As we revel in the age of modern technology, online micro classes and lifelong learning are changing the world of education. While traditional schools are failing and often falling away entirely, other forms of education are rushing forward to create lifelong impacts for the future generation of the workforce. On top of this, some of the top universities such as Harvard and Stanford are seeing low acceptance rates and low graduation rates according to a study in 2019.
Reality face tradition
In an argument he made in this sciencemag.org article, Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle explains that “Universities were founded in Western Europe in 1050 and lecturing has been the predominant form of teaching ever since”. (1) According to the article, Freeman used an experiment to show that lectures were not only boring but consistently failed students. His research proved that when students participated in more active classes not only did their understanding of the subject improve but so did their test scores. However, traditional education has not yet made the change to compete with these new statistics.
Not only this, but traditional universities are no longer prepared to educate students for the fourth industrial revolution that now exists in America, according to The Future of Jobs Report posted on weforum.go. Students today are trying to prepare for a workforce style that doesn’t yet even exist and may not for some time before they graduate, impacting both job placement and job displacement equally. The truth of the matter is, universities are not equipped to prepare our students for the job market they will face in five or ten years time (2) and the traditional “three-stage” life approach (where you study, you work and you retire) is no longer valid in a time where you have to re-skill and up-skill yourself continuously to stay relevant to the market.
Traditional institutions are trapped in a certain mindset of thinking. They seem to believe that education should continue its prestigious path that has been walking through over the past years. Students even demand a direct connection to employers that universities cannot offer or guarantee. Quite simply, traditional education is not equipped to handle to growing demands of modernized workforce.(3)
However, there is a different type of education closing the gap between employers and employees and modernizing education for the new era of the workforce. Microlearning and lifelong learning. Microlearning is defined as bite-sized learning. According to an article from su.org, professors have found that smaller, more engaging content creates a more impactful classroom, rather than long traditional lectures. (4) Because of this, online Micro classes are seeing an uprise.
As for lifelong learning, it stands for “ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons”.
The education market put to display different types of online classes available. Micro classes as opposed to MOOC classes, all of them oriented to satisfy the need for knowledge. MOOC classes are very much like traditional universities that offer lecture-based teaching and mini assignments that don’t actively engage the mind. There’s also no incentive for completing the course. In the majority of the classes, the work is not accredited. The homework is not checked by actual professors but graded by other students taking the course, leaving inaccuracies in the grading scales from poor quality feedback to inaccurate low grades or inaccurately high grades. (5)
On the other hand, micro classes are usually built by either colleges or companies where they work at best comes with a certified degree or certification that can be used in the future and only focuses on the classes that you need to take in short learning bursts. Micro based classes, as stated above, offer differences for all learners, are usually taught by actual professors or knowledgeable professionals. If the course is hosted by a company, the teacher is often someone who has worked previously in the role being taught and has the education and background to actually teach the class, while being able to answer questions and give necessary feedback.
Because of their specified structures, -micro-based classes see a much higher graduation rate among students and often cut the time in class by months or weeks by providing only certain abilities or knowledge that are needed. Unlike the lecture formats, micro classes aimed for lifelong learners are developed and co-created with experts among their fields, based on a tailor-made instructional design, thought with the user at the center of the process. The whole experience is an expert-guided model specifically built to meet the need of every student and give them the best possible success possible.
In conclusion, the new learning experience offers more consistent grading scales, options for all learners and often provide training directly for specified degrees or companies. MOOC’s on the other hand, lack the consistency of authoritative professors and educators, poor peer-grading and lackluster applied to learn that often results in low graduation rates. For any CEO or employee looking to better their education, it seems best to go for the source that has the most accurate information for their job and in this analysis. The new learning experiences will provide the revolutionary change necessary to compete in a technology-driven workforce that modern universities are failing to offer.
Capabilia is deeply committed to helping institutions to develop their own offers of learning experiences that really work in the real world. Explore your possibilities.
(1) Bajak, A. (2019). Lectures aren’t just boring, they’re Ineffective, too, study finds. [online] Science | AAAS. Available at: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/05/lectures-arent-just-boring-theyre-ineffective-too-study-finds [Accessed 7 Sep. 2019].
(2) weforum.org (2016) The Future of Jobs [PDF FILE]. Retrieved from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs.pdf
(3) Christenseninstitute.org (2014). Hire Education. [PDF FILE] retreived from https://www.christenseninstitute.org
(4) Exponential Guide to the Future of Learning.” Singularity University. Singularity University . Accessed September 8, 2019. https://su.org/resources/exponential-guides/the-exponential-guide-to-the-future-of-learning/
(5)Littlefield, Jamie. “The Dark Side of Online Classes.” ThoughtCo. ThoughtCo, February 25, 2019. https://www.thoughtco.com/problems-with-online-classes-1098085