Technology to Personalize Learning, Align with Work, and Elevate Outcomes

Western Governors University — Goal 1 Initiative Technology to Personalize Learning, Align with Work, and Elevate Outcomes

Today’s graduates face a skill-intensive, rapidly shifting economy. To prepare, they need modular, stackable, personalized programs that allow them to earn while they learn—a far cry from traditional higher ed offerings. And to succeed in today’s economy, learners need to be able to surface their skills and capabilities to employers—whether their learning look place in a traditional academic context, or on the job.

WGU is building the technology to enable the future of learning: personal, modular, and stackable. The platform aims to serve a wide array of learner profiles and journeys through enabling:

  • Personalized student support;
  • 360-degree centralized student management system that inspires collaboration across the community of care and surfaces real-time intelligence to improve faculty and staff involvement;
  • A frictionless and delightful learning and assessment experience that drives engagement across a dynamic array of educational content and providers;
  • A comprehensive learning and employment record of achievement that surfaces both academic and skill-based accomplishments and related goal-relevant employment/career insights; and
  • A social and networking ecosystem that creates a sense of community that will serve learners across the WGU experience and beyond.

Through the initiative, WGU will be able to make broad-based and significant improvements to student success outcomes—not just in terms of degree completion, but by providing credentials that lead to thriving careers—and to encourage the development of new, more learner-centered and flexible credentials, pathways, and services.

A critical component for enabling and accelerating WGU’s ambitions to better serve the future of education and work is the Learner and Employment Record (LER) component of the NGP, which we call the WGU Achievement Wallet. This learner-owned wallet surfaces validated skills and credentials earned by WGU's learner-workers, along with real-time actionable employment intelligence. For students, this means that badges, certificates, and degrees earned can be shared and more easily valued by employers, as can workplace or military accomplishments be valued more easily and seamlessly against academic credit.

Students today, like generations before them, come to education seeking a path to opportunity. COVID-19 has exacerbated many of higher education’s pre-existing conditions, and made imperative a shift toward lifelong learning, personalized pathways, and workforce aligned innovation. We must build technology-enabled pathways to connect students to opportunity in the modern economy.

Scott Pulsipher, Western Governors University

Initiative Differentiators

WGU’s commitment to these innovations go far beyond the “four walls” of WGU. WGU, with broad sector partners, is leading the organization of an ecosystem to support the development and ubiquitous adoption of these technologies. WGU is leveraging its influence as one of the largest universities with national and local reach to convene stakeholders from academia, government, the military, and the private sector to drive common standards, data sharing protocols, and best practices. This coordination ensures that these technologies are widely adopted and effectively and equitably deployed.

Key Interventions and Milestones

Successive releases of this technology will progressively and iteratively personalize the WGU experience, support multiple pathways to a WGU credential, and improve efficiency and efficacy for students. The platform will enable students to gain recommendations based on their career goals and personalized outreach. We expect every WGU student to have an LER by 2022.

Expected Impact

COVID-19 has brought unforeseen hardships to millions of students in higher education, disrupting their learning pathways and preventing significant numbers from enrolling at all. The technological infrastructure that WGU is building can make education accessible to those who might otherwise be left out of the post-pandemic recovery. This technology will collectively usher in a student-centered future of learning and work, in which students can access the learning experiences they need to make progress in their lives—affordably and effectively. This personalization will help every individual along their path to opportunity, but it will most help those who have been historically disadvantaged by a one-size-fits-all approach to learning.