New and exciting developments are on the horizon for the adult-learning agenda in the next two decades. Technology and innovative programs are turning learning into an adventure that can create competent, confident workers in all sectors of the economy.
Change is all around us. There has been an onslaught of innovations and technological upheavals that have taken shape in just the last decade. For those of us in higher education, the winds of change are blowing faster and heavier than ever.
It is expected that the next two decades will open up new worlds for students and instructors. Of course, what happens in the world of academia has an impact on all other organizations and companies, and they are more interested than ever before in developing programs that provide the time and resources for employee learning.
Here’s a look at the four biggest things on the horizon for learners and the companies that employ them:
1. Limitless Classrooms
A time will come when desks, chairs and chalkboards will be relics from a bygone era. The world beyond the classroom walls is proving to be the most effective classroom of all time. Technology has created a world that allows anyone with an Internet connection and a screen to become a student. Virtual classrooms are ideal for learning because they connect instructors and students without the hassles of transportation and limited classroom time.
2. Older Learners
A world full of evolving ideas and expanding technology is a world that creates older learners. Adult learning is especially important when you consider that workers are waiting longer than their predecessors to retire. Also, older workers are going back to school to finish their degrees or to pursue advanced credentials in greater numbers. If a company or organization wishes to stay competitive, it must facilitate learning for workers of all ages.
3. Innovative Degree Paths
Today’s hectic pace and endless workdays demand flexible degree paths. We can expect to see a steady increase in programs that award credits for real-world experience and competency. Competency-based learning programs which allow students to build upon the skills they've already mastered instead of wasting time rehashing learned skills will become more prevalent.
4. Skill-Focused Learning
Companies sponsor employee education so they can create competitive and competent teams. Those same companies don’t necessarily want to pay h for courses that aren’t relevant to daily performance. We can expect to see more and more programs pop up that trim the fat. These streamlined courses and programs will focus on helping learners master skills that will help them innovate and optimize while performing their actual professional roles.