Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan, January 2016

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January 20-22, 2016, Claremont California

The design of the Institute for Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan, 2016 recognizes that strategic plans developed under a 20th century paradigm and context do not adequately prepare institutions for the realities of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem.

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There is mounting evidence that the condition of higher education grows more ominous. (Higher Education: Apocalypse Now?) One thing has become crystal clear — no more business or planning as usual. The Institute focuses upon the process of Future Proofing a Strategic Plan, detailing 10 vital planning initiatives required to prepare for the future to achieve fiscal and enrollment sustainability.

  1. Future Proof your Strategic Plan (The Importance of a Prototype and how to do one quickly)
  2. Revitalize the Academic Master Plan
  3. Engage Academic SEM Integrated Planning
  4. Develop and Implement Academic Program SEM Initiatives
  5. Revitalize CORE/GE Curriculum
  6. Refocus and enhance Strategic Position Strategies
  7. Optimize Resources
  8. Develop Capacity
  9. Solidify an Institutional Effectiveness System to Inculcate an Integrated IE Quality Culture
  10. Accelerate action, make room for the work

Academic leaders must plan to meet the challenges and opportunities of higher education as it is carried into the future by the paradigm shift to a global digital learning ecosystem. Without a Strategic Plan and Master Academic Plan that are aligned with future realities, institutions are powerless to forging near, mid, and long term strategies for enrollment and fiscal health of colleges, schools and programs.

Who Should Attend

The Institute is designed for institutional and academic leaders, including board members, presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, faculty leaders, academic governance officers, interested faculty, accreditation team members, institutional planners, and institutional effectiveness professionals.

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Understanding the emerging global digital learning ecosystem
    The first session opens with building an understanding of the emergence of the digital learning ecosystem and the changes to the rules in education and learning it brings. A survey of the overall changes, the rules and sectors they disrupt and the emerging principles that govern the future will be covered.
  • Session II: Future Proofing Your Strategic Plan
    We begin with the importance of developing a Prototype Strategic Plan as a means of shifting dialog to  framing the future rather than focusing upon the discomfort of change or the disruptions of current or past dynamics. Then we will provide a method to do one quickly.
  • Session III: Academic Master Plan for the New Learning Paradigm
    This session focuses upon the Academic Master Plan (AMP) or as some like to call it a Master Academic Plan (MAP). The AMP is critical to the future because it establishes all of the basic elements of the curriculum’s architecture. It is in the Academic Master Plan where the foundations for the future are established. This session assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats emanating from the degree of alignment between architecture, program design, course options, assessment strategies, and curriculum-learner optimization pathways. Particular attention is paid to creating strategic advantage through curriculum architecture revitalization.
  • Session IV: Establishing and Optimization Curricular Value for Market Advantage
    Examines the principles of sustainability and applies them to various curricular scenarios (such as revitalization of the core or general education curriculum, establishing community of practice based programs of study…). Focuses on innovating from where you are with what you have. Emphasis is identifying opportunities and focused implementation.
  • Session V: Understanding Academic and Enrollment Strategies Tactics and Capacities
    Examines basic principles of effective enrollment management, the fit and friction points encountered in academic SEM collaboration. Introduces the tyranny or the synergy of the link, or lack thereof, between academic and SEM calendars and cycles.
  • Session VI: The Academic SEM Plan
    Evaluates and constructs the principles of integrating the Academic Master Plan with the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.
  • Session VII: Securing a Strategic Position in the Global Learning Marketplace
    This session focuses upon the assessment of strategic position as informed through six lenses.
  • Session VIII: Optimizing Performance and Institutional Effectiveness
    Examines basic principles of establishing a comprehensive and cohesive system for institutional effectiveness. Identifying and defining capacity requirements and managing workflows and cycles to maximize fiscal and enrollment health.

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Join us at one or more of our Institutes to more deeply explore critical issues facing higher education and strategies to address them.

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American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know®

A MUST READ

Goldie Blumenstyk’s new book, American Higher Education in Crisis?, should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of higher education — faculty, trustees, executives, and government officials, as well as analysts and pundits. , President, Georgia Regents University

Goldie

“American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know,” deconstructs the journey into the future for higher education by posing the key questions facing higher education, policy makers, leaders, and academics. The books narrative, well worth the read, is structured into four narrative parts.

