This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 16, 2014

Learner-Centric Education

Just as we have come to understand the value of being customer-centric and employee-centric, educational professionals have finally come to understand the value of being student-centric, or perhaps a better way to express the concept is learner-centric.

Last Sunday at WorldFuture 2014, the annual conference of The World Future Society, Stacey Childress, CEO, at the New Schools Venture Fund and formerly with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presented the closing keynote, titled "Learners Take Charge: Education in the Next 50 Years".

Offering student-centric learning experiences finally has the potential to create success for every student. Imagine a world where "on any day of the year, students will be able to see how they are doing, where they want to be, and how they might get there". Unlike the schools of today, students feel ownership of their own learning and motivated to succeed. There are opportunities to "collaborate and connect with their peers in ways that reflect how they live now and how they will work in the future".

In this new personalized learning paradigm, schools are "designed to optimize time, pace, and instructional methods to make the most of teachers' time and to create learning paths that work best for each student". Based on their strengths, teachers and other adults have more diverse roles in and out of schools and enjoy guidance from coaches and access to content experts.

Each student will design his or her own learning map, detailing the acquisition of courses and competencies needed for a successful transition from where they are starting to graduation. Using the online technology of a portal like the Khan Academy, students get to learn at their own paces, supported by their peers and coaches. Parental involvement is also key---using texting to help them stay on top of assignments/grades and hold kids accountable.

As futurists who cares deeply about this issue, we are thrilled that, at last, we seem to have solutions that will support every student's success. The challenge will be gaining buy-in from the school districts, the parents, the teachers, and their unions. In closing, Childress said it best, "It's all in the implementation". And the implementation must be more than a token embracing of the new methods; merely giving lip service to this new paradigm or just providing students with iPads will be woefully insufficient.

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