Eight Trends Guaranteed to Change Adult Education

If any phrase defines the world as we know it, it would be “change is the only constant.”  Automation and globalization continually change not only how we work, but the speed at which we learn, and keep us learning to keep pace with change in the workplace.

But, what about high school graduates who want to learn a skill without the debt of a four-year degree? What does this mean for adult learners? What about the 30 million adult learners who have some college credit but no college degree? Here we look at future trends that will play a leading role in changing adult education.

  1. Automated skill assessments. Like editing applications that offer suggestions or edits as you write, improved artificial intelligence will power skill assessments. Companies like Degreed and Coursera want to break that stale four-year degree requirement for every skill with certifications that offer expert and peer reviews.
  2. Artificial Intelligence and virtual and augmented reality. AI already powers social media and e-commerce websites, so you can expect more online learning platforms to utilize AI for monitoring progress and developing dynamic course offerings and schedules. The class model will become more personalized and interactive, and push for higher learning levels.
  3. Entrepreneurship. Freelancing and intrapreneurship have never been more popular, and training on entrepreneurship more in demand. Expect courses like marketing, finance, and how to start your own business to grow. For people interested in a tech startup, iterative product development and design thinking are just a few of the new course offerings. Currently, Stanford offers a Bootcamp, and we’re likely to see more curricula just like it in the future. If you’re looking for something local, check your area colleges for online Bootcamp programs.
  4. On-Demand Learning. Standard higher education institutions are looking at meeting the demand for more adult education curriculums with flexibility. A typical scenario would be online self-paced courses with rolling registration. Students can begin when they like and take as long as two weeks or six months to finish a program. Some programs offer students credit for on-the-job skills.
  5. Mastery transcripts. In some positions, it pays to be able to show what you know. We see this transformation more in IT, engineering, and robotics. It summarizes a student’s manuscript of classes to demonstrate skills, habits, and knowledge by providing evidence assessed against a universal standard depending on the industry.
  6. Academic Learning Camps or Bootcamps. These learning camps, like STEM, coding, and AI education, are a popular way to learn skills fast. Expect these camps to embrace best practices and techniques tailored to new industries. Often referred to as “Nano degree” programs, students can quickly learn the tools to perform specific jobs or projects fast.
  7. Businesses need learning plans. From online marketplaces like Udemy and LinkedIn to alumni associations, companies have the option to offer continuing education courses or programs tailored to the skills most needed in their organizations.
  8. Businesses need a new mindset about learning skills on the job. It’s not unusual to see students or employees struggle to fulfill a role or perform a set of skills when employers force them into a specific learning experience.  Rather than trying to pinpoint who will be successful and who will not in candidate interviews, companies should assess each employee and position and the conditions required for them to be successful on the job.

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