In March, I attended and presented at the American Council on Education (ACE) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., the theme of which was Reaching Higher. The keynote speaker on Monday, March 7, was Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future, who spoke on the External Future Forces that will Disrupt Education and Learning.
His presentation was provocative and centered on the future in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Considering the recent turn of events – both political as in the Mideast, as well as the natural disaster of the Tohoku Pacific Ocean Earthquake – Mr. Johansen’s description is hardly an overstatement.
To deal with the external forces, digital natives — those people who were born into a web-connected world — will need to create a new vision of how we work, learn, and interact. Mr. Johansen indicated that we are now entering an Engagement Economy, where collaboration and participation will be key to both business and learning.
The founder of University of Phoenix, Dr. John Sperling, incorporated the concepts of collaboration and participation into the teaching/learning model from the beginning, and today we are taking these concepts to the next level using the latest technology to enhance both.
I was pleased to make a presentation outlining the recent new media innovations introduced to the School of Business and how we are building communities. These new communities fundamentally change the student/faculty experience and allow for data-driven, individualized instruction model. The guiding principles for all our changes are that learning is collaborative and social, but even still remains a very personal journey. Informed learners take responsibility for their own learning and learn best when learning is active, engaging, and relevant. We continue to work toward that end and to ensure that students understand that lifelong learning is essential.
All of higher education must aspire to reach higher and educate students to live and work in the reality of the future.