4. Flattened Education World – in the past decade, colleges and universities have begun to see (and recognize) the “rock star” teacher. What used to be only viewed as a research proclivity (as it was research that brought in actual dollars), social media and awareness by governing agencies have created superstar educators. And so, as happens in any industry, some of those elite professors have been convinced to take positions in places other than their home schools which found them fame. In other words, the world of education has seen more professor leave their homes and even home countries to teach elsewhere. Some leave for research promises, some for more freedom to experiment with teaching, while others go because they have a heart for the world, and still others for money, and beyond. At the same time, more and more countries send their best and brightest to study under these Master teachers. 

Whether as graduate assistants or even just undergraduates, many of the innovative practices and strategic thinking around andragogy have been shared with students who are now back in their home countries, ready to educate. Add MOOCs into the mix, shared learning across borders, and co-taught courses between schools and again, across countries, and “rock star” teachers are becoming as available to students as ever before.While much of the education world worries about being a top X ranked school in the world, those titles are becoming less meaningful by the year – especially to students (and parents) for whom a real lack of transparency goes hand in hand with such rankings. And so, in 2014 I believe this will manifest itself in two significant ways.

First (and best) of all, with a few common languages (English still being the dominant), students are finding more and more global choice in higher education.Therefore, more transferability will take place than ever before.This will become obvious in organizations that help students with a “mapped” learning experience.Take any class from X, Y, or Z college and the credit(s) will transfer to A,B, or C University…guaranteed.  As well, 2014 will start to see institutions of higher education needing to find more ways to differentiate themselves.Ties to business and industry will be one decent marker. (“Our graduates get jobs in X profession 78% of the time…”) Others will start to push learning experiences that are personalized to schedules, learning preferences, and on and on.

5. A La Carte Learning – 2014 will see a major uptick in multi-modal programming.From badges to certifications to full degrees to diplomas and beyond, educators have stopped trying to find the single “best” way to educate and are now realizing that there are dozens of great ways to not only provide education, but also to determine success.While many Liberal Arts professors can still artfully debate the importance of a holistic education, the pragmatism of money, time, and other currency to consumers will matter.

In 2014, students will find more and more options, for some kind of credit, in both formal AND informal learning areas.Students will find more credit options in the MOOC space, the availability of micro-courses, via peer to peer studies, with cross-organizational / cross-country options, etc.As LinkedIn and other services push hard to get Badges and other “mini” certifications into the resume discussion, schools will follow their lead and provide smaller, “bit sized” solutions for hungry learners who don’t have time, money, or the desire for entire degrees.

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