Millennium learners and higher education

I’m in Palmerston North today presenting alongside George Siemens and others at the Vice Chancellor’s Symposium: 2010. The theme of the day is ‘connected learners’ and I’ve been asked to speak on Millennium Learners: Implications for Higher Education.

My three main points regarding Millennium learners are summarised in the slide I’ve included here:

  • Disintermediation – students are now ‘free agents’ with their learning, making choices that no longer tether them to a particular institution, or even a particular lecturer.
  • Ubiquity – learning is now available any time, any place and through any device – mobile technologies and the cloud are important here.
  • Personalisation – we need to be more concerned with how we create learning opportunities that cater for individual student needs and preferences.

Implications for Higher Education include:

  • Content – What is it today, what will define it tomorrow?
  • Culture – To fit in to the existing or to create anew?
  • Competition – What are the new business models?
  • Control – Who controls the learning process?

George Siemen’s presentation to the symposium is available here.

My presentation is available here.

2 thoughts on “Millennium learners and higher education

  1. Great resources shared here Derek, thank you. I re read the slides from you and George to get an understanding of your term ‘disintermediation’ and I now feel more comfortable with the concept it portrays – user choice. This was the mantra touted several years ago in Australian TAFEs as a way of enabling learners to choose where they wanted to spend their learning $$$ – their govt subsidy could be spent anywhere. Now as we approach the second decade of the 21st century I know that learners will make even more radical choices that help them avoid paying heavy course fees at our colleges. So I believe that the notion of FREE education is now rising to the surface as a catalyst for disintermediation. There is a growing trend for open courses to be offered free of charge, and the only time a fee is required is for accreditation or statement of attainment. Perhaps this is the new business model.

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  2. Hi Carole – thanks for the comment. Re disintermediation, I think the key way of thinking of what it is about is to think of ‘getting rid of the middle person’ (the ‘intermediatry’) in the process. In traditional environments we have, as teachers and managers, have tended to ‘appropriate’ the technologies used, and required students to access content and participate in the ways determined by us. In a disintermediated world students will have a far greater opportunity to contribute to the shaping of the course, its outcomes, its approach to assessment etc. As free-agent learners, they will be exercising their choice of where, when, how and with what and who they learn.

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