Today was an active day for predictions of the end of higher education as we know it.
Dr. Clay Christensen (of the Innovator’s Dilemna fame) spoke at a StartUp group in Silicon Valley; highlights were reported in this article which, I caution is not well written. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/02/07/disruption-guru-christensen-why.html?ana=lnk
He talked of the disruptive challenges facing Apple and the VC community. He saved his best for academia, predicting that “Fifteen years from now more than half of the universities will be in bankruptcy, including the state schools. In the end, I am excited to see that happen.”
This is pretty tame compared to a recent article from Iowas State which called for an immediate halt in all higher ed construction and hiring – predicting the demise within 5 years of the public university as we now know it.
Also today, Tech Crunch ran an article calling the impact of on-line learning technology a “revolution”. http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/11/a-huge-month-online-education-is-replacing-physical-colleges-at-a-crazy-fast-pace/
Interestingly, Christensen thinks something more than on-line technology is in play – “But there is a different business model that is disrupting this in addition to online learning. It’s on-the-job education. This model of learning is you come in for a week and we’ll teach you about strategy and you go off and develop a strategy. Come back later for two weeks on product development. You learn it and you use it. These are very different business models and that’s what’s killing us.”
I believe there is an urgency for our entire education community to review and adapt to the changed world we are living in. Those that adapt quickly will thrive by creating real value while those who ignore the realities of change will fail, causing a LOT of collateral damage.