The world is at home and facing the reality that the school year is going to end without students returning to classrooms. Despite this, learning hasn’t stopped. Quite the opposite. And this new reality is revealing cracks in our existing education system.

Some thoughts on what’s going on and predictions on what might happen, across different stages…

  • K-12 systems will like return in a physical form, driven by the need for a safe haven for children while parents are working. Public K-12 is government funded, so the system will only meaningfully change if that investment can respond to the needs of students. We will likely see a rise in homeschooling and privatized education at lower costs, to make up for the inadequate public schooling system.
  • For systems of higher education, there will be a few key changes. First, the move to digital delivery will bring down the price of getting a ‘premium’ education. That’s only the first of many other n-th order effects here. Second, we’ll see more innovation in schools providing certainty of a successful career (most schools have been training people for the wrong thing). Everything from financing (ISA’s) to companies offering education credits as part of work. This will see the notion of school and working becoming interleaved.
  • We’ll see a rise in platforms targeted at self directed learners - students that want to define their own curiculum and learn at their own pace. “K-12” and “higher education” are simply labels and remnants of the past system.
  • For those already in the workforce, there will be a massive need on upskilling and reskilling to participate in the knowledge economy. For others, it’s a time to take back control, and start building their own communities and businesses online.
  • In a knowledge economy, long term capital success is directly tied to the ability for companies to build intellectual moats. The best companies are learning organizations and feel like learning communities. The tools that help us in this process will go beyond communication - they will help us organize our thoughts, compound our collective knowledge and help us in the journey of learning.

Clearly there is a new system being created, and more change is quickly approaching.