The future of education

With curricula in schools changing every year, people are wondering what the future of education will look like…

The future of education. 

It will be digital. It will be competency based. It will be using Open Educational Resources. Teachers will be assisting students in projects rather than holding their hand through study in class. Students will be interacting more online, they will be tested more in a digital environment, they will be able to move more quickly through content, and platforms will be smart enough to know whether they understand what they read.

But there are so many hurdles to get to that future…

The future of publishers. 

They will become software companies. The winner of market share will be the first one to successfully use big data. Step 1 is to track learning outcomes to states, schools, courses, instructors, students, and student progress. Step 2 is to provide the best UX for students and teachers. This will allow teachers to upload their content easily, allowing them to tag content to courses, schools, and outcomes. Students need to be able to then learn a particular outcome via both instructor and open resources, and be assessed on that outcome.

A publishers role then becomes that of vetted content provider. They will become a business that provides high quality narrative, multimedia, and assessments to particular learning outcomes, using instructional design to build content narratives in digestable and entertaining pieces for students.

It becomes better when you turn those outcomes into a game, videos, virtual reality,  or mobile.

Businesses are doing these things on the fringe right now. Facebook with VR, Amazon with listing and tagging learning outcomes, Apple with iTunes University. Then Kahn, Coursera, Udemy, Lynda with video tutorials. We are getting closer. We are nipping at the heels of an edtech behemoth.

The future of institutions. 

The institutions will continue as they have. They will weather the change. People will value education as much or more as before. They will just use different ways of connecting with students. Research will continue. Science will still need labs. Humanities will still need to discuss. Acting still requires speaking in front of people. Teachers will adapt to whatever content is available. What will change the most is where institutions get their content, and then, how they use it in the classroom, how much students learn and retain before class, and where they use their knowledge.

Institutions will have a larger online presence, and reach out to more people. But the need to think on your feet and interact with people will require classrooms for many years to come.

The future of students. 

Students will continue to pursue degrees and pedigrees. An MBA from Harvard will continue to be required for consulting at Bain. However looking at Google’s hiring practices shows that students will need to know the required skill-sets regardless of where or how they learned it. So what does that mean for the student in all of us? We need to know how to learn faster, and retain information longer. And it would be nice to have the tools and the systems to help us do that.

We don’t want to be told what to think, but we love to explore what fascinates us. Biologically, we get a release of serotonin every time we do something that’s pleasurable. This includes figuring out a difficult problem. We get a release of endorphins when we conquer something fearful.

So what does this mean for learning? The more we can build biological response into learning the better our engagement will be. We will remember longer and learn faster and deeper. The longer we can pursue fascination, the better we can develop focus, and in turn a desire for learning more.

27 Reasons why Ed Tech is the best investment

27 Reasons why Ed Tech is the best investment

Why Ed Tech? Why now? 

  1. There has not yet been the “Youtube” of Ed Tech yet.
  2. Investment in Education Technology has skyrocketed with businesses and Entrepreneurs
  3. Mobile is everywhere and education on Mobile allows you to reach people quickly… and simultaneously
  4. Technology has taken a previously fragmented system and allowed us to link learning to students and teachers faster and more seamlessly
  5. We can collaborate now with social media
  6. Adaptive Learning Technologies make learning faster and more relevant for the student (Cognii, Knewton)
  7. Companies that succeed over a long period of time have a very strong focus. It’s easy to mask quality over the short term, but long term quality is essential for longevity. There is a dearth of quality digital course design
  8. Companies want better education internally, helping to find and retain talent
  9. Students want better education, more aligned with relevant jobs
  10. I.T. jobs require constant education to be able to be fast to market and satisfy customer and employer needs
  11. Non-skill based degrees will fade in importance over the long term
  12. International Student flows for advanced education are increasing significantly, ed tech allows for meeting the needs of these students
  13. International parents are willing to pay a substantial amount of money on education and supplementary education. They are willing to pay 15% and above of their annual take home pay on the education of their children.
  14. Tutoring is just something that overseas students ‘do’. It is standard.
  15. The upper end of the U.S. Bell Curve is willing to pay a very large amount toward SAT and test preparation.
  16. Education is the single most important thing in moving people and companies ahead
  17. The number of educational technology companies is broadening
  18. The value chain of the educational space is moving more toward a digital environment
  19. More companies are making profits in this space and are faster to market than in the past
  20. Outside companies are now involved with providing and creating content instead of having the content fully created my educators
  21. Over 1/3 of internet searches in China are education based
  22. MOOCs are accelerating their development and reach (Kahn, Coursera, Udemy)
  23. New online learning platforms are proliferating
  24. By and large, most every major VC has some vet in the Ed Tech space
  25. Financial sponsors for Educations Technology continue to grow
  26. Many Ed Tech companies have “gone public” in the last few years
  27. Approximately 45 Ed Tech companies are worth over 1 billion dollars

What are some opportunities / needs here? 

  1. More and better adaptive learning technologies
  2. Aligning education of students with current and relevant jobs
  3. Be able to demonstrate skills and not just knowledge
  4. Content isn’t immediately translated to other languages, quality is often compromised. Content developers are needed to massage this content for quality.
  5. The retirement community has money and wants to learn
  6. It is still unknown what the “right way” is to create optimal learning
  7. OER is rising in importance (it’s also more prevalent outside the U.S.)
  8. Content vs. Technology cooperation and integration

What are investors looking for? 

  1. growth at higher than market rate
  2. cash flow
  3. a return other investment (obviously)


  1. strength in distrbution
  2. content portfolio
  3. teachers believe in your business
  4. reputation
  5. maintaining your reputation
  6. sticky business model (money making)
  7. Competitive differentiation with your closest peer set
  8. how are you running your sales force
  9. What is your competitive advantage content and sales wise
  10. are you ready for the future? will you be ready for how the market evolves?

What is one thing I can do to move my business forward? 

  1. Be laser focused on serving your customers