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Report: The future of education

2009EduReport.jpgEarlier this year, I was invited to keynote a conference of leading US higher educators and academics at the College Board Colloquium. This is one of the leading educational conferences of the year.

The group has issued their report from the conference, and there is some pretty good coverage of the essence of my talk. Here’s a key quote:

The future of higher education is huge.” Carroll shared the following observation from Microsoft: “Probably about 50 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product will be taken up by training and knowledge activities within the decade.” Carroll then spoke about what is happening with “the knowledge economy.” The reality is, he said, that “American workers today, whether in a trade or profession, are in a situation in which the knowledge they have is continuously going out of date and needs to be continuously replenished. What is there to be concerned about when we have such massive growth potential?

In a nutshell, my perspective on the future of education (as found within the report) is that we need to rethink the context of “how we teach” in light of the realities that:

  • knowledge is growing exponentially’
  • the foundation of knowledge generation has forever changed
  • the velocity of knowledge is accelerating
  • exponential growth of knowledge leads to massive career specialization
    we are in the midst of a fundamental structural organizational and career change
  • By 2020 or sooner, it will be all about “just-in-time knowledge.”

What is this leading to?

  • rapid knowledge obsolescence
  • rapid knowledge emergence
  • disappearance of existing careers
  • rapid emergence of new careers
  • an ongoing need for continuous knowledge replenishment
  • the migration of knowledge generation further away from academia
  • a massively increased challenge from overseas knowledge generation
  • the fast emergence of new micro-careers
  • an economy that succeeds through knowledge deployment
  • a fundamental transformation in the role of educational institutions

In other words: much of the education structure that we have in place today doesn’t match the reality of what we really need to do, given the rapid change occurring in the fundamentals of knowledge.


  • Read Jim’s comments at the from 2009 College Board Colloquium by Jim Carroll
  • Read the entire reportNew Visions, New Voices for the 21st Century from 2009 College Board Colloquium by Jim Carroll

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