Engaging Learners Online in COVID-19: An Actionable Framework

May 7, 2020

A year ago, the Lab had just released The Learner Revolution, a whitepaper sharing learnings from five years of work with 125+ institutions on how higher ed leaders must position their institutions to improve learner outcomes, support learners’ economic mobility, and ultimately thrive in a rapidly changing landscape of learning options. Fast forward, and today COVID-19 has accelerated the forces necessitating these changes, most acutely impacting those students—like low-income learners, parent learners, first gen students, and others from historically underserved and underrepresented groups—who were already in need of a redesign of higher ed to enable their success.

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Why Micro-pathways

May 7, 2020

We didn’t need the coronavirus to get us pondering the question “Is college worth it?” But it certainly speeds up our need to find the alternatives. At the Lab, we argue that Micro-pathways will be an important bridge to the future in this new agile and uncertain age.

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Higher Ed’s Learner-centered Responses to the Pandemic

April 9, 2020

We continue to be inspired by the ways higher ed is responding to this moment on behalf of learners and communities. And we are hearing from our network how the design tools and methods we’ve shared over the years have helped them respond and adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. Many had already begun to pivot toward a fast-changing future, and now they are demonstrating resilience in the face of change. We’re heartened to see our institutional partners that have embraced student-centered solutions double-down on their values and commitment.

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More News and Events

Engaging Learners Online in COVID-19: An Actionable Framework

A year ago, the Lab had just released The Learner Revolution, a whitepaper sharing learnings from five years of work with 125+ institutions on how higher ed leaders must position their institutions to improve learner outcomes, support learners’ economic mobility, and ultimately thrive in a rapidly changing landscape of learning options. Fast forward, and today COVID-19 has accelerated the forces necessitating these changes, most acutely impacting those students—like low-income learners, parent learners, first gen students, and others from historically underserved and underrepresented groups—who were already in need of a redesign of higher ed to enable their success.

Why Micro-pathways

We didn’t need the coronavirus to get us pondering the question “Is college worth it?” But it certainly speeds up our need to find the alternatives. At the Lab, we argue that Micro-pathways will be an important bridge to the future in this new agile and uncertain age.

Higher Ed’s Learner-centered Responses to the Pandemic

We continue to be inspired by the ways higher ed is responding to this moment on behalf of learners and communities. And we are hearing from our network how the design tools and methods we’ve shared over the years have helped them respond and adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. Many had already begun to pivot toward a fast-changing future, and now they are demonstrating resilience in the face of change. We’re heartened to see our institutional partners that have embraced student-centered solutions double-down on their values and commitment.

We’re Asking Our Education Designers: How Might We Future?

At the Lab, we’ve long talked about the fast-changing learn-to-work ecosystem. In this series, we asked our education designers to share their thoughts on the dramatic shifts forced by the COVID-19 crisis.

Resources During COVID-19: Supporting Single Mother Learners + Other High-need Students

In support of our Single Moms Success Design Challenge partners, we’ve compiled a short list of immediate relief resources that may help institutional leaders better support single parent learners and other high-need students during this especially difficult period.

In Response to COVID-19

One of the few things we can feel certain about is that your inboxes and social media feeds are overwhelmed by COVID-19 statements from schools, businesses and service providers. What can we add? We are feeling a sense of hopefulness based on the outpouring of care and ingenuity we see around us.

Our Badging Fellows Have Been Working with the Lab’s Microcredentials for Five Months. Here’s What They’re Learning.

Back in October 2019, we announced our Badging Fellows, a cohort of five individuals working on their respective campuses to build and launch a learning experience utilizing the Lab’s 21st century skills. Over the past few months, the Fellows have been working diligently, designing enhancements to the existing 21st Century Skills Badges (in some cases, closely with employers), and positioning the initiative with faculty and staff for spring deployment. Our Fellows, who previously had very little experience with digital microcredentialing, have quickly become subject matter experts on ways to make learning and 21st century skills visible.

Parenthood as a Powerful Motivator: Love Letters from Single Mother Learners

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.

Six “College Hacking” Trends to Watch in 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.

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

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.