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The Learner Revolution is Coming

Recently, the Lab has been percolating in a few different projects that have us returning to a piece we published six months ago, “The Learner Revolution”. Our Badging Challenge, the Academy for Innovative Higher Ed Leadership, a collaborative trip out to Ohio State, and an exciting new project we’re working on with the Lumina Foundation, as well as other design facilitation sessions, have put us in rooms with experts in higher ed and academic innovation, who are all percolating in higher ed’s challenges and opportunities as the 21st century learner continues to question the value proposition of a high-cost college education.



These new learners want to showcase themselves between the lines of the resume or transcript, and with commencement season just barely behind us, we are sure to start seeing a new round of articles on the job market for 2015 graduates. Someone just yesterday remarked to our team that what happened to marketing a decade ago with the dawn of analytics is now happening to HR, and that learners need to be ready to showcase themselves in new ways. Which has gotten us thinking about The Learner Revolution, and how it’s still applicable today just as much as ever.


All of this is happening in an ecosystem that continues to be flooded by new players in ed-tech, entrepreneurship, and academic innovation. When we published “The Learner Revolution” six months ago and unveiled it during National Education Week, it was our hope that it would stand as our keystone piece that implores these new players to focus their efforts around the learner, and six months on, advocating for investment on behalf of the learner remains critical to our mission.

Nov12ArticleImgThe piece highlights eight ideas that could best unleash the promise of the learner revolution:

credit portability

competency-based credit

21st century skill assessment

real-world learning labs

skills-specific academies

adaptive learning and feedback

facilitated peer learning

learner coaching


It is our hope that sharing “The Learner Revolution” again today will reignite some of the initial passion and continue to push the needle on how higher education needs to transform to serve 21st century learners, and we hope it will be useful to you as you continue to work in this space alongside us.


Click here to view or download the full report.


What does the Learner Revolution mean to your work? How can you apply some of these principles to your theory of change? Is there anything missing here?