Higher education is just the latest in a long line of labor-intensive industries with enormous fixed costs that now faces competition from new technologies and new far more efficient systemic processes.
There is a revolution underway in education being driven by digital technology. Like all technologically fueled upheavals, this revolution requires creative destruction of the current industry, which is resisting the revolution even as it attempts to embrace the parts that might preserve the status quo.
This is an old story: Huge labor-intensive industries with enormous fixed costs face competition from new technologies and new systemic processes. Those earning a living within the old industries resist the destruction of the institutions and cost structures that have supported them, but resistance is futile, for the new technologies and processes are faster, better, and cheaper, often by an order of magnitude.
Though the entire spectrum of education from preschool to doctoral studies is being revolutionized, I will focus on higher education, which is already being creatively disrupted by digital technologies. All that is needed to fulfill the revolution is a parallel advance in systemic processes. ....