Area of Concern

Future of Learning

Learning is Earning 2026: the interactive forecasting game

In conjunction with SXSWedu on March 8-9, 2016, Institute for the Future and ACT Foundation joined forces with students, workers, and educators across the country for Learning is Earning 2026—a 36-hour interactive forecasting experience that re-imagines the future of learning—a new reality where, instead of going into debt for a college degree, students are paid to learn.

Jane McGonigal featured Learning is Earning 2026 in her SXSWedu Keynote, How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist, inviting everyone to contribute their forecasts around the future of learning and work to the game:

Jane McGonigal | SXSWedu Keynote | How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist

This interactive forecasting experience leveraged IFTF's Foresight Engine online platform and the future scenario was based on the Learning is Earning map (details below).

Immerse yourself in the world of 2026 ...

Players first immersed themselves in the world of 2026 by watching this short, provocative video illustrating a future where learning is earning, then people imagined their own stories of learning and earning in 2026.

Learning is Earning: the forecast map

As fast as the world of work is changing—with the growth of online jobs, on-demand platforms, and even automation of white-collar jobs—so, too, are our educational institutions speeding toward a perhaps unrecognizable future. IFTF partnered with ACT Foundation to map this changing landscape where working, learning, and living all merge to create a new national learning economy.

The map, called Learning Is Earning, takes us on a tour of the future forces shaping this new economy: learning commons, maker mindset, digital natives, coordination platforms, collaborative tools, human-machine symbiosis, and our decoding of the human brain. It then introduces us to the essential features of a world where learning and earning merge to create new kinds of lives. Four fictional working learners from the world of 2026 describe these lives as they tell us their stories of playing the game of life, of migrating platforms, and coming home to roost.

The impetus for the Learning Is Earning map is the realization that more and more of today’s students are, in fact, working learners, many of whom are weaving diverse experiences in learning and working throughout their entire careers. The map explores the very different resources they will be tapping a decade from now, from continuous learning flows and digital-physical blends to dynamic reputations and algorithmic matching. This future is already unfolding today in innovations across the country and indeed across the globe. The Learning Is Earning map shows us the signals of change that are creating these new pathways for success, life satisfaction, and ultimately a thriving future economy.

Learning is earning cover thumb

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