The education sector is changing, Increasingly, it is populated with designers and creators of education materials, spaces and software, creators and developers of learning management, enrollment and admissions systems. And we are likely to see more innovative players who are offering open source or commercial solutions for the marketing of new ways to learn or new companies with scalable solutions for creative innovations. These new players are emerging as an integral part of some colleges and universities, especially the private sector ones, but they are also increasingly stand-alone companies.
Behind these innovators are very significant forces for change in education. Three factors back these forces for this change: new technologies (the internet, new hardware and new learning software), collaboration among users (e.g., open source software, social media), and new understanding of ways to learn (e.g., the use of gaming) that build a deeper level of critical thinking skills. These factors enable government leaders, citizens, students and their families to demand not only more of higher education but something rather different as well. And they are leading to four forces for change in higher education:
- institutional unbundling, i.e., learning opportunities that are no longer tied to the institutions of school and university;
- individualized and personalized learning that is founded in sophisticated adaptive engines that assess and detect readiness to learn and provide for rich levels of assessment reporting;
- the transformation of the role of the teacher, e.g., sources of substitutes for the traditional teacher, the growing role of teacher as coach, and the need for teaching that depends on a substantially altered learning ecosystem; and
- the creation of collaborative learning communities that facilitate students and teachers in accessing and managing information and learning.
These forces for change are already evident in some of the educational software that is available and used most frequently by the growing private sector career colleges and universities in their online education programs and in some private sector colleges’ face-to-face education. The forces for change are evident in some traditional colleges and universities but creative responses to these transformative forces in curriculum design and deployment are more frequently encountered where the educational institution is market-driven – and that is for the most part the private sector colleges and universities.