How will the next five-to-ten years look like in online learning?
Anant Agarwal, president of edX.org, made these predictions in the Financial Times –that we have classified and summarized into ten trends:
1. The blended model will become the new norm. By 2020, 50 percent of college courses will combine in-person and online learning; a shift driven by student demand for the convenience and effectiveness of online learning. MIT’s recent report on the future of MIT education was unequivocal in its support of the blended model.
Chip Paucek, chief executive of 2U, says that “universities that do not provide online degrees will be hard-pressed to remain competitive as their peers scale dramatically through the ability to serve students regardless of location. “The lack of an online offering will be unacceptable. “At every school, there will no longer be online or on-campus students. Just students,” Paucek states.
2. MOOCs will help close the skills-gap for employers. Employees will be encouraged to take online courses with self-assessment preparedness tests pertaining to specific skill-sets when hired; or even later to keep up with emerging trends and technologies.
3. Students will become continuous learners, cultivating new skill-sets throughout their careers. There will be several models. For example, year one may be online with two years then spent on-campus. Instead of the traditional final year, students will enter the workforce to gain real-world skills and continue to learn through an annual subscription to their university.
4. Many universities will use MOOCs as a new kind of textbook; including videos, game-like simulations and interactive exercises. For classes, professors will augment public MOOC content with private, in-person experiences. In other words, MOOCs will be the “new age” textbooks.
5. MOOCs will help prepare students for college. Just as many schools mandate required summer reading prior to freshman year, specific MOOCs with self-assessment preparedness tests may be required from accepted students, thereby ensuring they are prepared when they arrive on campus.
6. There will be tens of thousands of free MOOCs offering everything, from fine arts to engineering. Students worldwide will have access to virtually any course subject in any language. [Today, edX.org and Open edx partners offer more than 1,000 free MOOCs.]
7. MOOCs will get personal. Learning will offer multiple pathways to navigate courses that fit specific learning styles and speeds. MOOCs will continue tailoring the learning experience to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students, universities and employers.
8. We will see more badges, such as Mozilla’s Open Badges. Employers increasingly accept certificates for MOOC courses. MOOC platforms are headed in this direction. [IBL has developed, along with GW, Indiana University and Achievery.com, the first badge system for Open edX. This course at GW is the first one issuing badges].
9. MOOC certificates will transfer into course credits.
10. Growing institutions, especially in developing nations, will aggregate existing MOOC courses into synthesized degree programs. [Anant refers to this phenomenon as "digital dormitories".]