The future learners
by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village
The time has come for academic institutions to reflect on their one-size-fits-all model and to understand who the next generation of learners is and how they want to learn. Student segmentation is the key to being able to cater to new and very diverse educational expectations, says higher education expert Jeffrey J. Selingo, in a recent report by Pearson Education. Student segmentation is not a new concept but Selingo offers a fresh approach by suggesting to subdivide by motivation to learn. He draws on the findings of a survey conducted in collaboration with The Harris Poll, on 2.600 people aged 14-60, to identify five broad student groups, or “personas”. These range from the “traditional learners”, top notch students with a passion learning, to “career learners”, where the focus is on education as a means to an end, ie. jobs and careers, to “hobby learners”, older students for whom education is seen as a journey of learning rather than in terms of career, to “reluctant” and “skeptical” learners, who, for different reasons, give less value to education and are very price sensitive. For academic institutions to survive in the future they will need to better understand student needs and offer a wide variety of pathways.