Vision 2020 – Rise of the Machines to Save Higher Education

Vision 2020 – Rise of the Machines to Save Higher Education

According to NCES, the 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at 4-year degree-granting institutions in fall 2011 overall was 60 percent.

This statistic raises several issues – the obvious one is the fact that 40% of these students are dropping out of college and left with life-long debt. To make things worse, college dropouts generally earn $21,000 less per year than college grads, according to College Atlas. Another issue is the fact that it’s taking six years to complete a 4-year degree. In this current age of machine learning and predictive analytics – is there anything institutions can do to alleviate this crisis?

Our every entertainment whim is catered to by smart technology, with platforms powered by Artificial Intelligence, like Pandora and Amazon. These intelligent recommender platforms analyze our choices and behavior to recommend precisely the music, books, and even the groceries that we want before we even knew we wanted them.

Businesses can target their audiences online with pinpoint accuracy, taking advantage of Facebook and Google’s algorithms, and then continually refine their marketing campaigns in real-time based on the massive amounts of actionable data they’re presented with.

But when it comes to higher ed, which we look to as the formative experience of every young adult’s life, preparing them for their future careers and shaping the course of our nation?

We’re still dependent on people and paper, and there are limited applications of technology to solve the student success problem.

It just doesn’t make sense.

The world of education needs to be just as customized, targeted, predictive, and data-driven as the worlds of business and entertainment – perhaps even more so.

Providing students with the exact support and information they need to make the best choices for their college careers, and getting that same data into the hands of their advisors so they can jump in at precisely the right time with additional support as needed, at scale, is exactly what we need to move our nation forward, as individuals and as a whole.

  • What if a mobile app could recommend courses for students based on how well other similar students have performed in those classes in the past?
  • What if freshmen advisors had access to analytics that showed them the probability of a student dropping out at the end of freshman year?
  • What if students could see the impact of a specific assignment score, midterm grade, or final grade on their overall academic progression?
  • Wouldn’t customized information like this be a game-changer for students and colleges?


At N2N, we’ve created a solution to address this very issue.

Introducing the new Lighthouse module for N2N’s Illuminate platform: Download the N2N Lighthouse Data Sheet here.


More EnlightenEd Entries