Redefining the Education User Journey—from Module-Based to Cradle-to-Grave

October 2015, by Awaken Group

What might the future of education look like in 2030? How can we better prepare for it?

Recently we hosted our Education Futures 2030 Salon event at our new office at Net Singapore. We invited 13 domain experts with unique perspectives and experiences to join our conversation on the future of education. Together, we shared an engaging, insightful and stimulating dialogue around a redefined education user journey that integrates education into a person’s life from pre-birth to retirement years.

share-futures-Photo 30-9-15 7 52 55 pm

Here’s what the redefined education user journey may look like in 2030:

Pre-birth: What if we could extend the education system to pre-birth years?

Imagine a race to provide the best education for your child in the future. Only instead of tuition and enrichment class in pre-school, you are competing to get your child genetically modified to have enhanced learning aptitudes. $1500 for better memory, $1000 for sharper vision, how might the current education system be affected by pre-birth technologies?

With science advancements in genome editing technology like CRISPR-Cas9, DNA printing and continued human genome modification research, we may actually be able to genetically design babies before they are born in as early as a decade from now. Imagine being able to modify your child to avoid carrying on genetic diseases or to have desirable traits like stronger bones or enhanced memory – the possibilities are endless. While experts agree that human design modification will happen one day– the moral and ethical debate still remains. Science advancements in DNA editing make human design modification in the next 15 years a serious reality to be considered. This technology can completely transform the future of special needs education, disrupt the tuitioning market, and may even create a new stream for designer babies.

Formative Education: What might the future of formal education look like?  

Imagine being able to select where you want to learn every week: at home, in school, in a co-learning space, or somewhere else. Or having the power to choose your own teachers in high school, to discuss your learning aspirations with a learning experience manager or even to decide how you want to learn a course like geography. What about the option to take weeks and months away from school to learn in the workplace for a school credit as early as age 12! How might the future of formal education change with more diverse learning options and greater student power?

The future of a person’s formative education years (kindergarten to post-secondary education) will change to be more adaptive, collaborative, and interactive. Who, what, when, where, why and how people will teach and learn will all shift to be more democratized. AltSchool in San Francisco and the Green School in Bali are pioneering transformative learning pedagogies that give primary school students control of their own learning journey. Xingwei College in Shanghai is giving students the power to hire and fire their own teachers. Ecole 42 in Paris has no teachers, no textbooks, no MOOCs, and no tuition and is more competitive to get into than Harvard for programmers. Camp Google takes your kids to camp in the comfort of their own bedroom with a 4 week immersive online camp. The future of formal education will be more democratized and diverse in choice.

Adult Learning: How might life education and human augmentation change learning as an adult?

Imagine that it is 2030 and you are pressured to take a course that teaches you how to navigate your life – marriage, children, retirement, how to be a good person, etc. In addition, your alma mater and government have informed you that your skillsets will be obsolete in 3 years and that you will need to learn new ones soon. To avoid having to learn new languages all the time, you’ve decided to invest in NuTechName – a technology that translates languages directly in your ear as you speak to someone. What is the potential future for adult learning given greater ambiguity and complexity through augmentation technologies? What would it be like in a future where there are more questions on life’s choices than answers?

While formative education can shift to become more democratized, adult learning can become more formalized. Moral/philosophical based schools like the School of Life in London and Institute for Societal Leadership in Singapore are signals of education that value morality, purpose, and character. Among these possibilities, the most exciting part of adult learning in the future is how human augmentation technologies may shape what we will need to learn. Google Glass is already launching technologies that allow you to see how other people feel so you can learn to understand other people’s emotions better. Skype is now able to translate languages in real time so you don’t need to learn a new language. Cerego is an app that tailors your learning to memory science so you can retain information better. Adult learning will be greatly shaped by human augmentation technologies. Technology advancements as such may simplify and at the same time, increase your learning choices in the future. With a potential exponential increase in ambiguity and complexity, this may push adults to go back to the basics of morality, character and life.

Would you like to dialogue with us on how we can better prepare for the changes ahead in education? Would you like to learn more about the Future of Education 2030 or find out how you can make sense of your domain’s future?

Email us at We’ll be happy to chat with you.


Learn more about our AWAKENFutures Work:

Exploring the Future of L&D (Learning & Development Futures)