Degrees vs. Micro-Credentials: Two VCs Slug It Out

Christopher Nyren: Founder of Educelerate Inc. @cnyren
Ryan Craig – University Ventures – author: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education 
Matthew Greenfield: Managing Partner at Rethink Education
Notes from the session at SXSWEDU.
3 very different investing styles.
Ryan Craig has invested in higher education and the money has shifted from the University to the service providers like (2U, Compass Embanet, Academic Partnerships).  Craig’s investment house owns a US Medical School, investor in University Now which owns Patton University (WASC Accredited).
Matthew Greenfield: Invested in 2U who raised 94M – The A round investors made 6x, has fund participated in Smarterer – Competency Based Assessment – 6.4x in one year.  Being used by HR offices to measure knowledge of their employees and future employees.
Pluralsight wants to become a platform to award micro-credentials.
Investor in Civitas: Great company – growing at an incredible rate.
Is working to broker a conversation with a workforce analytics company and Civitas. So that the job prospects can be tied back to the data that Civitas already has in place.  Helping to identify the courses that are needed to be able to improve the job prospects.
Ryan Craig: LinkedIn is the first competency platform that showcases what each person knows and can do.
“It is a terrible one” – Matthew
Ryan: Yes, but they recently bought and that is going to be a game changer.  Degrees remain the coin of the realm and a screening device for employers.  However, once you have the competencies for the careers then we can match them.  More likely a prescribed path where the algorithms will be able to tell you which competency you need in order to get the next job (cost efficient path).  The role of a traditional university in that space will change due to the fact that the platforms that can do the matching will provide more value to industry in the future.
Degree Qualifications Profile at Lumina:
Everything is on the table with regard to Higher Education.
We are talking about the 95% that don’t go to Harvard or Yale or the like.  The real question is timing. The change will come in 10 years.  The first big changes will be in IT where we are already seeing these changes.
The job is the credential is the advice of Schwartz at General Assembly – we disagree.
We believe that employers will begin to accept these alternative credentials and matching over the next several years. Employers will need to rank or rate the employees back into the system so that the system will continue to evolve: think UBER 
When was the last time either of your organizations hired a MOOC proficient person??  Or are we still waiting for a credentialing platform or badge platform??
HigherEd will have a lot more diverse business models than they have today: Paid program with no guaranteed outcome but there may be some new model of paid/free with outcomes either guaranteed or not.
Companies are used to paying the recruiters 30% of a first year salary that may be more than the degree. They are going to change where they put that money.
How do we pass/articulate micro-credentials into the Degree: Algorithm matching for prior learning assessment. You have to see the work that the badges mean like a portfolio
Udacity is in the right space and Sebastian Thrun has the right idea.
Where there is a shortage of employees there will be a need to adopt new strategies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *