The Innovator Network

A collective of individuals, universities and employers committed to student-centered academic transformation. Curated and hosted by Education Design Lab, the Network fosters thoughtful dialogue, collaboration and solutions to challenges facing higher ed today.

The Learner Revolution

How Colleges Can Thrive in a Skills and Competencies Marketplace

Education Design Lab's 2019 white paper

Reflections from five years of applied human-centered design at 100+ institutions

The Learner Revolution Discussion

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, we celebrated the Education Design Lab's five year anniversary by hosting a dinner and discussion about the future of work and the demand for new postsecondary education-to-workforce solutions.

Moderated by Kathleen deLaski, Founder and President of the Education Design Lab, and featuring George Mason University President, Ángel Cabrera, and Amazon Web Services Senior Manager of Worldwide Education Programs, Ken Eisner.

Discussants include Goodwill Industries International Senior Vice President of Strategy and Advancement, Wendi Copeland, Penn Foster CEO, Frank Britt, League for Innovation in the Community College President and CEO, and Lab board member, Rufus Glasper.

Six “College Hacking” Trends to Watch in 2020

Jan 2, 2020

When we predicted the “Learner Revolution” in 2014, we talked about it as a trend that might take hold by 2030. The Learner Revolution is a world where the college degree becomes just one option for professional career preparation, where learners might hack their own path to attain skills in shorter courses or micro-degrees. Their credentials might be delivered by a mix of colleges, employers, or experience providers at any point in their lives. By early 2019, to celebrate the Education Design Lab’s fifth anniversary, we wrote about how quickly views about the importance of the college degree had softened as enrollments at two and four year colleges, and particularly graduate schools, were declining.

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HBCUs Excel at Supporting Black Students. Here’s Why Strengthening Their Career Outcomes Matters.

Dec 19, 2019

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were founded with the principal mission to educate African-Americans, providing pathways to opportunities for a population that was systematically excluded from active participation in higher education. At the Lab, we believe that if we can both enable traditionally under-resourced institutions to rethink their programming and co-design with them new models to enhance career outcomes, we can scale these initiatives to positively impact all learners across the higher education ecosystem. In other words, designing for resource-constrained institutions and underserved learners—in human-centered design, we might say “extreme users”—will address the needs of the many.

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Future Proof: An Upskilling Primer

Dec 5, 2019

As part of our “Future Proof” series, we’re covering the future of work landscape and the tools, pathways, and trends for designing educational programs that equip learners for an evolving workforce–– past issues covered skills mapping and 21st century skills curriculum mapping as key tools. In this “Future Proof” spotlight, the Lab’s education designer Isaac Agbeshie-Noye provides a primer on upskilling, a human capital trend, and shares examples in practice and lessons learned to date from our upskilling initiative in San Antonio, Texas.

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6 Things You Should Know About Single Mother Learners on Your Campus

Nov 6, 2019

Single moms make up 11% of all undergraduate college students, and research shows that college success helps them build family-sustaining careers and contribute to their local economies. Over the past several months, the community colleges participating in the Single Moms Success Design Challenge (SMSDC) – Delgado Community College, Monroe Community College, Central New Mexico Community College, and Ivy Tech Community College – dove deep into understanding the experiences faced by single mother learners. Through a series of design sessions facilitated by the Lab, the schools gained important insights for ideation and prototyping of potential solutions to dramatically increase single mothers’ attainment of degrees and high-quality credentials.

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How to Get it Done: A 2-Day Sprint to Redesign an HBCU’s Curriculum

Aug 29, 2019

Increased financial pressures and declining enrollment are forcing small private colleges to adapt. For many, a curriculum redesign is the way forward. Florida Memorial University (FMU) is facing many of the same pressures as other colleges and universities across the country—they’re working to tackle mounting pressures and adjust to a changing landscape.

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What is the Innovator Network?

We’re glad you asked. It’s a collective of individuals, universities and employers committed to student-centered academic transformation.

Curated and hosted by Education Design Lab, the Network fosters thoughtful dialogue, collaboration and solutions to challenges facing higher ed today. We hope you’ll join us.

Learn more or…

The Innovator Network is a place for you to form connections with similarly motivated colleagues in higher ed, as well as other higher ed institutions and industry. The Network also serves as a community and sounding board for issues and opportunities that you and your institution face.