First, mastery learning will become much more mainstream. It is an old idea that you shouldn't have to learn a more advanced topic until you have proficiency in a more basic one. As intuitive as that may seem, when mass public education was introduced about 200 years ago, it was not practical to allow every student to progress in a personalized way. Instead, students got pushed ahead even when gaps were identified in their learning. ("Got a "C" on that basic exponents exam, too bad. We now have to learn negative exponents.") That process caused students to accumulate gaps until it was debilitating in an upper-level class.
Now we have the technology to meet every student where they are and provide teachers with real-time data so that it is practical to do mastery learning in a normal sized classroom.
Today's high school and college diplomas are based more on how much time you spend in class rather than what you are actually capable of. This is why colleges and employers see so little information in traditional diplomas/transcripts and, instead, turn to things like standardized exams, peer assessment and portfolios of creative work.
I think that in 10 years, you will have globally recognized credentials that are independent of any individual academic institution. In order to achieve them, you need to prove skill competency, have great peer reviews, and have an impressive portfolio (I believe that you should have a portfolio regardless of what you want to do in life).
Alternative and Clearer Paths to Career
Today, graduates from even top universities are finding themselves underemployed. On the other side, employers in 21st century industries are complaining that they can't find enough talent. This is because of the disconnects between what colleges teach, what students actually learn and whether employers care (that assumes they have a reasonable read on what students have learned through traditional credentials).
In 10 years, this will be more more streamlined. A learner of any age should be able to direct their learning to specific career or education goals and the system should customize the learning and credentialing experience to optimize their outcomes. Employers would play a key role here as well. Here is a videofor a grant application where Khan Academy hopes to do this.
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