“American higher education organizations will undergo from packaged courses and degrees to unbundled course offerings,” argues Ryan Craig, managing director of University Ventures, a private-equity fund, in his new book, “College Disrupted”.
“This ‘unbundling’ of higher-education will allow students to earn new kinds of educational credentials,” wrote Jeffrey R. Young in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Experts say that students will want to save money by picking from a menu, trying “micro-degrees”, personalized modules and courses, skipping costly perks such as library access or a gym. Paying for a bundle of services seems to be over.
From a pedagogic point of view, students can retake any module they struggle with before moving on to more advanced material.
More and more colleges are examining this “iTunes playlist-style” offer. MIT, Harvard and other edX universities are experimenting with making in-person courses modular. In fact, this is a powerful idea that the Open edX platform promotes. Udacity and Coursera also offer these kinds of mini-degrees, credentials and badges.
Working adults looking to update their skills have been the early adopters. And, in this sense, Ryan Craig predicts that “LinkedIn will become the arbiter of these mini-degrees”, generating standardized lists of proven competencies from users’ profiles that employers will easily search for.