In 1965, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel distilled his thinking about the future of integrated circuits into a “law”. Moore observed that the number of transistors on each circuit...
proposes a fascinating analysis of the rate of historic change in higher education then proposes a 'Moore's Law' for the education sector:
".....A “Moore’s Law” for education
Based on this data, here is an “observed” law that seems to broadly fit most of the facts:
Each doubling of educational capacity takes 40% less time.
If we apply this “coefficient of change” to our current cycle, it would appear that MOOCs will run their course for about 22 years (40% of the 36 years it took for the last platform to be introduced). At that time we’ll see the dawn of a new educational platform that can enroll 4 million people.
Of course every law has its limitations. Even Moore’s law for integrated circuits is expected to need amending soon. Moore observed the integrated circuit trend from 1958 to 1965 and predicted it would hold true for the next ten years. In fact it has held true through 2012. But doubling any number an infinite number of times is ultimately going to challenge the laws of physics. It’s expected that perhaps the law will soon be modified to predict that a doubling of transistors on each integrated circuit will now takethree years instead of two.
In education, we needed four centuries of observations to distill a rule. Moore’s foundational observations were based on real developments in the 7 years prior to his forecast – i.e. a period much closer to the then current reality than our 400 year look back.
If we only looked back 7 years, we’d see some major changes outside of education:The introduction of smartphones, tablets and other connected devicesThe rise of social networkingMore than 1.7B additional people getting connected to the internet (now connecting 34% of the world’s population)Huge leaps in neuroscience that may someday lead to more effective approaches to teaching and learning.
These are just a few of the changes that are likely effecting educational models today and can’t be ignored!
Given this current pace of change and innovation, I’m going to take a wild guess and suggest that our “Moore’s Law” of educational innovation will soon need to be modified. I have a funny feeling that Coursera will claim 4 million students by the end of 2013 – effectively doubling capacity in 97% less time than it took the previous iteration.
Maybe that’s our new law…"