  • Part One: Students, focuses 14 questions from the learner. A provocative read, providing a sound introduction to some key issues. The scope of the book does not address many questions surrounding learning. What is learned, how it is learned, and what role does the learning experience play in the future of America and global communities. These questions, when viewed in light of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem, make the answer to the ‘crisis question’ a more profound yes.
  • Part Two; Costs, Spending, and Debt posits 32 questions regarding finance and economics. The questions focus on subjects common to the mainstream news and topics of interest in the existing fiscal conundrum. They do much to demystify and clarify the issues. The approach is helpful. A more analytical approach would be required to address the larger question of what is the strategic economic value of higher education as a foundation for building a new model for financing the enterprise. When deeper analytical details are considered, the portrait of the crisis grows more profound  and more complex as all 50 states and the nations around the world grapple with fiscal sustainability.
  • Part Three; Who’s in charge? Leadership pressures-from within and without is framed by 15 questions on selected topics. They provide a succinct populous view of some of the key issues and public dialogues and frame the most common fairly well. These may serve to open a Pandora’s Box of leadership challenges facing academe.
  • Part Four: What’s ahead is framed by 12 fairly short-termed questions. Acknowledging disruption as a major force confronting American Higher Education the author opens the door to deeper discussions concerning the future of higher education institutions

The real quest is to devise a sustainable learning system. Higher education globally is experiencing a Paradigm Shift to an emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem that is paving the pathways to the Learning Age. As the dawn of the Learning Age sheds new light on the potential of a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem, education can be expected to pass through at least three stages of change.

  • Disruptive change, characterized by two paradigms colliding abruptly. Fear, anger, disbelief, and resistance are natural reactions during this period of adjustment. (see Digital Darwinism)
  • Adaptive change, characterized by educators making use of the functionality of the digital environments but resisting substantive change to the system that controls and manages it.
  • Optimized change constructs a new system around the new paradigm and the adaptive learning culture that it nurtures. New realities shape the need for validated credentials and new features and functions evolve within the emerging digitized learning environment.

The Author’s deep experience covering higher education is evident in this work. While the issues Higher Education faces go beyond the acknowledged scope of this book, the challenges summarized in it, are a great starting place. It is a must read for anyone believing they have a right to an opinion on American Higher Education.

 

Institute on Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Learner-Centered Curriculum 2015

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When: March 16 – 18, 2015

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Claremont, California

The design of the Institute for Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning & Learner-Centered Curriculum recognizes the centrality of the learner to the curriculum and the primacy of the curriculum to the institutional strategic plan. It also recognizes that planning for education in the learning age is supported by a global digital learning ecosystem. The planning horizon is characterized by increased demands for accountability, increased competition, significant learner and institutional economic challenges, and significant differences of opinion on how the future should be approached.

Diagram-CCSPM

Who Should Attend

The institute is designed for institutional and academic leaders and planners, including chief planning officers, provosts, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, academic governance officers, interested faculty, accreditation team members, institutional planners, and institutional effectiveness professionals.  Our institutes explore critical elements of the academic and enrollment domains and shape new strategic horizons for colleges and universities.

I just completed a 3 day Institute for Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability (December 2014) with Michael and it was tremendously helpful. Not only did my enrollment VP and I gain a better understanding of the impact that the curriculum has on enrollment’s ability to recruit students but we learned many very practical examples of what works and what doesn’t in designing curriculum and attracting students. I think the Program of Study plan is very helpful in helping faculty design narratives that enrollment can use to sell programs. I would recommend Michael and his workshops to anyone who is open-minded enough to believe that higher ed needs to change and we have to get in front of that change if we are to survive and thrive! – Christine Pharr, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, College of Saint Mary, Omaha, NE

Our Institute series recognizes the need for unprecedented collaboration between academic and enrollment domains guided by new visionary strategic plans that forge a cohesive approach to a future full of uncertainty. We continually develop resources to help the journey into the future.

I had the opportunity to attend Michael’s first institute of this series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management and Sustainability. As a former Chief Academic Officer who thought she had a pretty reasonable grasp of enrollment management strategies and their critical integration with academic affairs planning – I was astonished about how much I learned not just from MGD in his presentations and discussions, but from those enrollment management leaders in attendance . The institute served to crystallize in just 2 days an approach, a way of thinking and resources that all provide a pathway for the work we need to do for our own institutions. Based upon the postings already offered to us on https://mgdolence.com/, this next institute appears to be a very logical next step – especially for academic leadership – to fully grasp what is involved in a academic planning for meeting our enrollment challenges in this new learning age. – Margaret K. McLaughlin, Ph.D., Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA

