Did Someone Mention ROI?

I enjoyed reading this article about the need for ROI thinking when it comes to company training programs. The reality is that we can and should extend this to pretty much every learning program we develop and deliver, from K-12 to higher education to the workforce. This should be part of our designs around demonstrable evidence of learning for programs.

According to this report by a non-partisan think tank, in traditional higher education, it’s the public colleges and universities that offer the highest chance of positive ROI to students, 

The Turn of the Legislative Screw

Two pieces of legislation making their way through Washington moved closer to becoming law in recent weeks. The first, the College Transparency Act passed by the House on February 4,  calls for all colleges to release information on student enrollment, persistence, transfer, and completion measures for all programs and degree levels. The result, according to bill sponsors, is that more information would be available for calculating postgraduate outcomes and how colleges are performing when it comes to educating students. 

The second piece of legislation, passed as an amendment to a larger omnibus bill, will expand Pell Grant eligibility for students enrolled in short-term skills and job training programs. While this could be an important expansion of the Pell Grant program, students taking online training programs will not be eligible.

Higher Education

Thinking about how to innovate within the constraints of higher education? As this article suggests, it might be helpful to think outside the traditional triangle constraints of quality, affordability, and access.

It’s conventional wisdom that it’s rare, perhaps nearly impossible, for an education program to be high-quality, low-cost, and inclusive of all interested and committed learners all at once.

However, as the article points out, the definition and goals of quality, affordability and access are changing rapidly, thanks in large part to accelerated evolutions fostered by the pandemic.

The two largest online course/training platforms, Coursera and 2U, are certainly doing their part when it comes to innovation and expansion. Coursera, which is already dominant in the certificate/nano-degree market, is doubling down on offering college degrees.

The company has launched 13 new degrees with colleges since 2021, bringing the total number of bachelor’s, master’s and postgraduate degrees up to 38, according to CEP Jeff Maggioncalda. “Students want the flexibility to learn online, and universities are responding by scaling online degree programs using partners like Coursera to meet demand.”

Meanwhile, 2U, the leading OPM company that acquired exX last year, is looking to expand its international operations.

The company plans on making edX the face of its consumer brand, with the aim of attracting the platform’s users to 2U’s paid programs. Together, 2U and edX have 43 million registered learners, up 3 million since the acquisition, 2U co-founder and CEO Chip Paucek told analysts on a call Wednesday to discuss the company’s 2021 earnings. 

About 80% of edX’s registered learners live outside of the U.S., Paucek said. To meet their demand for online education, he said, 2U is contracting with universities in international markets. For instance, the company announced Wednesday it is working with the University of Sydney, in Australia, on four new online graduate degrees that will launch next year. 

Educational Technology

Yes, it seems like only yesterday that I was crashing and burning while trying to help kids make their way across the Oregon Trail via an Apple II computer. And now I see that we’re actually celebrating 50 years of the Oregon Trail. There are so many great things to say about Oregon Train, but what has always stood out to me is the level of engagement with History the game produced. This is likely due, in large part, to the life-and-death consequences related to each player’s decisions, as well as how difficult it was to achieve a successful outcome.

But let’s say you actually completed Oregon Trail successfully? How could you add that to your learning record for others to see? This is obviously a limitation on our current LMS/traditional transcript ecosystem for learner records. What we need, as this article points out, is for schools to adopt new and improved comprehensive learner technologies that support transparent growth to learners or their families and capture out-of-course learning experiences.

Also, Stephen Downes, who along with George Siemens developed Connectivism, has created a great introduction to the learning theory.

Further Reading

Higher Education

President Speaks: Stop asking whether online learning is ‘worth it.’ Start focusing on how it helps working adults

House passes College Transparency Act

The chess game behind senators’ inquiry into OPMs

Carnegie Classifications move to ACE

Higher Ed Dive’s 2022 Outlooks

Thinking Outside Higher Ed’s Iron Triangle

Public colleges offer highest chance of positive ROI to students, report finds

2U plans for international expansion as it integrates operations with edX

People Who Shun College Could Lose $1TN in Lifetime Income

Coursera bets on degrees — a small but growing part of the business


More states may require FAFSAs for high school graduation

A Big Choice for Charter Schooling

Early college can be a second chance for struggling students

Educational Technology/Learning Design

Oregon Trail at 50

To Truly Measure Student Growth, Learning Experiences Must Be Personalized

Technology We Need: Documenting the complete Learner Record

Stephen’s Web ~ Connectivism


Clearview AI’s Revolutionary Facial Recognition Platform Awarded US Patent

What DeepMind’s AlphaCode is and isn’t

Meta may be forced to shutter Facebook, Instagram in EU

So who should buy Peloton?

The metaverse is just a new word for an old idea

We Are Still Not Living in a Simulation

So who should buy Peloton?

New Report Shows Engaging, Interactive Experiences Are Antidote to Digital Fatigue

Metaverse hardware: Emerge launches on Kickstarter


Beyond traditional learning programs

Yum Brands Opened a New Restaurant Every Two Hours in 2021

US House passes bill to make Pell grants available for retraining programs

U.S. House passes Pell expansion but excludes online education

Skills-Based Hiring Is on the Rise

No, Google isn’t making college degrees obsolete