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Education 2022: A 360 Degree View

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” William Gibson

What will education look like in ten years? 

In  Education 2022:  A 360 Degree View, we look at both the major trends shaping the transformation of lifelong education (a.k.a. K-Gray), and the potential consequences in the year 2022.   The report is part of our Future of Education series.

Our education systems are facing many challenges.  However, there are effective ways that disruptive innovation can transform a whole industry.  Disruptive and evolving technologies make the new possible, possible.   Generations of committed teachers, parents, students, entrepreneurs, and reformers are at the forefront of a learner centered revolution.    So while it’s reasonable to imagine many outcomes, we are optimistic about the Future of Education.   The predictions (data inspired opinions) articulated in the full article reflect our optimism.   

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”Peter Drucker

We first discuss the basic enabling trends; essentially the frame conditions that will guide the redesign of education during the next 10 years. We then complete a picture of what education looks like in the year 2022 using our Basic Elements Framework as structure.

The future that we describe is based on major trends, and research from teachers, parents, trainers, students, reformers, analysts, and academics.

You can get a quick glimpse of this future from the story of Alice, a happy 15 year old learner.


Or from the following ten predictions for Education in 2022 that we abstracted from our report.

Top 10 in 10

Ten predictions for Education in 2022 (abstracted from Education 2022:  A 360 Degree View)

  1. Learner-Driven: Disruptive innovations will be designed with the individual learner at the center.  Learners, and their close agents (e.g. teachers, parents) will be the users, the choosers, and the drivers (not large institutions).   Learners, their agents, and the entrepreneurs who serve them, will play the leading roles in this story of positive disruption and transformation. 
  2. Openly Accessible: Learners of all ages will have unprecedented access to open educational resources and configurable learning paths that match their individual needs, experience, and goals.
  3. Personalized:  Advanced technology (machine learning, cloud, mobile, in-memory, sensors, big data analytics, behavioral neurobiology, cognitive sciences, and organizational behavior) will enable schools and other institutions, essentially experience providers, to cost effectively facilitate contextual, adaptive, personalized student-centered learning for today’s learners and an additional 3 billion new minds.    Learners will have access to the tools and awareness required to deeply understand their own individual needs, and to meet these needs.
  4. Social:  Intentional learning will be social on a global level.   Social networks will make learning, assessment, and certification more efficient and more effective.   Learners, parents, and teachers, all nodes in the learning network will create, share, and discover on a massive scale as the cost of collaboration drops to zero .   Personal learning networks will ultimately redefine ‘class’ (in the context of who is in your class this year :)).  Geography, age, duration, and season become less relevant in the delivery of a learning experience.
  5. Ubiquitous:   Intentional learning systems will be integrated into our physical environment, our clothes, and our bodies, available anytime, and everywhere, enabled by small, cheap, and fast computing technology.  Today’s sensors and mobile devices, which are exploding onto the educational scene, are only prototypes of what is to come.
  6. Holistic: The emphasis, at least at the primary and secondary levels, will be on how to learn, and the development of 21st century sensibilities in critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, design, story, empathy, play, and meaning.  Physical learning environments will remain important to enabling delivery, and will be optimized.
  7. Teaching Redefined:   Teachers will be free by 2022.  Almost everything they do will be focused on the delivering the best possible and relevant end to end student experience.  Their passion will be liberated to focus on delivering results, not on managing upward into the system.  Teaching becomes both hyper-local and global at the same time with teachers bifurcating into two primary categories:  1) The Agents who facilitate, coach, manage, mentor, produce, and connect (experts in identifying students personal intelligence types and learning styles for any given topic)  2) The Domain Experts who engage in instruction, and design, create, and share educational resources and assessments.  The Domain Expert may have millions of ‘customers’ around the globe.  Lastly, Siri’s children, will play a significant role in educating our children as machine intelligence comes of age.
  8. Policy Redefined:   Intent and goals for education will become more distributed, flexible, individualized, and sometimes even crowdsourced.     Families will have many choices for delivery alternatives at least in the later primary, secondary, and higher education years.  Students and parents (many more involved) will have the freedom to choose the right education path for their children, and they will demand to allocate their tax dollars accordingly. 
  9. Industry Engaged:   Industry, out of enlightened self-interest, will engage more deeply with learners, earlier in their lives (e.g. adolescence), and become active partners for institutions that serve learners.  Engagement will include shaping curriculum for learners, providing educational resources, and providing programs and environments to deliver learning experiences.  Learners will have a more clear vision of what skills, and competencies, are required for a specific job, and the nature of the prospective job.   
  10. Achievement Redefined:   Hiring managers (anyone paying someone for a good or services rendered) will have a much more granular (and verifiable) understanding of the hiree’s accomplishments.    Assessment will be personalized, and will be based on real achievements, artifacts produced, demonstration of acquired skills, and mastery of concepts, and not so much on method of instruction or attendance at a specific institution.    Assessment will be leveraged as a service on granular level, woven into content, apps, games, our environment, and the hiring process.   Credentials will be granular, open, and portable.   An individual’s portfolio of achievements will follow them throughout their life, and individuals will determine to whom, and when, they will provide access to their history achievements and other credentials. 

