Diana Oblinger, the President of EDUCAUSE, today announced the Next Gen Learning Challenges program. Information about the program, including the involvement of the Gates and Hewlett Foundations, is included in Diane’s announcement letter below. I’m humbled to serve on the Advisory Panel for the program, and am deeply interested in the topics of the first set of challenges identified for grant-making:
- Challenge 1: Open Core Courseware
Expand access to high-quality, openly licensed courseware for developmental and general education.
- Challenge 2: Web 2.0 Engagement
Integrate interactive Web 2.0 approaches to stimulate deeper learning and ultimately improve college readiness and completion.
- Challenge 3: Blended Learning
Expand the use of established, effective online and face-to-face learning models on a cost-effective basis.
- Challenge 4: Learning Analytics
Foster the development and implementation of easily accessible learning analytics for those directly involved in student success.
The announcement reads:
I would like to introduce you to a new program designed to improve college readiness and completion. The Next Gen Learning Challenges will provide grants, build evidence of what works, and develop an active community committed to helping young adults prepare for college and complete their postsecondary education. You will find more information at http://www.nextgenlearning.com.
The program seeks to identify and scale technology-enabled approaches that dramatically improve college readiness and completion, particularly for low-income young adults. The partners for this initiative are the Gates Foundation, the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association of K-12 Online Learning, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The rationale for the program is compelling. Only half of high school graduates leave school prepared to succeed in college. For those who do enroll in postsecondary education, a little over half of them will actually earn a degree. Positions requiring postsecondary education or training will make up 64 percent of all job openings by 2018. Today it is virtually impossible to reach the middle class, and stay there, with only a high school diploma. By age 30, fewer than half of all Americans have earned a college degree. America must improve college readiness and completion—our society and our economy depend on it. Technology can be a key tool for making learning more flexible, engaging, and affordable?important elements in helping today’s high school and college students achieve academic success.
The next several weeks are a “Request for Comments” period during which the community is invited to share knowledge and comment to help refine the initial phase of the program. I invite you to:
– visit the Next Gen Learning Challenges website (www.nextgenlearning.com) to learn about college readiness and completion in the United States
– contribute research, resources, and perspectives on the Next Gen Learning Challenges
– engage in discussion forums targeting key questions
I hope you will join the conversation.