Kuhn emphasized how most activity in science is evolutionary, operating within an existing framework. At a few rare points, anomalies arise that can no longer be addressed by existing frameworks and entirely new conceptions of a field arise. This model of change is relevant in education today. Other models developed by Perez (socio-techno-economic), Schumpeter (creative destruction), David (productivity lag in periods of change) are also applicable and important to consider when discussing change, but are beyond the scope of what I’m addressing in this post.
For decades, even centuries, higher education has been largely able to absorb technological trends through incremental improvements. Learning management systems mirror in class models of control. MOOCs mirror large lectures. The true potential of the internet has not yet produced a Kuhnian shift in higher education. But it’s getting closer. With developments of the last decade, higher education is now at the point where perspectives have enlarged and blurring shapes of education to come can be seen: distributed, unbundled/fragmented, alternative assessment schemes, global, and greater commercial involvement.
Looking for a few partners…
Shane Dawson, Dragan Gasevic, and I have been working on a platform that we feel reflects the future of education. The software, initiated by Gasevic as a research project, has now been in development for several years. Without going into too much technical detail, the software is competency/outcomes focused (i.e. more granular than a course) and targets learning that occurs anywhere (university, work, personal learning, MOOCs, etc). Through social and machine learning models, recommended content and resources are provided to learners. We believe that this will reduce degree completion time and improve quality of learning. We want to test those beliefs.
We are looking to run a series of pilots with a few university and corporate partners. We’ll assist departments/universities in developing courses (we’ll use that word for now, but it’s not really about courses) that emphasize personalized/adaptive learning and competency validation through social and expert networks. If you’re interested, let me know: gsiemens (at) gmail.com