Happy New Year! We’re embarking on another new and exciting year in higher education. Lots of interesting developments are happening in our space but, without question, affordability and value will be a main focus. Education predictions abound!

At Cengage, we’re hoping to drive change with new business models, such as our Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind digital subscription which gives students access to all of our digital higher ed materials for $119.99/semester.

But there are a lot of other interesting things happening in higher ed today. We asked Cengage leaders to share their thoughts for 2018 on everything from providing value in higher ed to the skills gap, artificial intelligence and more.

What Are Your Education Predictions for 2018?

Value of Higher Ed Michael Hansen, Cengage CEO

“Pressure to cut costs and make higher education more affordable is coming from all sides–parents, students and voters. In addition, there is growing skepticism in this country surrounding the value of higher education. Students need to know they’re getting something worthwhile for the money they spend–and that’s results. In 2018, we are going to see institutions and their partners introduce new and innovative ways to improve outcomes and affordability for all students.”
— Michael Hansen, CEO, Cengage 


Skills GapJonathan Lau, Cengage SVP Skills

“The industry will rally to find innovative and scalable ways to close the middle skills gap by bringing together stakeholders from employers to education providers and leveraging the power of technology. For example, at Cengage, we are tightening the connection between our learners and employers. We’re helping people better understand potential jobs available to them and the education they need to fill any skills gaps they may have in order to get them into the workforce as fast as possible.”
Jonathan Lau, Senior Vice President of Skills, Cengage


Immersive Learning Matt Seeley, Cengage Product Director, Career Education

“Employer demand for career-ready candidates will drive the continued growth of immersive learning experiences like virtual and augmented reality to provide real world practice at scale. This will be helped by continued decline in hardware costs and software that enables these experiences on devices readily available like the phone. Markets that could benefit from the scaling of augmented or virtual reality include training for the skilled building trades, where labor demands are high, especially in the wake of this past hurricane season.”
Matt Seeley, Product Director, Career Education, Cengage


Artificial Intelligence Erin Joyner, SVP Higher Ed Product, Content and Market Development

“Artificial intelligence (AI) has a lot of potential in higher education, but students will not come to class to find their professor has been replaced by a robot. We predict AI will help instructors reach more students in a variety of ways, from providing more precise diagnosis and remediation for struggling students to introducing basic concepts to unlock class time for deeper exploration and more. But, it will never replace the qualitative assessment a person/instructor brings to working with students and assessing their understanding of topics.”
— Erin Joyner, Senior Vice President, Higher Ed Product, Content and Market Development, Cengage

Electronic Academic RecordsGeorge Moore, CTO, Cengage Learning

“As technology in the classroom becomes the rule rather than the exception, students will increasingly take ownership over their academic footprint. They will be empowered by easy access to information that was once gated by registrar offices, technology companies and complex information systems. Data will feed a digital ledger of various touch points throughout a student’s academic career. Just as an electronic medical record helps provide better treatment, diagnosis and overall care, this electronic academic record will inform future education decisions students make. Empowered students will put pressure on all aspects of the education ecosystem to lower costs, while improving outcomes and effectiveness.”
— George Moore, Chief Technology Officer, Cengage

Credentialing Deb Everhart, VP of Design and Innovation, Learning Objects

“I predict there will be increased competition among educational institutions vying to offer innovative credentials with market value. As it gets harder to attract and retain students who are willing and able to pursue a 2- or 4-year degree, institutions will offer more certificates, badges, micro-credentials and other non-traditional credentials that provide faster, more targeted results. Adult learners in particular will be attracted to these credentials as ways to get the education they need more efficiently for job or career advancement. Learners, employers, government and policy officials, and educational leaders will be asking challenging questions about the value and relevance of both traditional and non-traditional credentials. All stakeholders need to work together to make credentials more transparent, modular, portable, relevant, valid and equitable.”
— Deborah Everhart, Ph.D., Vice President of Design and Innovation at Learning Objects, a Cengage company


Competency-Based Education Jon Mott, Chief Learning Officer, Learning Objects

“I predict that both traditional and non-traditional institutions will begin offering a more diverse set of programs and post-secondary credentials. As the employment marketplace demands more specific, competency-related data about candidates, program providers will adjust to make more specific, concrete assertions about what their graduates know and can do. For institutions that embrace these new kinds of offerings, this will require changes on several fronts: cultural change around the role of administrators and faculty members, new approaches to curriculum design, assessment, analytics and evaluation, and the implementation of standards-based technologies for tracking and credentialing learner achievements.”
—Jon Mott, Ph.D, Chief Learning Officer at Learning Objects, a Cengage company


So what are your predictions for 2018? Share them below!