A futuristic brain illustrates the new Learner Revolution coming to higher ed.

5 ways to support the Learner Revolution on campus

A change is coming to higher ed, and the so-called Learner Revolution will upend traditional diploma-based learning models

Work-relevant skills and competencies should be at the center of institutional leaders’ plans as they strive to remain relevant and meet students’ expectations in what is being called the Learner Revolution, according to a new report.

Education Design Lab’s (EDL) ​The Learner Revolution: How  Colleges Can Thrive in a New Skills and Competencies Marketplace reflects the experiences of more than 100 institutions as they reimagine their roles and grapple with changes in traditional students, the need for continuous learning as in-demand job skills evolve, and increased expectations from students who want to make sure their considerable financial investments are beneficial.

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“Working parents and other adults looking for additional training; students who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college; and underrepresented minority students want the promise and value of higher education,” author Kathleen deLaski, who founded EDL, writes in the report. “New majority students and the employers who would like to ultimately employ them demand new mainstream models.”

The report predicts that “within the decade, all but the most exclusive learning providers, old and new, will compete for students at the competency and experience level rather than at the degree level. That is the principal paradigm shift of the Learner Revolution.”

Laura Ascione