Author: Katherine Prince

Seeding the Future of Learning Today – Part 3

January 9, 2019 by

This article is the concluding post in a three-part series by KnowledgeWorks futurist Katherine Prince on the challenges and opportunities emerging in education. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here.

Ten years ago, competency-based education was just beginning to take hold as a way of preparing all learners for college, career and life. Since that time, the movement has grown steadily, with more schools, districts and states implementing the approach or creating the policy and other conditions necessary for it to spread. The seeds for today’s successes were planted through many people’s past actions.

Similarly, tomorrow’s approaches to learning will have their seeds in the actions that educators and system influencers take today. In the face of ever-greater complexity, education stakeholders need to examine what the changing landscape could mean in their contexts and what futures of learning they would like to see and shape.

This post draws upon KnowledgeWorks’ new 10-year forecast, Navigating the Future of Learning, to explore some critical starting points for responding to the changing landscape today. It builds upon previous posts describing drivers of change that are influencing education and creating possibilities for the future of learning. (more…)

An Era Shift Creates New Opportunities for Education – Part 2

January 7, 2019 by

This article is the second in a three-part series by KnowledgeWorks futurist Katherine Prince on the challenges and opportunities emerging in education. Part 1 is here; Part 3 is here.

Putting students at the center of learning and pursuing competency-based education is at once an exciting and daunting challenge. Pursuing systems change is hard work. But the shifting climate surrounding education could create new urgency and new opportunity for reorienting learning around mastery and students’ needs.

In my last post, I described five drivers of change that invite educators and system influencers to steer the future of education toward one that supports all learners in thriving amid a rapidly changing world. These drivers of change, and the era shift to which they contribute, are raising big questions for education. They are also raising exciting possibilities for competency-based education and other approaches to learning. (more…)

An Era Shift Raises Big Questions for Education – Part 1

January 4, 2019 by

This article is the first in a three-part series by KnowledgeWorks futurist Katherine Prince on the challenges and opportunities emerging in education.

Educators have a lot to do, and they face many immediate and pressing demands related to supporting learners. Stepping out of the day-to-day to look 10 years into the future may feel like a luxury of time they can ill afford.

Taking that time, however, is crucial. It is important for educators to pause and consider how the world is changing and how those changes could affect learning. Moreover, educators should prepare to help lead the way as we all navigate the murky territory of moving toward a future of learning that can help all learners thrive.

As colleagues and I forecast in KnowledgeWorks’ latest comprehensive 10-year forecast, Navigating the Future of Learning, we are in the midst of an era shift that is changing how we relate with one another, our institutions and even with ourselves. People are interacting with smart devices – such as our mobile phones, voice-controlled personal assistants and the code that powers all those machines – in new and ever-deepening ways. Over the next decade, many facets of our lives will be affected by exponential advances in technology and by the social and economic changes that are accompanying them.


Radically Personalized Learning for All

September 10, 2013 by

kwWhat if we could create a future in which education truly served the needs of all children?  Create a learning ecosystem in which learning adapted to each child instead of each child trying to adapt to school?

KnowledgeWorks’ recent infographic on the future of learning, “A Glimpse into the Future of Learning,” highlights the potential emerging trends to do just that.

Already “school” is beginning to diversify in form, more and more states are freeing learning from its historic ties to time and age, and communities are finding new ways of spreading learning across their landscapes.  Some public school districts are providing credit for “informal” learning, and new platforms for finding and engaging in diverse kinds of learning experiences and then showing mastery are emerging.

KnowledgeWorks’ third full forecast on the future of learning, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem, details the disruptive forces behind these changes.  Together, they add up a fundamental shift in the design of learning.

We’ve already seen the digital revolution and the accompanying cultural changes reconfigure  other knowledge-based industries such as publishing and bring a new level of personalization and modularization to industries such as retail (think Amazon) and music (think iTunes).  Over the next ten years, we expect to see a similarly seismic shift in education as traditional educators and new kinds of stakeholders put learning resources and experiences together in many right combinations to meet the needs of particular learners at particular points in time.

The result promises to be radical personalization for all learners.  Competency education represents a critical pathway for moving today’s public education system in this direction and could form the crux of articulating the value of public education for a knowledge-abundant society.  KnowledgeWorks focuses our policy work in this area because we see it as a critical step for moving toward the future of learning today.

But competency education is not the end game.  We will have at our disposal the tools and knowledge to keep pushing the edge of personalized learning.  Let’s make sure to set up today’s new competency-based solutions with enough space and flexibility that we can keep diversifying learning pathways, supports, and focal points as individuals and their families get increasingly accustomed to creating individualized learning playlists that support their needs, interests, and goals.

As Senior Director of Strategic Foresight at KnowledgeWorks, Katherine Prince leads the organization’s exploration of trends shaping the future of learning.  Since 2007, she has helped a wide range of education stakeholders develop aspirational visions and strategies for change in the context of KnowledgeWorks’ ten-year forecasts.  Before joining KnowledgeWorks, Katherine introduced innovations in tutor support systems at Britain’s Open University.  She holds a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University; an MA in English from the University of Iowa; and an MBA from The Open University with emphases on creativity, innovation, and change and on knowledge management.


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