For more developments and details of the future that we describe, please read the relevant sections of interest in the full report.

Access the full report here.

Whether you agree, or disagree, we welcome your comments and blogs on the topic.

Outline of Full Report:

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic Enabling Trends
    1. Socioeconomic
      1. Power  to the Individual
        • Creators
        • Design Centers
        • Mass Customization
        • Citizens
      2. Increasing Connectivity
        • Crowdsourced
        • Opensourced
        • Social
        • Marketplaces
        • Services on-Demand
        • Access over Ownership
        • Industry Boundaries
        • Atomization
        • Governance
        • Globalization
      3. Population Shifts
        • The New Middle Class
        • Age
        • Urbanization
      4. Wildcards
        • Poverty
        • Security
        • Political Stability
        • Access to Resources
    2. Technology Driven
      1. (Basic) Network Access will Continue to Expand
        • 3 Billion New Minds
      2. Cloud Application Access will Continue to Expand
        • Social ++
      3. Ubiquitous I/O (input-output)
        • Mobile
        • Sensors
        • Environment
        • Clothes
        • Bodies
      4. Unlimited Computing Power
        • Beyond Moore’s Law
        • Real Time Velocity (In-Memory)
        • Parallel Computing
        • Artificial Intelligence
      5. Digitization of Everything (and the Rise of Big Data)
        • Types of
        • What is Big Data
        • Examples
      6. Advances in life sciences
        • Neurobiology
        • Cognitive Sciences
        • Genetics
        • Chemistry of Emotion
        • Performance Enhancing Drugs
        • Accessibility
      7. Improved Cultivation of Atoms and Molecules
        • Physical Space Design
        • 3D Printing
        • Biomimicry
      8. Atomization
        • decoupling
        • APIs – standard, stable, accessible
        • of everything
  3. Education in 2022 – A Role Centric View
      • Learners
      • Teachers
      • Parents
      • Citizens – Taxpayers
      • Hiring Managers & Their Entities (a.k.a. Industry)
      • Financiers and Philanthropists (a.k.a. “The Money”)
      • Vendors
      • Administrators
      • Teacher’s Unions
      • Governments (National, Local, District)
  4. Education in 2022 – A Component Centric View
      • Educational Resources
      • Curriculum
      • Delivery
      • Assessment
      • Certification / Credentialing
      • Audit/Accreditation
  5. Conclusion

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      This is a thought provoking paper about the ways in which education could evolve suggesting that the individual learner will be in the driving seat saying they will have "increased (but not complete) freedom and responsibility, to formulate their own

      curriculum in a way that matches their interests, objectives, passions, learning styles, and market needs".

      In reality, although they may want to be in control, I don’t think they will because there is a set of dependencies which will largely dictate their behavior ...

      1. Businesses demand educational credentials that are required for people they employ.
      2. Learners seek to get the educational credentials that they need to get the jobs they want.
      3. Teachers, either in conventional educational institutions or in the ways outlined in the paper, provide the education that enable the learners to get the credentials they seek.
      4. Government comes in to play in helping define educational credentials so that there is a (somewhat) objective standard of measurement and to make sure that teachers and the educational system (since it is largely paid for by the government) is working efficiently and effectively.

      ... bottom line is that, unless you are learning something just because it interests you, educational credentials (and therefore everything else) is going to be dictated by what business' want and what governments define as a standard. Changing this is going to be a challenge.


      Author's profile photo Anderson SANTANA DE OLIVEIRA

      Very inspirational article and report! I pretty much appreciate the way you presented the futuristic ideas,showing how the technology evolution can support a this vision of education, without losing its humanistic aspect. Great job!