Virtual student

In the wake of one of the biggest economic shifts since the Industrial Revolution, the need for reskilling and upskilling comes into sharp focus, as does the future of education. A recently published global survey by Pearson will prove interesting reading for those involved in the administration of education and those investing in the sector. Whilst the significant majority of respondents believed that education was important as a career stepping-stone and in informing personal identity, less than half of those in the US and Europe felt that higher education had prepared them for their career. Increasingly, learners are veering away from traditional education and traditional providers and towards DIY and vocational sources. Similarly, the age at which one undertakes tertiary education is shifting from something you do after school, to something that you undertake at various points during your life. The report finds that digital and virtual learning will be the new normal within 10 years and that coding will rise above Chinese and Spanish to be the world’s second language. Taken at face value, this highlights significant disruption threats to the traditional model which relies on expensive lecturers, real estate and requires payment of high tuition fees and accommodation at a time when the student isn’t earning. A separate recent study forecasts that massive open online courses (‘MOOCs’) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41% to 2026, and rise $61bn in value over the same period.