Education is being unbundled. This is more than a fad.
The Instructor – Schools like Western Governor’s University have, in some ways unbundled the traditional idea of a faculty member. Instead, they have roles like coaches and mentors. It is not the “instructor” that is important but the roles fulfilled by a good instructor. With the move to unbundle, those roles can be divided among a variety of people.
Course Design – In many online programs, the traditional lone range instructor who designs and teaches a course is replaced by team-based approaches to course design where content experts, instructional designers, graphic designers and others come together to collectively design and develop courses that may be taught by someone who was not even involved with the original design.
Courses – Yet others are unbundling courses into distinct modules or badges that verify student mastery of a specific concept.
The College Experience – College education is being unbundled as courses are offered in a myriad of formats; online, dual credit high school courses, off-campus sites, intensive summer sessions, and more. As a result, more than ever, students are able to unbundle pursuit of an undergraduate degree from the rest of a traditional undergraduate college experience.
Tuition and Fees – We also see the unbundling of tuition as distance learning students challenge the idea of being charged for on-campus activities that have no impact upon them.
Learning Plans – Even as we see such growing unbundling, students are able to self-design, customize, and self-blend their learning (whether it be high school, undergraduate, graduate, or non-degree) in ways that meet their needs and interests. This may involve blended courses from multiple Universities and modalities.
Many formal educational programs still do not allow such unbundling and self-blending, but many others have fully embraced these massive experiments in customized learning.