IFTF + You
Future of Learning
From Educational Institutions to Learning Flows
About the Program
New technologies, work patterns, and practices are disrupting how we learn, where we learn, and what we need to learn. The definitions of teacher and student are becoming fluid, and education itself is moving out of episodic experiences in traditional institutions and their classrooms, into learning flows that course through our daily lives. People of all ages dip in and out of these flows, engaging in continuous learning channels that are contextually relevant and always available. Opportunities and resources for learners are no longer scarce but abundant; they are pervasive rather than localized. Such a transformation calls on educational institutions, learners, and our society as a whole to challenge the assumptions, structures, and principles that have worked thus far.
Related Info + Projects
Extreme Learners Research Agenda
There is a cohort of “extreme learners” who are the trailblazers of the new learning landscape. For them, it’s not about a particular degree—the process is the product. Extreme learners seek out mentors both online and off who can guide them, helping locate and curate wisdom and resources. They are the people who join community laboratories and hackerspaces where they can get their hands dirty in ways not possible inside traditional lecture halls. They design their own curricula from the massive open online course offerings of top universities. They apply novel feedback mechanisms and the lessons of neuroscience to optimize their learning experiences. Extreme learners have learned how to learn.
Last summer, IFTF convened a small group of these learners to begin to understand their lives, their motivations, the resources they use, and their communities. Results and responses were eye-opening and we created a website—extremelearners.iftf.org—to share their stories. In the year ahead, we will dive deeper into their world. We will conduct ethnographies of a wide range of extreme learners to understand their relationships, activities, tools, and inspirations. And we will develop insights that policymakers, learners, innovators, teachers, and administrators can use to help prepare for the future.
Extreme learners are currently at the fringes of the educational landscape. But they are illuminating the path for the rest of us. What they do, and how they do it, will challenge and reshape the future of education. Join us as we explore the future of learning and help create a new ecology of learning in which everyone can be an extreme learner.
- Ecologies of Extreme Learning Map—a synthesis of our ethnographic research on this cohort at the avant-garde of education
- Extreme Learner Profiles— a summary of tools, resources, pathways, and practices each of the learners is using to share their learning journey
- Extreme Learning Summit—based on the success of our previous learning workshops, we’ll meet with an array of extreme learners, share innovative approaches and projects, and engage in a Foresight to Insight to Action exercise to convert future visions into actionable strategies
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How can you use foresight to gain insights that will enable you to make better, more impactful decisions today? Building on ideas from our Future of Learning research, IFTF has developed a provocative workshop process that will help you design and prototype new impactful offerings for the coming decade. Our Learning Pathways Workshop will immerse your organization in the future and help you build new pathways toward greater resilience and innovation.
Our forecasting and facilitation can help your organization:
- Think broadly to gain an “outside-in” perspective on long-term forces and trends shaping the future
- Anticipate opportunities for new impact and service offerings
- Gain agile positioning by questioning your assumptions and systematically considering alternative futures
- Jump-start strategic thinking by immersing you in future possibilities and identifying flexible long-term actions
- Prototype new offerings that leverage your expertise while aligning with the future
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Socialstructing Higher Education
In this short digital story, IFTF considers one set of possibilities for the future of education based on current signals and trends.
In the Media
- KQED explores what makes someone an ‘Extreme Learner’
- Watch Marina Gorbis' webinar on the Future of Education with Fast Company's Futurist Forum.
- Marina Gorbis' article, "The Future of Education Eliminates the Classroom, Because the World is Your Class" featured in both Fast Company Co.Exist and Kurzweil AI