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There's No Easy Way to Be Free

IMS Global CEO Rob AbelRob Abel, Ed.D. | March 2019

"There's no easy way to be free"—The Who

To me, the best thing about an organization like IMS Global Learning Consortium is that it is made up of leaders who are willing to do the hard work of creating the connection fabric that will enable the next generation of education. Wow—that was a mouthful—so let me break it down.
 
Whether we’re talking the USA or other parts of the world, the educational systems of today were codified roughly 100-150 years ago in a quest to create an efficient, effective, and trustworthy solution to the requirements generated by the challenge of the transition to the industrial age. Only future history will bear this out, but I believe that we (society) are on the precipice of (some would say finally!) enabling the foundation for a significantly more personalized, but yet still efficient, effective, and trustworthy, educational system.
 
In IMS I think we not only share this vision but are rolling up our sleeves and working together on some of the key enabling components. As Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” While of course it is very important to hold ourselves to a much higher bar than has historically been the case around “standards” in the educational sector—namely zero-cost, zero-time integrations enabling substantially better faculty and student experiences—it is just as important to be enabling the key dimensions of the next generation educational fabric.
 
Through the organic leadership of the IMS members we continue to focus on these five evolving areas that need to be different in order to create the next generation:
  1. Adaptive curriculum: More effective, more efficient, more connected to life purpose.
  2. Integrated assessment: Assessment that aids talent development and student success rather than as a summative sorting mechanism.
  3. Advancement in educational delivery: Learning platforms and environments that provide the foundation for better faculty and student experiences.
  4. Effective educational credentials: This needs a better “name”—but the bottom line is that educational credentials based on the Carnegie Unit—as successful as they have been as a trust mechanism—are far too limited.
  5. Analytics for improvement: A scalable foundation for and use of data that helps students succeed and institutions improve.
I’m not sure if I/we have these categories completely right or what else is missing. But I wanted to thank you—the IMS members—for shaping them and doing the hard work of making them become a reality!
 
I am hoping to share my views on this evolution—views that have come primarily from the IMS member work – in my opening talk at this year’s Learning Impact event in San Diego, May 20-23. Hope to see you there!