Social Network Evidence Replacing Diplomas


 The value of the ‘badge' of high school or college completion as an indicator of knowledge, skill and attitude (KSA) acquisition has been questioned for some decades. The MOOC phenomenon will make any residual value vanish. Increasingly that pressure will also apply to the KSAs obtained in conventional professional school programs. Costs of residential education will continue to grow, the mismatch with work placement and success will become more evident and current rules restricting access to training will be challenged. As these context elements evolve alternative routes to attain and demonstrate relevant KSAs become very attractive.

Employers, and therefore learners, will increasingly look to social networks for real-time evidence of the KSAs they are seeking. Most powerfully these social networks provide verifiable evidence of the soft skills very often crucial to workplace success: real world problem-solving, effective JIT (just-in-time) education, team work, collaboration, leadership and commitment to life-long learning. Age, gender, physical appearance, level of formal education and physical location all disappear in social networks subsumed to successful performance in the task at hand even as the task evolves in complexity.

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