These are my notes from Mark Milliron‘s keynote, “Emerging Insights on Learning, Technology, and the Road Ahead in Education” and the 2013 Heartland eLearning Conference at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Mark’s site:

Emerging insights
– completion matters
– swirl and blend
– upward mobility is possible
– get serious about play
– learning resource strategy
– take action with analytics
– we need to get ready

Goal is the same of car trips now (get there) but the EXPERIENCE is SO DIFFERENT today because of technology

most of us are teaching and reaching students with tools we never experienced as students
– so the learning journey of students now is RADICALLY different
– we need many conversations about this

Very challenging conversation to have: Why these learning journeys are important
– understand the diversity of the college student landscape

Completion Matters
– Bill and Melinda Gates care passionately about that
– mission goal: helping people live healthy lives
– you’ve never been likely to die poor if you were born poor in the US
– single biggest disruptor of that used to be K12
– now it is a post-secondary credential with labor market value

The challenge is understanding why this is so important to different people
– we must understand this journey is different for everyone

Low income learners are finishing college at only about 12%
– those challenges aren’t going away
– the need for that credential is just going up

I’m NOT saying “4 year degree for everyone,” instead I’m saying “post-secondary credential with labor market value”

It’s hard to wonder when you can’t eat
– we need to give people a credential AND core appreciation of the liberal arts
– only about half the students who start college now finish, but those numbers are MUCH worse

Any issue getting Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton to collaborate is a big deal
– education IS a game changer
– “…Dropping out is not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country.” (President Obama)

If it doesn’t carry labor market value, it doesn’t help

We are NOT just talking about 18 and 20 year olds
– an entire family of diverse folks: swirl and blend
– this is DIFFERENT than what we experienced

example of core autonomic functions: clap and fold your hands, which thumb is on top?

Many people are amazed to learn the stat: less than 20% of the folks on higher education campuses / taking courses are ‘traditional’ 18-21 yr old students

Almost all Gen X, Y and Z virtually always connected
– go to bed with a mobile device in their bed
– Gen Y 50% more likely to send IMs than GenX
– texting speeds for younger generations are amazing, WAY faster than
– Gen Y and Z are major mobile, Gen X is big-time adopters
– broadband ubiquity
– mobile device ubiquity
– social network ubiquity
– from fixed media to search engines to Answer Engines

Answer engine example: Wolfram Alpha

There are more mobile connected internet devices in the world than there are people
– that number is going to TRIPLE quickly in the next few years

Facebook’s big problem: more grandparents are on Facebook than kids
– big challenge: when grandparents friend the grandchild

Big problem we have different silos creating physical and virtual infrastructure

People are using WebMD now to self-diagnosis

article “Online Education vs. Traditional Learning: Time to End the Family Feud” recently

boo for premium content

Conversation around the “Flipped Model” is not news
– we were doing that in the 1970s with Anneberg recordings
– displacing lecture for deeper dialog is not new

What Sal Khan did with Khan Academy did is focus on: When are students stuck on math
– at 11 pm at night when they are stuck
– so provide someone when kids are stuck
– don’t have to teach every concept that way
– use the tools in way that make sense

Global Online Academy
– elite private schools are now doing online learning
– they realize they must train their kids to be ready for the MIT/Harvards of the world plus the corporate world
– also the richness of a global, diverse classroom

is this blend expanding or contracting learning?

WCET Advance studies
– there is an eHarmony effect” in higher ed
– right student matched with the correct institution with the right delivery modality
– we need to figure out how to get better ‘matches’ for students

We’ve got to get beyond conversations like: How can we get our students to turn OFF their mobile phones?

See TED Talk: Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Her book is: Reality is Broken (from the “Institute for the Future“)

Get serious about play
– “be a rookie every year” that is the way to keep your brain plascticity up
– play a video game with a 12 year old
– some doctors are actually prescribing gameplay for neuro-plasticity
– grandkids and gaming: “if you have it, they will come”

Great story about grandparent and grandkids playing games together, having conversations about the games
– brought them closer together

Great post to check out: “Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and Learning

Chris Dede: How do you use these simulations and contextual-based learning environments to solve ‘wicked problems’

You must get your arms around your learning resource strategy
– publishing industry does NOT have their act together

Iron Triangle
– clarity on the learning competencies you are trying to engage with that experience
– what questions are you trying to get them to ask
– what kind of wonder are you trying to inspire>

2- Best learning resources you can curate
– build, buy, share strategy
– what will you build yourself, buy from the publishers, and share in the open content world (you need to figure out how to curate that well)

3- good assessments

Digital publishing: get digital and modular
– for low income learners that are most challenged: most did NOT access the resources for the course because they couldn’t afford the courseware
– at Western Governor’s we lowered cost by going digital and modular
– we heard kids were taking less challenging courses because the textbook costs were lower
– some courses had more expensive textbooks than the actual course!
– now we have our kids pay $149 curricular resource fee per semester, and that pays for ALL their curriculum resources (so we negotiated directly with publishers for lower costs)
– students LOVED this, makes it very predictable, students could load their schedules because textbook costs were never an issue

made structural incentive for publishers to fix weak content: We negotiated to only pay for curriculum when our students passed the content
– we need to get series about learning resource strategies

OER Commons

Great teachers are great purveyors of the copy and steal method!

Recommended book: DIY U

Rate My Professors has a new feature, “Professors Strikes Back

We’ve got to get serious about analytics
– make shift like the health care industry

book recommendation: Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results

We should be focusing on a different data model

What we know: self-regulation is based on feedback, and the students who can self-regulate
– many of our systems in higher ed are analogous to trying to regulate the temperature in your house with the Farmer’s Almanac
– what you need is a thermostate

Create studnet-facing dashboards that become apps
– an engagement heat map
– see student heat map with your course content, also overlaid over historical data
– identify engagement variables which matter the most
– identify students who are about to “fall off a course”

Students are making decisions now that will hurt them ALL the time
– we need to get that info in front of students and others

Do not walk away from the idea that credentials count
– if you care about being a game changers for students from low income backgrounds, the credential counts SO MUCH
– getting a certification or associates degree before you get a 4 year degree is key

#1 reason low income folks drop out: “life happens” variables
– complex lives
– if you don’t have a living wage job you’re incredibly unlikely to get back on the education train

HOw do people get their jobs after they leave our caring arms (in colleges)
– personal networking

Why are people fired?
– inter-personal conduct

jerk effect: you’re either fired because you are a jerk or you’re fired by a jerk

social learning will get you a job and let you keep a job
– social side of our learning is critical

we need:
– critical learning, creative learning, social learning, courageous learning…

Recent article: An Open Letter to Students: You’re the Game Changer in Next-Generation Learning

Embrace these conversations, catalyze them!
– dive into this!
– inspiring students to complete these credentials, but also develop that sense of wonder as well as persistence…

Beware of the ‘caustic cynnics’ and the ‘true believers’
– too many conversations get hijacked by the loud voices at either end of this spectrum
– we need to calm down and temper those groups, and unpack both the information and the questions we need to face

What is clear: Students want to use these pathways to change their lives

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