College 2040

I was interviewed recently for an article on how universities will evolve over the next 20 years by Paul Rogers of LA Weekly.

Here are some of my thoughts, somewhat expanded from what made it into the article. But please go read the article, as you might like what others said more than what I had to say.

“We will continue to see multiple choices for post-secondary education that have evolved from the traditional campus-based residential four-year experience. While this will still be an option, it will be less so that it is now. Online universities will continue to improve and grow as an option, especially for people who live in rural areas or who want to work. Working as you learn will become more prevalent, with people working full time while pursuing degrees. In addition, credentials will become more mainstream, where people obtain smaller certifications of focused talent. Stackable credentials will also be used to add up to a degree. Some of these will be offered by community colleges and four-year universities as they expand their purview to the growing number of adult learners, but also will be found as coding academies become more widely recognized and available as places where learners can focus on particular skill sets such as data analytics and project management. “ 


“The ability to learn online is a huge technical achievement that is adapting and improving every day as we learn about the best ways to deliver online education. It can bring education to those in “education deserts,” which are areas currently hours away from brick and mortar institutions.  This dovetails with how more employees are also working remotely, so as one learns in the online environment it prepares them to work in an age of email, Zoom conferencing, and file sharing. The education of the future will mirror the workplace of the future.”

“While some students will continue the pathway of high school to four-year college, others will take different pathways to combat the high cost of college by working and learning simultaneously. We have also seen companies foster the education of their workforce, such as partnerships between Starbucks and University of Arizona, and the new program at Google to provide education internally to employees on a wide scale basis. As working and learning become more entwined, look for workers to stay with the same employer for longer periods of time, as more of their needs are met through these partnerships that enhance the experience.”

“Education will become less seamless and more continuous throughout the process. With physical and financial barriers breaking down, the pathways to learning will become less codified and more adaptable to one’s life situation.”

“The future of education is that it will truly become a lifelong process that people can dive in or wade in at points in their life that allow them to do so in the way best for them. “