- Michael Meotti, a principal at Ed Policy Group, argues for The Evolllution that a focus on talent development, experiential learning and innovative partnerships will help colleges compete in an era of increasing choice for students entering higher education.
- Talent development marks the intersection between knowledge, which has long ruled higher education, and skills, which help students use their degree to get a new job — and colleges that want to rise to the top of a competitive pool have to excel at developing both.
- Experiential learning, including simulations and virtual reality, as well as partnerships with community-based nonprofits and other organizations that work for student success, give colleges an advantage in attracting, retaining and graduating students.
Three-quarters of college students today are 25 or older, and 85% of students enrolled in some type of postsecondary program are considered nontraditional learners. Many of them are returning to school for retraining as they seek out their next job or a path to promotion. They want flexibility as they continue working while they pursue a degree or raise their families.
With new online programs being developed every day, including competency-based programs designed to reward students for knowledge acquisition, not seat time, students have a range of options from which to choose. Coding bootcamps, nanodegrees, and other nontraditional options are giving students alternative pathways to useful credentials. Student success and return on investment are key buzzwords in the field today, and colleges and universities need to focus on targeting their efforts to differentiating themselves in the competition for positive outcomes.