Session Summaries

  • Session I: Vision, Mission, Position Review
    Begins with a review of the vision, mission and strategic position of the institution and establishes a strategy baseline using the SRS method.
  • Session II: Learner Centrality
    Examines the tenets of learner-centerdness using a formal framework detailing seven framing questions.
  • Session III: Curriculum Architecture
    Reviews the basics of curriculum architecture and explores options and implications of choices on the alignment with enrollment markets.
  • Session IV: Master Academic Plan (MAP)
    Examines the fundamental role a MAP plays in the development of an institutional strategic plan. A focus on alignment with the principles of sustainability is maintained while exploring the implications of various curricular scenarios.
  • Session V: The Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning Model
    Examines the seven basic steps in the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning Model.
  • Session VI: The Changing Learning Landscape
    Explores various dimensions of the emerging learning age paradigm powered by a global digital learning ecosystem. The current state of innovation is examined and the implications of several important case examples are explored. Innovative programs of study and the fundamentals of effective program design are explored, as-well-as methods of embedding market value into programs of study.
  • Session VII: Institutional Strategies, Tactics, Goals and Objectives
    Structuring effective institutional strategies, tactics, goals and objectives as a means of optimizing short range (bump), mid range, and long range enrollment and fiscal health.
  • Session VIII: Prototyping a Learning Age Strategic Plan
    Posits four essental strategies and eight supportive tactical plans designed to build a sustainable future.

Institute Agenda

March 16, 2015

  • 10:00 am – Check-in & Registration
  • 1:00 pm – Session I: Vision, Mission, Position Review
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session II: Learner Centrality
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

March 17, 2015

  • 8:00 am – Continental Breakfast (Provided)
  • 8:30 am – Session III: Curriculum Architecture
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session IV: Master Academic Plan
  • 12:00 pm Lunch (Provided) Break, Check In & Networking
  • 1:00 pm – Session V: The Curriculum Centered Strategic Planning Model
  • 3:00 pm – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 3:20 pm – Session VI: The Changing Learning Landscape
  • 5:00 pm – Sessions Conclude

March 18, 2015

  • 8:00 am Continental Breakfast (Provided) & Networking
  • 8:30 am – Session VII: Institutional Strategies, Tactics, Goals and Objectives
  • 10:00 am – Break, Check In & Networking
  • 10:20 am – Session VIII: Prototyping a Learning Age Strategic Plan
  • 12:00 pm – Adjourn

Institute Philosophy & Pedagogy

COAS MGDA Cert0001The current paradigm shift to the learning age is powered by a global digital learning ecosystem and requires unprecedented focus on academic strategy to meet the challenges it presents. The institute is built around a philosophy that is both learner and learning centered, focused through a lens that is intensely curriculum-centered. The Institute curriculum frames a strategic plan that is designed to deliver practical strategic solutions for short, medium and long range impact. Institute pedagogy uses a blended seminar style guided by a digital interactive syllabus with readings, self-study and participant dialog. Participants will use their institution as the subject of their case study. Participants will have the opportunity for interaction with institute colleagues long after attending the program as they contribute to the strategic planning community of practice.

About the Faculty

Michael G. DolenceMichael Dolence is President of Michael G. Dolence and Associates, a global research and consulting firm specializing in innovation in education, academic planning, curriculum development and enrollment management. Michael developed the Strategic Decision Engine, a structured strategic planning model published in Working Toward Strategic Change. Continued development lead to the Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning model and the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework. To facilitate the development of 21st century curricula he synthesized the Proficiency Based Curriculum Architecture Model.

MGDA has developed a comprehensive curriculum planning and prototyping software system used to design academic prototypes for new universities and academic facilities worldwide. The system supports program of study design and development as-well-as academic optimization scenario analysis and innovative curricula design.

Logistics

  • Institute Terms of Payment and Refund Policy
  • Enrollment is limited to 40 participants.
  • Accommodations are NOT included in Institute Registration and are the responsibility of the attendee. A separate link directly to the hotel is provided for convenience.
  • Institute seating is rounds of 6 providing ample space for each participant.
  • Wi-Fi will support access to online resources.
  • We recommend at least two individuals from an institution attend, one from institutional planning and one from academic governance or leadership.
  • Monday afternoon start time permits Saturday air travel and Wednesday departure and is served by five airports (LAX, SNA, BUR, ONT, LGB ).
  • Claremont location is central to Los Angeles area sites and attractions.
  • Participants are on their own for dinner Monday and Tuesday. Options include hotel dining or the numerous restaurants in the village of Claremont.
  • Hotel Shuttle is available for the short ride to the village or take your time and enjoy the walk through the streets of the City of Trees.

Selected Topics to be Covered

As we work through the concepts and construct individual pathways to developing a strategic plan there are a hosts of tools, methods, concepts and approaches we will introduce and use. Here are a few examples:

Curriculum Architecture

What is curriculum architecture and why is it important? How is it incorporated into SEM Strategy? How does academic strategy inform SEM strategy via curriculum architecture? How does SEM strategy inform curriculum and how are the insights rendered into implementable initiatives?

