- Around 1,400 education leaders, scholars, technologists, practitioners and "strategic thinkers" recently responded to a survey from the Pew Research Center and Elon University that asked if the next decade would present new educational and training programs that could train large numbers of workers in future skills at scale.
- According to Campus Technology, some 70% of respondents predicted the emergence and success of these programs, though the general consensus was that the future will hold a variety of models due to remaining demand and prestige around a traditional college education and the need for retraining in new skills among lifelong learners, as well as certifications and training for low- and middle-skill workers disrupted by automation.
- Some, however, predicted the new models needed wouldn't arrive at scale in time, noting the struggles MOOCs have experienced in providing education and training at scale, and that political and other challenges stand in the way for the ongoing development of alternative credentialing models.
Alternative credentialing models like MOOCs and coding bootcamps have created a significant source of competition for colleges and universities, especially when it comes to continuing education models. That lost revenue will likely lead many to experiment with adopting similar models that allow learners to gain the specific skills they need rather than completing an entire program, and some have already begun to do so via partnerships.
Campuses are also facing pressure from the other end due to the increasing popularity of free community college programs, which potentially cut into four-year institutions' revenue from large lecture hall gen-ed courses. While these challenges will likely see some institutions shutter, especially as additional factors like increasing demand for fewer potential students, a traditional four-year college education will likely remain in demand, particularly from some of the nation's most prestigious institutions. And those that survive will also likely be those most successful in adapting the variety of options future generations of students will demand.