Giving Compass' Take:

• As the number of jobs and skillsets an individual is now expected to hold over the course of their career increases the role of college in education quickly comes into question. Can colleges adequately prepare students for the fast-paced, high-tech, gig economy? 

• How can colleges best serve their students? What should students expect and demand of their institutions? 

• Learn how one school is providing their students with a customized, flexible education

Today’s workforce feels like a frantically accelerating and precarious place. The shelf life of skills is shortening. More workers are joining the gig economy. Automation is creeping into most sectors. All of these changes require that workers upskill, reskill, and master soft skills.

America’s higher education system already plays an integral role in delivering some of these skills, but it falls woefully short in delivering on the country’s lifelong learning needs. To properly address this challenge, we must reframe it and the language used to describe it, and Modularity Theory provides us with powerful tools for doing so.

When a product or service consists of interchangeable, plug-and-play components and standardized interfaces we say it has a modular architecture.

A better understanding of the lifelong learning paradigm and of the many interfaces that it engenders can also broaden perspectives for traditional institutions. For example, higher education providers could more seriously consider ideas like the “open loop” university, expanding their offerings to engage alumni as perpetual students, helping them transition repeatedly from learning to working and back again.

This framework also validates the idea of an “education sherpa,” a coach that can guide learners and professionals as they navigate the myriad training options available at different times of life.

Read the full article about colleges and lifelong learning by Richard Price at Christensen Institute.