SRS Method of Strategy Development & Mission Review

The SRS Method provides a framework for structured dialog that integrates institutional mission and vision with curriculum and enrollment management. How does mission and vision translate to strategy and sustainability?

Adult Learning Achieves Primacy Across Global Societies

The number of adults engaged in formal learning around the globe in any giving year is astounding. Increasingly adult participation in learning is enabled through the robust emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. Globally this is  nurtured by such applications as universal language translation. Together these factors help define the rapidly evolving Learning Age. There are a number of sources for global data on adult participation rates in education and formal learning. Global efforts are not directly comparable but together they illustrate the massive investment people from around the world are making in continuous learning. The questions for higher education are a matter of Academic Strategy and are learner-centric in nature. Seven framing questions focus attention on the learner and learning:

  1. Who are the engaged learners?
  2. What objectives do engaged learners seek?
  3. What learning provider models and curricula are available to the learners?
  4. What learning theories and methods are appropriate for specific learners and the objectives they seek?
  5. What is the optimum curriculum architecture for an institution or educational entity in the 21st Century?
  6. What specific curriculum can be configured to meet the learning needs of the learner population(s) an institution has chosen or been charged to serve?
  7. What support services are necessary to enable specific learner population(s) to successfully complete the curriculum and meet their objectives?

In this post we will focus on the numbers of learners in the adult learning marketplace. We begin in Europe.

An Overview from OECD

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organization of 34 countries founded in 1961 (with roots back to 1948) to stimulate economic progress and world trade. OECD maintains the Indicators of Education Systems (INES) program that provides data on the performance of the education systems in the OECD’s 34 member countries and a set of partner countries, including non-member G20 nations. In a report Skills Beyond School they report adult participation in Education and Learning in OECD Member countries. Combined the European population covered by OECD is a little more than the U.S. at just under 400 million. Findings include:

  • Across the OECD, more than 40% of adults participate in formal and/or non-formal education in a given year. (This is the same range as U.S. adult participation rates.) The proportion ranges from more than 60% in New Zealand and Sweden to less than 15% in Greece and Hungary.
  • On average in the OECD area, an individual can expect to receive 988 hours of instruction in non-formal education during his or her working life, of which 715 hours are instruction in job-related non-formal education.
  • Overall, 27% of adults in OECD countries have looked for information on learning possibilities in the preceding 12 months, and 87% of those seeking information found some.
Figure 1: Participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education, (OECD Chart C5.4)

Figure 1: Participation rate in formal and/or non-formal education, (OECD Chart C5.4)

 

Figure 2: Participation rate in all and in job-related non-formal education, hours of instruction per participant and per adult in job-related non-formal education, 2007 (OECD Chart C5.2)

Figure 2: Participation rate in all and in job-related non-formal education, hours of instruction per participant and per adult in job-related non-formal education, 2007 (OECD Chart C5.2)

 

Figure 3: OECD Expected hours over the working life in all non-formal education and in job-related non-formal education, 2007

Figure 3: OECD Expected hours over the working life in all non-formal education and in job-related non-formal education, 2007

 

European Numbers from Eurostat Indicating Changes in Rates Over 20+ Years

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. It provides the European Union with statistics that enable comparisons between countries and regions. The Adult Education Survey (AES) is a household survey on lifelong learning. People living in private households are interviewed about their participation in education and training activities (formal, non-formal and informal learning). The target population of the survey is composed of people aged 25 to 64. The survey takes place every five years and its results are published on Eurostat website. Eurostat also provides Population Statistics of European countries.

Figure 4: Adult Learners Age 25 to 64 Who Reported Receiving Education

Figure 4: Adult Learners Age 25 to 64 Who Reported Receiving Education

 Source: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tsdsc440

The variability in participation rates among the European nations is profound. The focus on assessing and enhancing participation in educational activities however, is universally among the highest priorities. For deeper insights a visit to the OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, is worth the time.

U.S. Adult Participation Rates Numbers from NCES

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary U.S. entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population, thereby offering policymakers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The latest numbers for the U.S. Adult Participation Rates is for 2005.

Figure 5: U.S. Summary of All Adults Enrolled in Any Program 1991-2005

Figure 5: U.S. Summary of All Adults Enrolled in Any Program 1991-2005

 Participation Varies by Age Category

Breaking out the rates by age group highlights that Eurostat begins its age classifications of adult learners at 25 where as the U.S. NHES included 17-24 year olds.

