4 Models To Reinvent Higher Education for the 21st Century

To appeal to Gen Z students and employers, universities will adopt new ways to deliver academic materials, focusing on customizable courses and experiences outside of the classroom.

A recent report from Education Design Lab outlines four models for universities and colleges to stay relevant in an education world that continues to move online. 

Five years in the making, the report details each of the models of innovation: the platform facilitator, experiential curator, learning certifier and workforce

University officials can take a quiz to see which model best fits their campuses to create an innovative culture that fits the changing demands of higher education. 

“Rather than simply change the delivery model or launch new programs and supports, we wanted to help institutions understand the pace of labor market changes and student needs as we stand on the precipice of artificial intelligence-enabled, full-on digital competency-based learning,” write the report’s authors. 

MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how Gen Z students will push the limits of mobile, digital-first learning.

4 New Higher Education Models to Reach Generation Z Students

To evolve with the next generation of learners and ensure their graduates will be strong candidates for employment, higher education institutions need to change the way they approach education. Here are the four models Education Design Lab projects institutions will adopt in the future:

  1. Platform facilitator: From online content to food orders, Generation Z has become accustomed to customizable consumption, and education may follow. Some universities may begin to offer a Netflix-style distribution of course materials, while others will be “content providers for those platforms, licensing courses, experiences, certificates and other services,” according to the report. Many university administrators are already considering the idea of building AI-enabled programs to distribute academic videos, according to a 2018 survey by Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite and University Business. 

  2. Experiential curator: Institutions that adopt this model will take advantage of advancing data analytics tools and videoconferencing to expand their academic offerings beyond the classroom walls, according to the report. Experiential curators will use “advances in assessment, the maturation of online and hybrid education and the increasingly connected globe to provide, measure and certify transformative experiences outside the classroom.” 

  3. Learning certifier: Universities embracing this model will pair mobile technology with data dashboards where students can accrue microcredentials, in some ways gamifying the higher education system, the report’s writers note. Experiences outside the classroom, including extracurricular activities and internships, can be collected and marked off within the dashboard to provide future employers with evidence of graduates’ education experience that could make them well-rounded employees. 

  4. Workforce integrator: Workforce integrators establish corporate partnerships to build curricula and offer extracurricular activities, such as hackathons, where students can build connections with future employers. These collaborations will also ensure students graduate with the skills need to fill jobs in specific fields.

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Jul 03 2019

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