Future of Student Needs
CONTENT POWERED BY STUDENTS

FUTURE

OF STUDENT NEEDS

INNOVATIVE RESPONSES TO EMERGING STUDENT NEEDS
Point of View
STUDENT POINT of VIEW
There is so much focus on the future of higher education from the institution's point of view, but we believe the student’s perspective should drive the conversation.
Disruption
DISRUPTION
Much of the writing about the future of higher ed assumes continuity in the future—what we call the “baseline future.” We explored how the continuity of the baseline future could be disrupted.
Broadened Context
BROADENED CONTEXT
Many works that do consider students only consider them in school, not in the context of their overall lives. Our view of the future goes beyond time in school, and looks at student life as a whole.
DEFINING the
STUDENT DOMAIN

Using the Houston Foresight Program's "Framework Foresight" approach, we defined the aspects of student life to be explored. Defining this domain allows us to zoom in on emerging student needs as they relate to a student's life as a whole. We've sorted student life into six categories:

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THE BASELINE vs
ALTERNATIVE FUTURE

So, what would the future look like if our present trends continued? Our baseline future explores these possibilities and outcomes. Imagine that current major plans are fulfilled, and there are no major surprises. But what's the alternative? The alternative future explores what might happen if—or one might say when—the baseline breaks down and is disrupted.

Click on the individual categories to explore these differences.
WORKING Future job market and related needs; changes in how work is done.
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WORKING
BASELINE:
THE SUPER-SKILLED, MESSY MIDDLE, AND WARM BODIES

The hollowing out of middle-class occupations, and growth only at the top and bottom of the wage scale.

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ALTERNATIVE:
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Students must be well-prepared, as they face an ultra-competitive job market influenced by the spread of AI and automation.

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LIVING Changes in consumption patterns, health, housing, key changes in routine daily life.
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LIVING
BASELINE:
EASY IS GOOD

Lifestyle decisions are made to minimize effort, time, and commitment through convenience, smart technology, and immediate solutions where available.

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ALTERNATIVE:
THE "OURS" ECONOMY: THE RISE OF COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION

People use technology to enhance the quality of their lives, in particular to enable greater sharing and collaboration, such as forming communities to address their needs, sharing live spaces, finding group investment opportunities, and sharing consumer products.

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LEARNING How students might learn and acquire information and skills, whether in our outside an institutional setting.
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LEARNING
BASELINE:
INSITUTIONS UNDER PRESSURE

Non-traditional approaches to satisfying learning needs are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

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ALTERNATIVE:
STUDENT CENTRIC

A balance-of-power transition away from traditional models of one-size-fits-all classroom instructor optimized for institutional goals gives way to a student-centric approach to learning.

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PLAYING Approaches to leisure and recreation, and how they're changing.
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PLAYING
BASELINE:
SCHEDULED PLAY

Play is increasingly purpose-driven, fulfilling some overt or implicit agenda.

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ALTERNATIVE:
IT'S ALL PLAY

Gamification infiltrates so deeply into routine activities that it raises questions about the meaning of play when "everything" is a game.

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PARTICIPATING Participation in civic life, and what it means to be a citizen of the future.
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PARTICIPATING
BASELINE:
HACKER NATION

An influential "hacktivist" movement that promotes greater transparency of government emerges in opposition to "the system."

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ALTERNATIVE:
NATIONCRAFT: REBUILDING GOVERNANCE

Hacktivism triggers a movement that uses Big Data to provide more effective direct citizen participation in governance.

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CONNECTING Changes in real and virtual communication.
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CONNECTING
BASELINE:
MORE WAYS TO CONNECT

Technology is enabling a wider range of options for connecting and integrating into all aspects of human connections and relationships.

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ALTERNATIVE:
FROM CONNECTION TO IMMERSION

Distinctions between virtual and f2f are disappearing as the integration of two is well underway.

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THE EMERGING NEEDS

After generating more than 300 needs, we put them through several rounds of combining, modifying and clustering. We separated out historical and current needs and focused on the future, in order to arrive at this final set of nine emerging student needs.

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RE-SKILLING
Students need to know what skills they will need and how to master them.LEARN MORE »
MENTORING
Students need personalized guidance on what to do next and on other life lessons.LEARN MORE »
CONTINUOUS AND REAL-TIME FEEDBACK
Students need to know how they are doing so they can continuously improve in order to "keep up" and move forward.LEARN MORE »
FRAMEWORKS
Students need to know what to do in various situations, particularly novel ones.LEARN MORE »
CREDENTIALS
Students need to document knowledge, skills and experiences acquired.LEARN MORE »
EXPERIENCES
Students need contact with people and the world that teach by doing.LEARN MORE »
PERSONALIZED INSTRUCTION
Students need the means to acquire relevant knowledge and skills customized to their individual style.LEARN MORE »
SPACES, TOOLS, AND TEMPLATES
Students need physical and virtual supportive environments and tools for pursuing and acquiring knowledge and skills.LEARN MORE »
DIFFERENTIATION
Students need to find and communicate their personal value proposition that distinguishes "who they are."LEARN MORE »