Figure 6: U.S. Adult Participation in Education by Age Group

Figure 6: U.S. Adult Participation in Education by Age Group

 

The U.S. Undergraduate Demographic

Reflecting on the characteristics of enrolled college students informs a deeper look at adult learning strategies. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation published an effective demographic infographic detailing what America would look like as 100 College Students.

Figure 7: Demographic Characteristics of American Undergraduate College Students

Figure 7: Demographic Characteristics of American Undergraduate College Students

Comparative rates from Canadian Study

Each nation exhibits a competitive concern over educational achievement by adult learners as a main component of their economic vitality strategy. The Conference Board of Canada has produced a  website that presents data and analysis on Canada’s national and provincial performance relative to that of 15 peer countries in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society.

How Canada Performs is a multi-year research program to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in the socio-economic performance of Canada and its provinces. It helps policy-makers, organization leaders, and all Canadians answer the following questions: How do the quality-of-life report cards for Canada and its provinces compare to those of peer countries? Is Canada’s quality of life sustainable? Has there been an improvement? What must Canada and the provinces do to provide a high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians?

Figure 8:  Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Figure 8:  Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Source: Adult Participation in Education in Canada Compared to 15 Countries

Asia and Africa reflect a wide range of Participation

For Asia a great place to start is The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Asia and the Pacific report by UNESCO. Insights from the report help establish the climate for Adult Learners.

The history of adult learning and education is a hit-and-miss story – starting off with strong rhetoric, promises and expectation and concluding in limited success, and even neglect and disappointment in too many cases. Adult learning and education has been conflated into the broader agenda of education and development more at the level of discourse than in action. In the arena of action, it has been too often confined to a narrow interpretation of literacy skills. Hence, for most governments in developing countries where financial and human resources are limited, adult education is low in the pecking order when it comes to assigning priority to sub-sectors of the education system (Tanvir, 2008). Furthermore, NGOs are often the major providers of adult learning, although this is largely limited to adult literacy programmes, which then becomes a reason for the state not to fulfill its responsibility. (Page 7)

For Africa, the same source different publication: The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Subsaharan Africa.

After decades of sustained efforts to eradicate illiteracy in Africa, illiteracy rates of adults remain high with continuing gender and urban/rural disparities. Illiteracy has several correlations with low productivity, low incomes and poorer health (and susceptibility to HIV/AIDS). It hampers national development efforts. It is a bar to much adult education. The enormous growth in free universal primary education in Africa will gradually alleviate this problem, but drop-out rates from primary schooling remain high. The number of people needing adult basic education still grows and few resources are left over from primary education for children. The adult education sub-sector of state education systems remains relatively marginal and under-funded, in spite of the good economic progress in many countries since the mid-1990s.

So what does it mean?

It means the demand for curriculum among adult learners is huge and growing globally. The demand must be considered in addition to the focus on traditional 18 to 22 year old undergraduates. In order to translate that into place based learning one must define the place (the specific area in which learners reside), select the closest approximation of participation rate by curriculum category and calculate the theoretical demand. In the U.S. we begin with the U.S. and World Population Clock.  In the U.S. there is One Birth every 8 seconds; One Death every 12 seconds; One International In Migration every 33 seconds; for a Net Gain of One Person every 16 seconds. This establishes the context of rate of change over time.

Once a population and a rate is established, an adult learning population can be estimated. In the U.S. there are approximately 320.2 million people, and an estimated 180.7 million 21 to 65 year olds. Given a 40% participation rate there are an estimated 72.3 million adults in the U.S. Learning Marketplace Annually. Of course these are rough framing estimates but they indicate that adult learning is a well established and important strategic element of social and economic vitality. It must also be a strategic element of framing higher education strategies for the next millennium. To approach these markets new academic strategies must be developed.

Paradigm Shift: Crisis, Opportunity or Myth?

The Paradigm Shift is real, presents extraordinary opportunities, has and will continue to lead institutions into crisis, and is believed to be a myth by a small and dwindling community. Regardless of whether you believe the current paradigm shift to a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem is a crisis, an opportunity, or a myth, the failure to recognize its impact and implications can be catastrophic for an institution.

The Paradigm Shift has led to the dawn of the Learning Age. An age characterized by ubiquitous and persistent lifelong learning within, between, and throughout global cultures. For higher education, we already see a significant differentiation of the curriculum architecture serving the learning age versus that serving the industrial age summarized in Figure 1 below.

