to “EPIC 2020,” following the model adopted by the Mozilla Open Badges program, the Khan Academy, and Udacity, a site started by a Stanford professor who taught a free, open online course in 2011 that drew more than 160,000 registrations worldwide.


Add your opinion to the discussion.