Crowdsourcing the Needs of GenXYZ Learners
in a Rapidly Changing Higher Education Environment

Even today, only a fraction of students are on a “traditional” learning path. Think out 10 Years.
Will there be SATs? Classrooms? Robot tutors? Free quality degrees? New professions to prepare for? An Uber-style app that finds the best pathway? Employers bypassing universities and teaching what they want students and employees to learn?
And, most importantly, who gets left behind?
How do we harness the future to solve the problem we have now
…that only 9% of low-income students get to degrees within 6 years?


We’re crowdsourcing the vision of the ecosystem for higher education in the year 2026, with a particular focus on the needs of students as technology drives more plentiful choices and pathways to more types of credentials. This project grew out of a design session at the GSV Summit in April, hosted by the Department of Education and the Education Design Lab. Some participants were asked to take the design exercises back to their teams, which launched this crowdsourcing project.

The information and data captured in this exercise will be shared with policymakers, funders, entrepreneurs, and learning institutions as we collectively address the supports needed to make future pathways to success more affordable, relevant, and accessible.

How It Works

This is a three-part design exercise that should take your team about 2 hours. Using design tools such as personas and student journey mapping, you will help identify the education journey for different types of students, design criteria to support future learners, as well as categories of opportunities where support might be most essential.

How You Can Help

We are reaching out to capture diverse points of view from students (young and adult), teachers, faculty, parents, and administrators up and down the education pipeline. We hope this exercise might push your thinking about how you or your organization are preparing for future students’ needs. You’ll also be exposed to some useful design thinking tools which you can adapt for your own projects.

Read about our other challenges
Ready to Get Started?
Download the Session Materials
After your session, please photograph your work so that we can review your material and add your insights to the master project. You may send your final photographs to labinfo@eddesignlab.org.
Michelle Batt


Design Challenge Lead

Michelle is a Design Challenge Lead for the Lab’s Badging Challenge. Michelle is also the President of Lead by Experience, offering strategic and tactical consulting to help leadership teams across: business, health care and education improve their customer experience.

Through her coaching, Michelle loves to “gently” break up typical functional silos to stimulate collaboration and steer change management across organizations. She integrates new, cost effective, ways to capture and understand customers’ expectations, wants and needs.

Prior to establishing her own business, Michelle held executive positions in telecommunications at MCI and NII Holdings where she held the position of Senior Director of Customer Experience. Michelle earned a Masters of Arts degree in Education: Curriculum & Instruction from Loyola College in Maryland and completed an Executive Certification in Global Leadership from Georgetown University – the McDonough School of Business.


Michael Meotti photo-2

Michael Meotti

Higher Ed Fellow

Mike brings extensive experience in higher education policy, innovation and management to Education Design Lab’s work.   Mike has a broad perspective on the challenges facing colleges and universities based on his past leadership positions in state government, nonprofit organizations and higher education systems. He has led transformation initiatives in all of these sectors.

Mike served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Higher Education and Executive Vice President and chief operating officer of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. 

Mike was a member of the Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the Federal Relations Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).  He led the Connecticut delegation in the National Governors Association Best Practices Academy “Complete to Compete” and in Complete College America.  Michael was also active in the state policy track of Achieving the Dream and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Coalition for the Common Core Standards.  He earned his J.D. and B.S. degrees from Georgetown University.

Prior to his work in higher education, Mike led several nonprofit organizations that provided services addressing the needs of many “first generation” and returning adult students.