higher-ed reform

Experts say we’re approaching a third wave of higher-ed reform

An evolving workforce will demand lifelong learning, and higher-ed reform will have to mold postsecondary education to follow suit

Demand-driven education aims to keep pace with the emerging global economy, which is technology-infused and industry-driven, and it also strives to keep up with the demand for skills that economy will require of its workers.

Higher-ed reforms will have to:
1. Develop and measure the specific skills that will be most in demand, especially interpersonal skills and complex thinking
2. Use dynamic and work-based pedagogy to grow learners’ competencies, while also preparing educators to embrace new forms of teaching and learning
3. Respond to the needs of the labor markets to ensure continuous alignment
4. Create flexible and adaptive pathways to allow learners to rapidly convert learning to earning
5. Support changes that make the entire education landscape function better, enabling traditional and alternative providers to participate in creating the future of education alongside industry

The authors outline a number of suggestions for individuals, education systems, and industry, pulled from promising practices observed in the U.S. and the U.K., including:
• Competency-based education, which allows learners to show what they know as soon as they know it and move quickly to the next level
• Employer and industry-led models, which radically lower the opportunity costs of education by providing further training on the job
• The latest labor market intelligence tools and techniques, which provide educators with powerful insights into the changing skills marketplace
• Dynamic and work-based pedagogy, to instill the critical skills needed for the future of work
• New pathways and business models that support access and completion for learners at any point in their career and at virtually any income level

Laura Ascione