Paradigm-Shift(2)

No disrespect or pejorative context is intended or implied here. We depart the Industrial Age having optimized that paradigm for learning with extraordinary institutions of knowledge, research and learning and most important a dedicated cadre of talented researchers, teachers, scholars, and practitioners dedicated to advancing the human condition. A paradigm shift however, has little to do with the accomplishments of the past, it is built upon what is possible in the future given certain changes in conditions.

Lets examine just three of the conditions that have changed that fuel the fires of the Learning Age.

Digital Communications

Ubiquitous digital communications and connectivity defines the first conditional change. The ability to openly connect to global populations instantaneously alters the human condition. This ability to connect changes human interactions and dynamics, establishes a global, cross cultural borderless society that superimposes over the existing geographic boundaries of nationalism. It opens the flow of data, information, opinion, images, narratives, beliefs and creative expressions to all with access. The dimension and utilization of the global digital communications infrastructure is staggering.

The fundamental change involves infrastructure development, connectivity, capacity, and utilization.

Global digital communications define the new learning ecosystem’s functional and operational parameters. Interpersonal communications channels, systems, platforms, and facilitators are rapidly evolving, providing a plethora of options upon which learning processes are built and enhanced. The Conversation Prism provides an excellent visualization of the ever evolving digital communications domain.

JESS3_BrianSolis_ConversationPrism4_WEB_1280x1024

Figure 3: The Conversation Prism V4.0: Developed in 2008 by Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life.

Ubiquitous digital communications provides the means to deliver copious amounts of content to individuals. The next condition rapidly evolving and driving disruption across learning and education systems is the extraordinary amount of information digitized, stored and available for open access.

Global Digital Knowledge and Information Repositories

Basic knowledge media (the media by which knowledge and information is collected, stored, and accessed) has shifted from physical (primarily paper) to digital media. Collectively, the mass of data has been referred to as the digital universe.

The shift in media from physical to digital expands access exponentially to the information required by individuals engaged in learning. When coupled with digital search, filter, share and cite capabilities, the impact is dramatic and the implications profound for learning architectures and systems. The impact might be more marginal if the sheer volume of the content were not so extraordinary.

The digital universe is growing at 40% a year. It is almost doubling in size every 2 years and by 2020 the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – will reach 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion gigabytes. EMC Digital Universe Study

Online Reference Sites abound on the Internet. University of Texas at Austin is a handy compiled list to illustrate a profile of collected links leading to terabytes of indexed information. The vast repositories of data and information are accessed via and used by an ever expanding inventory of learning and creative tools learners are organizing into high performance learning and creativity environments.

Digital Learning & Creative Tools & Environments

Teachers and faculty have recognized the value of digital learning and creative tools from the beginning.  The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014 published in the U.K. compiles the results of the 8th Annual Learning Tools Survey conducted by Jane Hart from the votes of 1,038 learning professionals from 61 countries worldwide and published on 22 September 2014.

The digital learning landscape is rapidly evolving. The same digital paradigm shift is driving rapid evolutionary changes across all sectors of global society and no one is immune. There are numerous examples of institutions that understand the magnitude and implications of the shift.  There has been a dramatic impact upon the academic and curricular elements in education.

Start with MIT’s Open Courseware initiative now posting 2,150 courses and clocking 125 million visitors.

In 1999, MIT Faculty considered how to use the Internet in pursuit of MIT’s mission—to advance knowledge and educate students—and in 2000 proposed OCW. MIT published the first proof-of-concept site in 2002, containing 50 courses. By November 2007, MIT completed the initial publication of virtually the entire curriculum, over 1,800 courses in 33 academic disciplines.

MIT didn’t stop their visioning with OCW. I encourage you to visit the website and read the report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. I also encourage you to examine the $7K Georgia Tech, Udacity, and AT&T  online Master’s degree in Computer Science. The edX.org organization should be thoroughly examined taking note of the expanding list of partners. Coursera has a large scale course delivery system with over 10 million learners enrolled in 883 courses from 116 providers is an example of courses delivered on a massive scale. There are many more examples.

Pathways to the Learning Age

These three fundamental characteristics of the emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem are paving the pathways to the Learning Age. As the dawn of the Learning Age sheds new light on the potential of a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem, education can be expected to pass through at least three stages of change.

  1. Disruptive change is characterized by two paradigms colliding abruptly. Fear, anger, disbelief, and resistance are natural reactions during this period of adjustment.
  2. Adaptive change is characterized by educators making use of the functionality of the digital environments but resisting substantive change to the system that controls and manages it.
  3. Optimized change constructs a new system around the new paradigm and the adaptive learning culture that it nurtures. New realities shape the need for validated credentials and new features and functions evolve within the emerging digitized learning environment.

