How We Will Learn
Peter J. Denning
At the close of the 20th century, higher education is facing a series of strong, sometimes contradictory pressures which will transform the two major missions of the university, teaching and research. On the teaching side, these pressures will be resolved by a new distinction between knowledge and information, between "knowing how" and "knowing about". This change will be accompanied by a strong alignment of graduate educational offerings with the needs and interests of working professionals,
... th a special emphasis on certifying competence in selected areas. This distinction will also foster a new commitment to offering broader perspectives that enable people to deal with complexity and uncertainty, act with wisdom, build powerful social relationships, and practice the skills of entrepreneurship. Digital media and Internet communications will transform learning practices from the sequential classroom curriculum to nonlinear hyperlearning environments. A new kind of teacher will emerge --the teacher who is a course manager and a coach rather than an information transmitter. Private for-profit organizations will offer educational services, especially brokerage services, often in competition with the universities; some universities will disappear because they cannot adapt. On the research side, a new social contract will be struck among universities, business, and government. University research will take on new roles. The two most notable will be partnerships with companies in applied research, and research that leads to greater learning, to distinguishing the dross from the essential in all the information offered to us. Research will not wither for lack of funding, for universities will become entrepreneurial in finding sponsors. These new alignments will bring a new spirit of freedom and entrepreneurship that will kindle a Renaissance of higher education. The Renaissance will eventually spread to high school and secondary education.