(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes a look at the articles and posts I found interesting from the previous week, along with reflections about how the trends they point to might shape my thinking about education, technology, and culture.)
I thought it might be fun to kick off this week’s post with a little pattern puzzle. Tell me, what do the following items have in common and how do they connect as trends?
- Jaded with education, more Americans are skipping college
- Upward transfer enrollment plummeted 14.5% since pandemic began
- The Education Exchange: Enrollment Down by 1.2 Million at U.S. Public Schools
- More than half of jobs don’t need 4-year degree requirements, report says
- Eliminate a Degree of Difficulty: Hire for Skills, Not School
- Ross, T.J. Maxx, and Burlington to Add Stores As Shoppers Seek Deals
Let’s start with the first item and use it as an anchor for our thinking.
What first looked like a pandemic blip has turned into a crisis. Nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022, with declines even after returning to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The slide in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economists say the impact could be dire.
There are several factors pushing the decline, including (1) the high cost of college degrees (including the time sacrificed to earn them), (2) a growing dissatisfaction with the learning experience compared to the cost and time sacrifice, and (3) the increase in jobs with higher wages and improved benefits that do not require a college degree.
These factors can certainly be tied to the second item. In other words, with doubt around the cost/benefit equation of four-year degrees and new options for meaningful employment, it’s not surprising that more students are deciding to “call it quits” after earning a certificate or an associate degree.
The growing malaise is causing more and more students and their families to ask questions like, “Is the expense and effort of post-secondary education worth it?” and “Why spend four years earning a college degree if I can get a good job with some specific-skills training and a certificate or other credential in an area of interest.” And these questions are sifting down into the high school ranks as well. Driving down the road and seeing a growing number of signs advertising jobs starting at $17 per hour + benefits with no experience (34K+) is enough to make many employment-eligible youths think long and hard about the value of their education (the third item).
Items four and five are definitely a primary impetus for those first items. Many employers are shifting to a skills-over-credential lens when it comes to job roles and evaluating potential employees. This, in turn, is putting pressure on schools — K-20 — to prove that their students are gaining the skills students need for employment. These skills include durable skills, thinking skills, and professional skills.
The sixth item is a reminder of how cost/value calculations are affecting trends and behaviors outside of education as well. In this retail example, more people seem to be saying that practical value and lower costs take precedence over elite brands and unnecessary features.
Shifting gears, last week also gave us a good look at the two strategies emerging in education with regard to ChatGPT and generative AI. On one hand, we have educational innovators and thinkers experimenting with options for using ChatGPT in meaningful ways (see here and here). On the other hand, we have a group trying to control the impact of the new technology on our traditional way of doing education (in high school and college). Detection tools like this one remind me of the days when the companies making radar guns (f the police and highway patrol) and companies making radar detectors were in a continuous innovation battle.
Finally, I really liked this post by Harold Jarche on how our ideas in business become a business ideology. His chart is worth a look.
Have a great week, everybody!
Jaded with education, more Americans are skipping college
Upward transfer enrollment plummeted 14.5% since pandemic began
Performance-based funding linked to higher SAT scores in bottom quarter
Are Accreditors Ready for an Incremental Credentialing System? Part 1
Fewer than half of alumni of online for-profits report being very satisfied
Predicting the Future of Instructional Design in Higher Education
What’s It Like to Leave the Classroom for a Job in Edtech?
The Education Exchange: Enrollment Down by 1.2 Million at U.S. Public Schools
EC-Council Announces $3.5 Million CCT Scholarship to Spark New Cybersecurity Careers
More teachers are quitting than usual, driven by stress, politics, data shows
Eliminate a Degree of Difficulty: Hire for Skills, Not School
More than half of jobs don’t need 4-year degree requirements, report says
Mapping and measuring skills: How competency-based education can inform corporate training
Online Learning, Learning Design, and Education Technology
Science-based recommendations to design learning for a hybrid world
Donald Clark Plan B: Best use of ‘engagement’ in learning I’ve ever heard using ChatGPT!
AI Writing Detection Tool Analyzes Linguistic Fingerprint to Check Authorship
Learning Technologies – XR, Generative AI, Digital Twins
Technology and Culture
The False Promise of Chomskyism
Why OpenAI Cofounder Says He’s Still Optimistic About Generative AI
Ross, T.J. Maxx, and Burlington to Add Stores As Shoppers Seek Deals
Canva Docs’s AI text generator is a great writing tool
Meta Reportedly Plans Another Round of Layoffs
Microsoft aims to reduce “tedious” business tasks with new AI tools
Microsoft CEO Said Bots Like Cortana and Alexa Were ‘Dumb As a Rock’