12285 ED: Designing Vibrant Learning Ecosystems for All Learners

06/13/2015 @ 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
The Orpheum A

Organizers: Jason Swanson, Katherine Prince, Andrea Saveri

Equity in education cannot be scaled; however, it is entirely possible to design for the emerging education system and have equity as a core component. Education is currently in the midst of an “era shift,” whereby it is moving away from our outmoded industrial-era education system to a broad learning ecosystem that has the potential to enable many right combinations based on learners’ needs. As this shift occurs, we have the opportunity to think critically about what system of education we want, begin the process of designing how the new learning ecosystem will reflect the needs and constraints unique to each of our communities, and work to ensure that each and every young person benefits from a vibrant local learning ecosystem.

There is a very real danger, however, that this emerging learning ecosystem might exist only for those learners whose families have the resources to supplement or customize their learning journeys. The expanded learning ecosystem could become an increasingly fractured landscape, leaving many learners without such resources falling behind in learning deserts.

KnowledgeWorks’ forthcoming “Building Vibrant Learning Ecosystems” paper builds off our previous strategic foresight work to imagine what the components of a vibrant learning ecosystem might look like. Recognizing that a truly equitable learning ecosystem requires a diversity of digital, blended, and place-based approaches reflecting particular geographies and individual learners’ needs, this foresight design project approaches possibilities for the new learning ecosystem using adaptive bottom-up design, as is commonly seen in ecology when new ecosystems form, rather than the top-down approach of the old industrial model. The project also considers what components of the future learning ecosystem might best concentrate, fragment, or facilitate connections so that stakeholders’ collective efforts are maximizing possibilities for all young people, in effect creating equitable, robust, and connected pathways for all learners regardless of their location.

In bringing insights from this project to life, this session will explore ways in which a vibrant learning ecosystem might be accessible to all learners. Session participants will explore how trends shaping the future of learning might intersect with the unique needs and constraints of various local learning geographies to create new possibilities for personalizing learning for and with all young people. Participants will also use future-oriented design principles to imagine their ideal future learning ecosystems in relation to a framework for considering future learning ecosystem components. Lastly, participants will consider what implications their ideal learning ecosystems might have for education today.

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