Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 Education Predications

Happy New Year everyone! God's blessings to all of you in 2016!

As we move into the new calendar year I have done a bit of reflection on what I have seen in education in 2015 and created a list of predictions for 2016. My list was motivated by thoughts shared by various education leaders in this post on the Getting Smart blog, and thought it might be helpful to share with other educators what I am seeing as well as a starting point for thoughts, discussions, and innovations.

To that end, here are some of the trends in learning and education that I expect to see in 2016:

1. Greater movement toward the personalization of learning. Students, parents, and educators are increasingly recognizing that the Industrial Age model of "one-size-fits-all" education does not serve our students and society well. Therefore, I expect to see greater pressure from parents for schools to address the uniqueness of their child through the learning process and greater experimentation for schools in working with project-based and blended learning models. This is a trend I personally welcome since I believe this fits well with Christian theology. See my previous post on this topic for more information.

2. Increased pressure placed on higher education to justify their current educational models and existence. The outcry for this has already started, but our communities are increasingly recognizing that college attendance is not always mandatory for future success, that collegiate curricula is not automatically in alignment with skills needed in the world of work, and that the cost/benefit ratio has swung to benefit the university more than the student. Look for higher education institutions to put much more effort into convincing the public of the ongoing value of their services.

3. Lutheran schools will be forced to look at new leadership models. This prediction is specifically for the educational system in which I work, but the principles at play here may also impact systems. An oft-quoted statistic is that 60% of Lutheran school administrators will be retiring within 5 years. This means that there will be a great number of leadership positions that need to be filled. However, fewer younger candidates are willing to look at filling these roles since the principal role in many schools has been loaded with so many additional expectations over the past decade and a half (finance, marketing, technology, etc., in addition to educational leadership) that the role is unhealthy for many people. I expect to see Lutheran schools adapt by building leadership teams in new ways, taking advantage of the human gifts that God has given each school in new ways, sharing the blessings and burdens in new models. This type of leadership team might also allow advancement possibilities for younger educators that are different from the traditional principal role, which would help retain young talent in the Lutheran system.

4. Improved collaboration between schools, parents, students, and the community at large. Unique partnerships and relationships will be formed in surprising ways between various stakeholders in education to provide a greater variety of educational opportunities for students. This prediction also connects with the greater personalization of learning. Successful schools will need to be much more active and intentional in forging these collaborative efforts.

5. Google will build upon its strengths as a technological solution for many education situations. Chromebooks will become even more popular with schools and students because of their ease of use, simple updating, longer battery life, and low price point. In addition, Google Classroom, which keeps adding new features, will become a leading tool for blended and personalized learning opportunities.

So there you have it -- my five fearless predictions for education in 2016. Do you agree or disagree with these ideas? What do you see happening in 2016? Share your thoughts and ideas as a comment to this post.


  1. Dave, you are right on. I have evaluated technology for students and feel that Chromebooks and Google Applications seamlessly fit into the educational model for the future...the cost is right, too. Additionally, we are trying to introduce a new administrative model (used already by some) that would include Triad leadership: Pastor, Academic Principal and Administrative Coordinator which include those items you mentioned as burdening the Principal--finance, technology and personnel. This would include marketing, accreditation project management, grant management, etc. Should be interesting to see all those willing to take a chance towards innovative methods of educating. "Change" will be the hardest obstacle to overcome.

    1. From Donna Muller... my profile did not come through.

  2. Wow, Excellent post. Its really beautiful.Thanks for your nice post.
    Alternative Education, Personalized Learning

  3. Great stuff as always, Dave. You continue to quantify the TONS of reading and research that we all know you do into simple yet profound takeaways- thanks for these well-informed, accurate insights.