Layer 1

Future of Learning

December 10, 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Matthew Alex | Beyond Academics

Dr. Tawnya Means | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Summit Stage Recording

About the Speakers

Matthew Alex
Founder @ Beyond Academic

  • 30 plus years in higher ed
  • Has architected and designed Ivy League Institutions to the largest Community College systems in the country
  • Matthew's journey has taken him from a counselor at University of Illinois Chicago to managing that office to partnership in the top consulting firms.
  • Just prior to the pandemic, he launched his Higher Ed consulting firm, Beyond Academics, to help campuses reimagine the academic enterprise through the lens of Future of Work, Future of Learning, and Entrepreneurship.

Tawnya Means, PhD
Assistant Dean & Director, College of Business @ University of Nebraska

  • 20 Years in Higher Ed
  • Experienced Director of Teaching and Learning centers
  • Assistant Dean with a demonstrated history of strategy in the Higher Ed industry.
  • Tawnya works in the intersection of technology and pedagogy to create human-centered, experiential, and meaningful learning experiences with impact

The Story

When Status Quo Ends...

Fear | Uncomfortable | Incumbents | Loss of Control | Resistance

Opportunities start ...

Reimagine | Transform | Innovation | Empower | Renew

"Campuses have to stop and reflect on their status quo mindset.  The shifts coming out of the pandemic will not be unforgiving and will position campuses in the cross hairs of becoming obsolete."

Pandemic Mind Shift:

A mind shift is a change of focus and perception.

Accelerating the fourth industrial revolution at an exponential pace.

Disruption encourages innovation and gives us license to change

Being digital changes how we interact

The solutions of today will lead to the challenges of the future, we need to learn to be adaptable

"If anything, the pandemic has proven that we don’t have to teach in only one way, we can adjust and adapt to fit the changing needs of different students at different times in their lives." - Tawnya Means

Modern Learner

Modern Learners are digital natives who expect a frictionless campus experience. They demand a world class learning experience that is accessible no matter where they are. They are socially empowered through information and recognize value through feedback.


Consumer, Customer, Product

Multiple Learning Models (Poly synchronous)

Personalized and On-demand

Return on Investment

Five Value Drivers - Brand | Experience | Specialization | Convenience | Affordability

Modern Conversations

  • How can the traditional campus experience be enhanced or differentiated through the digital experience?
  • Can courses be tailored to fit student personality, preferences, and aptitudes?
  • How can we lead for our constituents instead of following what others are doing?
  • How can we help students understand that majors don't default them to careers but initiates them into a community / domain?
  • How can we help students develop the skill of learning to learn, teaching them how to think of thinking, and to incorporate reflection into all that they do?
  • How can we help students develop habits of mind through academic rigor that instills career trajectory?

Modern Educator

Modern Educators keep pace with the changing landscape of social, cultural, technological, demographic, and economic development. They constantly evolve themselves and have ability to understand the implications of these changes on learning outcomes.


Learning Chemistry (Visual, Auditory, Contextual, Experiential , Speaking)

Reimagining & Unbundling Content

Role of skill development through curricula

Digital Education Marketplace

Market Differentiation

Academic Rigor Preparation

Modern Conversations

  • Are you focused on Teaching (delivery) vs. Learning (student-centered experiences)?
  • How do you balance technology and pedagogy to offer digital learning experiences that differentiate your course and curriculum with the many other options students have?
  • Are your courses and majors designed for digital consumption to prepare students for their future?
  • What is the relevance of the learning for the workplace (Reputation, Rigor, Resilience)

Imagine If...

Modern Learners

  • Could create an academic path for their career passions
  • Had options to learn from anywhere, any time and at their pace
  • Found the resources and support they needed through human, artificial intelligence, or a combination as appropriate
  • Accessed transcripts, artifacts, portfolios, accolades, and other credentials as needed in a digital wallet
  • Had a variety of options for funding educational opportunities (e.g. tuition subsidized by employers, free or low-cost courses and materials, etc.)

Modern Educators

  • Could create, reuse, and remix stackable Micro-Learning Credentials designed with industry input
  • Understood the fundamentals of quality teaching, including Learning Chemistry to determine educational pathways
  • Students owning the learning ledger that could be shared with others
  • Had support to manage multiple models of teaching to serve the needs of lifelong learners
  • Library content and institutional research at the fingertips of students and faculty

What's Next

10 Needs for Future Learning

Flexibility and agility

Rigorous academic integrity

Appropriately scaled offerings

Intelligent insight into learning

Continuous learning opportunities

Educational Marketplace

Personalized and experiential

Mobile-first mindset

Poly-synchronous engagement

Designed around elements of Learning Chemistry

Call to Action


Shift from...

Closing Thoughts

Change is here... Embrace it

What will you do with what you just learned?


Future of Work - 4 Disruptors creating innovations - Matt Alex

Five Value Drivers: What Unlocks the Door to Your Campus - Matt Alex

Contact Us:

Matthew Alex |
Tawnya Means |

"You can design today for tomorrow, or you can design tomorrow, today."