What’s Ahead? Unbundled Degrees, Micro-Bachelors, and Stackable, Employer-Endorsed Credentials

IBL News | New York

Where online learning will be in three to five years? How it will be scaled?

In an article at Evollution.com, Holly Zanville, Strategy Director for the Future of Learning and Work at the Lumina Foundation, provided a glimpse of how edX.org is building the structure of tomorrow’s learning system.

Nina Huntemann, edX’s Senior Director of Academics and Research at edX, offered her thoughts on upward trends. This is a summary:

  • Students will move among programs and learning blocks within an institution and among universities.
  • Degrees will be broken into smaller components of competencies and skills. This will better meet industry needs and will result in smaller and more affordable credentials.
  • More hybrid paths –those that couple in-person, classroom learning with online instruction– will emerge. The challenge to move noncredit courses and micro-credentials into credit pathways.
  • A new class of instructors —learning engineers— will emerge. They will use the latest technologies, develop new instructional paths, help faculty members teach in new ways, and work closely with employers.
  • It will be a more performance-based admission system.
  • Institutions will continue to be unable to serve the growing number of applicants to programs in specialty areas such as data, programming and health.

Recently, the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation gave a grant of $900,000 to nonprofit edX Inc to create a new credentialing system. Among those credentials, edX is developing a series of micro-bachelors programs for undergraduate college education.