By Scott Kirsner
Michael Horn, co-author of the book “Disrupting Class” and a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, says there is enormous potential in combining various forms of learning modes with on-the-job apprenticeships. He cites models like the Quantic School of Business, a “mobile-first” executive MBA, and the Minerva Project, a San Francisco startup focused on new kinds of online learning, as well as ways that employers such as Amazon Web Services and Walmart have created training programs for in-demand workers. “You might try models where you’re learning for three years, and for one year you’re getting credit for an apprenticeship,” says Horn, or companies that would hire people full-time while they continue their learning.
As one example, he cites Reach University, part of Oxford Teachers College, where “you’re getting credit, and working in a classroom as you’re earning your degree.” (Reach says the average student pays $900 a year as they work toward a bachelor’s degree, accruing no student debt.)
“We don’t create enough new entrants in higher ed who can rethink the model,” Horn says. “I wonder if we can change the conversation here, and make it not just about the crown jewels of Massachusetts,” but more about making degrees more accessible to a broad range of students.