Let’s look ahead to possibilities for learning in 2025 and how museums might contribute to creating resilient learning ecosystems that help communities, individuals, and the education sector adapt to changing needs. What if…
…Public funding for community-wide learning venues such as museums, libraries, and parks were viewed as being an integral part of the investment in public education?
…The health of an education organization or system were measured by the strength of its relationships with varied partners?
Such changes could emerge from moving toward viewing learning institutions, including museums, as standalone structures, to treating them as interconnected contributors to flexible value webs comprised of many kinds of organizations and resources. In a vibrant learning grid or ecosystem, learners could move smoothly across such value webs, accessing the experiences and resources they needed when and in ways that made sense for them. And learning ecosystems would have greater resilience in navigating system shocks that are likely to result as people navigate increasingly volatile conditions resulting from the changing nature of work, growing income disparity, and increasing environmental volatility.
KnowledgeWorks’ forthcoming forecast, The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code, explores such possibilities for education in 2025 and invites each of us to consider what role we might play in shaping the future of learning. I think that museums could be critical in fostering new approaches to making learning ecosystems vibrant for all young people, both by bringing more learners to their buildings in more flexible ways and by surfacing their resources for use in other places.
Think way beyond traditional field trips or even today’s movement toward sharing museum assets as open education resources or creating city-wide networks of extended learning opportunities. Think custom learning journeys that learners and their families craft with learning pathway designers and which many kinds of learning journey mentors help learners carry out. Think pop-up reality productions that immerse young people in learning, if only for a brief time. Think fluid school structures based around networks and relationships instead of fixed places. Think community-wide competency maps that surface the resources available to support learning and help people understand how and when they might be used.
Some moves are already afoot to foster broadly defined, interconnected learning ecosystems. For example: