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Friday, May 20, 2011

What has Changed 02 - New Masters Programs Have Gotten Great, Virtual, and Disintermediating

If you completed college, no employer cares about high school. Likewise, if you completed a Masters programs, no employer cares about college.

A new generation of Masters-granting institutions (increasingly virtual, increasingly using cutting edge and innovative technology, with students of all ages, and both practical and theoretical) are disintermediating the lock-step and self-justifying traditional educational model that is prevalent today (Go to first grade in order to prepare for second grade. Go to high school in order to prepare for college.).

While many commentators inaccurately associate any new programs with some of the first generation online diploma-mills, these new Masters programs are instead role-modeled by such award-winning institutions as:
These programs, so different from each other, are consistently ranked better than 95% of their traditional peers. They are run by leaders who care passionately about their education mission, rather than by administrators. Meanwhile, many traditional educational institutions are still trying to figure out if they should attack them head-on or emulate them completely.

The practical and psychological impact on most students is still nascent. But K-12 schools are focused on delivering standardized content; undergraduate colleges enjoy having the aura of inevitability and prestige while passing the challenge of being useful onto graduate schools. Both are courting irrelevancy. And in the next decade, the role of this dynamic Masters segment "end game" in freeing up children from the marketing pitch of "the-one-path-to-success" will be utterly transformational.

To some, it may seem odd that the schools that are the most virtual, new, diversely attended, competitive, relevant, accountable to the outside world, and optional are the best. To me, this seems inevitable.

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