In the end, the new paradigm means rethinking the higher education model and that means rethinking all things academic. The bad news, there are any number of barriers to an institution rapidly evolving to accommodate and optimize the Global Digital Learning Ecosystem. The good news, there are significant options emerging and more under development that facilitate and enable institutions to adapt, and if done in time, flourish. There are, however, no simple solutions, proven pathways to clone or slam dunk approaches that guarantee success.

Each educational entity (college, university, school, educational system, learning organization…) will move through each of these stages at their own pace. Some will not survive the economic and enrollment disruptions occurring in parallel as the new paradigm takes root. The perils of the shift are exacerbated by corresponding economic, demographic and political factors, frictions and conditions. College and University trustees must  recognize the need for dramatic realignment and learn to require, encourage and support institutions through the maze of decisions and options that must be confronted in order to flourish in the new paradigm. Because it is a fortunate institution who has a senior leadership team capable of navigating the turbulent waters of the paradigm shift, we must focus upon developing the human capacity to engage the future. Most, if not all, strategic plans in higher education must be recast to facilitate preparing an institution for the post paradigm shift future.

In Closing

The magnitude of impact and speed at which the emerging paradigm is developing, coupled with very significant trends directly effecting higher education, make a concerted effort to adapt extremely urgent. This is not to abandon the model we have but to rapidly adapt to emerging new conditions. That means a focus on developing an institution’s strategic position in a global learning market.

MGD+A is currently posting a series in our blog titled Prototype a Learning Age Strategic Plan, to help focus institutional planning on the future. In February 2015, MGD+A will host an Institute on Academic Strategies and Master Academic Planning and in March 2015, MGD+A will be hosting an Institute on Curriculum-Centered Strategic Planning and the Learner-Centered Curriculum to address academic and institutional options and opportunities emerging from the new paradigm.

Change the Paradigm: Part 1

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The concept of Paradigm Shift emerged in 1962, from the work of Thomas Kuhn, who wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution. The concept of “paradigm shift” argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather a “series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”, and in those revolutions “one conceptual world view is replaced by another.” The current paradigm shift can be said to have very humble beginnings at the same time 1962. It is documented in the Brief History of the Internet.

The first recorded description of the social interactions that could be enabled through networking was written by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT in August 1962 discussing his “Galactic Network” concept. He envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site.

The Digital Revolution

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What followed has been called the Digital Revolution, the Third Industrial Revolution, the Information Age and the Learning Age. Its beginning is usually pinned as the 1980’s. The Internet was not officially named however until October 24, 1995. This corresponded to the Eastman Kodak Company beginning a decline in profitability resulting in declaring bankruptcy in January 2012 despite significant leadership in digital photography. The print industry in general began to slide quickly with the U.S. print industry declining 1% per month during 2009. Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers have experienced significant decline and are expected to fall another 25% in the next ten years. Record store, media rental, and wired telecommunications carriers are all suffering from rapid decline. The point here is that the evolution of the Digital Revolution has had a huge impact upon a wide variety of business and social sectors globally. It has had a huge impact upon the global learning environment as well.

A confluence of innovation around the digitization of books began a full rethinking of knowledge transfer and learning infrastructure design as it relates to the written word. Project Gutenberg begun by Michael Hart in 1971 with the digitization of The U.S. Declaration of Independence and can be called the birth of the eBook. The Library of Congress announced Oct. 13, 1994 that it had received $13 million in private sector donations to establish the National Digital Library Program.

We turn next to pages from the brief history of Google:

In 1996, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were graduate computer science students working on a research project supported by the Stanford Digital Library Technologies Project. Their goal was to make digital libraries work, and their big idea was as follows: in a future world in which vast collections of books are digitized, people would use a “web crawler” to index the books’ content and analyze the connections between them, determining any given book’s relevance and usefulness by tracking the number and quality of citations from other books. The crawler they wound up building was called BackRub, and it was this modern twist on traditional citation analysis that inspired Google’s PageRank algorithms – the core search technology that makes Google, well, Google.

As of April 2013 a Wikipedia page reported Google had scanned 30 million of the 130 million unique books that exists from around the world. It expects to complete the task by 2020.

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The World Digital Library was launched on April 21, 2009 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. It aims to expand non-English and non-western content on the Internet, and contribute to scholarly research. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.

Open Curricula

In parallel to the digitization of books, open curricula began to appear. Consider the MIT’s Open Courseware initiative.

In 1999, MIT Faculty considered how to use the Internet in pursuit of MIT’s mission—to advance knowledge and educate students—and in 2000 proposed OCW. MIT published the first proof-of-concept site in 2002, containing 50 courses. By November 2007, MIT completed the initial publication of virtually the entire curriculum, over 1,800 courses in 33 academic disciplines.

In 2006 Salman Khan created the Kahn Academy. To date, they have delivered over 458 million lessons and learners have completed over 2 billion exercise problems (which is around 4 million per day!). In addition, they have 350,000 registered teachers around the world who use Khan Academy in their classrooms to help to inspire, motivate and guide students through their learning paths.

In 2008, the first massive, open, online course (MOOC) was offered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens building off a for-credit course at the University of Manitoba, Canada. The title was ‘Connectivism and Connective Knowledge/2008’ (CCK8). Around 2,200 people signed up for CCK08, and 170 of them created blogs. The course was free and open, which meant that anyone could join, modify or remix the content without paying (although a paid, certified option was offered). The primary contribution MOOCs make to the future is one of testing scalability to large numbers of networked learners.

In 2012, two Stanford Professors, Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” for free online. Designed to resemble real classroom experiences and offer high-quality classes for everyone, the idea had the advantage of carrying the prestigious Stanford name. More than 160,000 students in 190 countries signed up. They went on to start Udacity. In May 2012 MIT and Harvard University founded EdX as a massive open online course (MOOC) provider and online learning platform with pedigree partners from around the world. Coursera also launched in 2012. As of April 2014, Coursera reported 7.1 million users in 641 courses from 108 institutions and raised $85 million in capital by December. In 2013, the Open University began building its own MOOC platform, Futurelearn, which will feature universities from the United Kingdom.

In 2008, Jose Ferreira (formerly from Kaplan) launched Knewton to provide an infrastructure platform that allows others to build powerful proficiency-based adaptive learning applications.

It’s easy to get lost in the technology of it all and forget all of this is really about open access to the curriculum and an effort to improve learning experiences and optimize learner performance. I summarize this paradigm shift as the emergence of the Digital Learning Environment (DLE). The emerging proliferation and increasing positive performance of Digital Learning Environments is a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. The early stages of the digital revolution disintermediated film, paper and a host of other players. What is the potential for DLE’s to disintermediate colleges and universities?

January 15, 2014 Georgia Tech in partnership with AT&T and Udacity launched the first massive online degree program (MODP).The first cohort of 375 students enrolled in the Master of Science in Computer Science program will pay less than $7,000 for a graduate degree, compared to $45,000 for on-campus students.

It is important at the outset of planning to recognize these and other profound changes occurring in the global learning ecosystem. The shift from print-based to digital information, ubiquitous networking, social interaction systems, cloud-based learning management systems, massive digitization of the world’s knowledge resources and the emergence of new business models (i.e. Western Governors University and Georgia Techs Masters degree). These fundamental shifts require an organizational learning initiative to bring into focus the full impact of them on the higher education enterprise of the future. This post is by no means an exhaustive review of the evidence of a paradigm shift that has already occurred. It is planning reference point to signal significant environmental events that change the evolutionary course of education.

Strategy One: Change the Paradigm

The first strategy in our prototype strategic plan is, therefore, Change the Paradigm. To survive and flourish an institution must recognize the paradigm shift and adjust to meet the new demands required by the emerging global digital learning environment. This strategy requires that an institution reconcile its mission and vision with the emerging new context. This does not mean abandoning the strengths of the current model but instead contextualizing and connecting to a digital future. Much must be considered in the process of adapting to the new paradigm. Below is an outline of the beginning of the path forward and few goals one might consider in the process of planning.

Path Forward

  • Understand the emerging dynamics of the Learning Age
  • Understand the magnitude of change that is occurring with the transition from a physical learning ecosystem to a digital learning ecosystem
  • Understand the fiscal challenges facing global societies and the challenge of developing sustainable systems
  • Understand the emerging body of knowledge about learning and incorporate that knowledge into future design
  • Build a deeply informed academic and administrative leadership team
  • Build an academic and administrative culture that aligns with the dynamics of the Learning Age
  • Assess your current strategic position compared to the emerging future dynamics of the global learning sphere
  • Map the gaps between your current strategies and the emerging realities of the Learning Age

Goal

Build an academic culture and enterprise that is aligned with and is of high value to learning age societies.

  • Recognizes that curriculum is more than an internet of things and conceptualizes an architecture that conveys curriculums true value designed to meet the needs of 21st century learners.
  • Reorient the academic enterprise to the challenges and opportunities presented by the lifelong learning needs of a diverse global population.
  • Create a more manageable, more granular curriculum to enable closer alignment with the emerging form and function of the emerging global digital learning environment.

Focus on Value

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