Apr 4, 2013

Choice Produces Stratification

A constant theme of virtually any discussion I have about the strategic future of education is the role of technology. Key issues inside this theme include the quality of future delivery of education, access and the range of audiences, and the decreased cost – and revenue – of an educational platform favoring delivery through technology. There are some folks in the discussion who believe that technology is the panacea that will kill the residential college and the role of independent schools.

The more I grapple with this issue I come to the conclusion that the future if education is a stratification of choices. Just like any other commodity – cars, phones, or hotels – there will be different price points, quality of delivery, and client service levels. MOOC’s may play a role in the introduction of an institution to a consumer, but I don’t think they will provide the whole consumer process. The end state will be more access to differing levels of education – access points will be diverse and far-ranging – and the key will be for schools and colleges to determine what space they want to play.

Sure, the times they are a changing. But, haven’t we seen these trends in other industries. I don’t think residential colleges will go by the wayside like the role if travel agents. They are far too important to the mainstream of Americana. But, they will have to adapt and address pricing in this context. It is an interesting time in the world of education. We have much to look forward to and much to learn along the way.

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