Taking into consideration the drivers of change, I finally got to complete my scenario matrix. It was quite interesting and I enjoyed putting this together after viewing the scenario matrices of other participant and tons of relevant online resources.
The two axes that I have chosen as uncertainties of the future are the shift from acquisition of knowledge to competence in terms of application of knowledge and development of skills on the one hand and the great divide between the controlled centralised monopoly of branded educational institutions and the free and easily accessible OER, mOOCs and digital badges, on the other.
Contemporary socio-economic and political factors combined with the spiralling development of technology are the key drivers. In the last two decades, these things have had a great impact on the fast–morphing face of education and the role of educators and educational institutions. The development of sophisticated online resource generating and assessing tools and blue-chip technology are changing the virtual educational scenario. Flexible and blended learning are becoming the way of the scholastic world.
The two opposing poles of one axis, The Great Divide are the centralised system of education fostered by elite educational institutions with an esteemed reputation and the de-centralised networks of smaller groups or individuals which offer knowledge and skills acquisition under an overarching umbrella of educators who rely on altruistism and goodwill. The other axis delineates the dichotomy between the two aspect of education - teaching and learning on the one hand and assessments and accreditation, on the other.
The four scenarios represent the twists and turns that the future of education would take, influenced by the drivers mentioned above.
Hellenic Akademia represents the production of online educational resources of which only a small portion will be available to the general public. Like Plato’s Akademia in ancient Greece, the availability of resources will be controlled and restricted to only those who have the good fortune of being able to register for them or gain admission to these esteemed schools of education. The repository of well-prepared resources will be secured and well maintained. The medium of instruction will be English and English only. All resources will be in one place and easily accessible to those who register for them. One major brand-name business may own the repository and regulate the production and distribution of resources. It will be privately funded, but may win prime government funding as well. Thus, being able to focus on quality research and maintain blue-chip production mechanism. The costs of production will be limited and experts will be drawn to its shores. Efficient training will be offered to staff and popular and sought-after courses with well-outlined curriculum mechanics offered by the institution. The range will be limited, but specialized and the resources will not be easily available to the general masses.
Elitist Scholasticism will be the result of access to Hellenic Akademia. The students who study these courses will be able to achieve employment success very easily. They will be deemed highly accomplished and their credentials will be considered very reputed. These centralised awards will monopolize the educational system and all assessment and accreditation will be easily controlled and monitored. This would enhance the value and validity, the quality and credibility of the qualifications. The assessment system will be self-contained and administered under one figure head and so there will be less variation of credentials and fewer fluctuations of costs. Being locally managed, they will be easy to track and manage and so high standards of quality assurance will be maintained. The courses would include cutting-edge assessment packages and a single standard accreditation system. The down side of this will be that a limited number of credentials will be issued and sometimes the assessments may become so difficult that student drop-out rates and failures may be extensive. Moreover, the funding would be from by private entrepreneurs who may have vested interests and the entire assessment system may be monopolized by them.
With the growing popularity of easily accessible Open Educational Resources (OER) and mOOCs, a Gratuitous Repository will soon be available for anyone to study anything at anytime from anywhere, offered by anyone. The ideology “knowledge is free” will be widely promoted. Already an exhaustive list on vast variety of subjects and topics is available. Soon there will be an overwhelming abundance of free stuff and course shareware which will be easily accessible and mass unbundling of online education will be prevalent. Although most of the resources will be in English, free global translators will be freely available to enable speakers of other languages access the resources without having to learn English, first. There will be an increased value of knowledge accessing and skills development and soon peer to peer (p2p) collegiate will become very popular world-wide. This will create a generation of varied resources using cheap/free online resource development tools. Collaborative projects to produce suitable resources will provide an opportunity for experts to get together to provide quality resources. But, this fund of knowledge will depend greatly on benevolent sponsorship and well-defined partnerships which could be scarce. In addition, sometimes sub-standard productions and non-standard publications will make its way into the arena and the extensive lists of similar resources and uncontrolled duplication will need time-consuming browsing and culling.
De-centralized open assessment procedures and digital badges will highlight the liberal awarding of credentials and encourage Re-mediating assessments. Various forms of formal and informal accreditation will become popular and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Recognition of Current Competence (RCC) will be widely accepted. Liberalized accreditation will be global and unrestricted. It will include a wide range of assessment tasks and systems with many choices and varied options, promoting freedom and flexibility together with a mixing and matching subjects and skills. Collaborative assessing and award documentation would improve the quality assurance of the credentials which will be cheap and easy to acquire. There may be a wide use of assessment task generators giving a variance to the same or similar assessment tasks. There will be a vast increase in the awarding of credentials of competence. The focus may shift from knowledge acquisition to skills development and application of knowledge. There will be uncomplicated access, cheaper and easily attainable qualification offered by an umbrella of many anchor partner institutions and individuals of repute. On the flip side, a variance in accreditation standards may give rise to speculation in quality assurance and credibility. Uncorrelated assessment procedures and badly-composed tasks may add to the woes of the open accreditation system. There may be too many irrelevant and trivial assessments that would be unnecessary and a waste of time. The multiple assessments awarded globally may not be appropriately validated and may lack uniformity. RPL and RCC maybe loosely and liberally used.
Based on the several readings and video recording of educational experts these are the scenarios I finally decided for my matrix.