Report: 7 Future Roles for Educators

KnowledgeWorks has released a new report, "Exploring the Education Workforce: New Roles for an Expanding Learning Ecosystem," that aims to explore how educator roles may shift over the coming decade.

"We need to have bigger conversations about the future of teaching," said Katherine Prince, KnowledgeWorks senior director of strategic foresight and co-author of the paper, in a prepared statement. "We need to broaden the conversation beyond teaching to consider what kinds of educator roles we need and want for the future. Having more kinds of roles throughout the learning ecosystem will expand possibilities for delivering niche offerings to individual learners based on need."

The report points to t accelerating technological change, increasing personalization, greater diversity of educational models and the proliferation of sophisticated data systems as examples of trends that will lead to more diverse roles for educators.

The report offers seven examples to "help education stakeholders imagine what kinds of educator roles might contribute to flexible and rigorous learning ecosystems that enable both learners and the adults supporting them to thrive":

  • The "Learning Pathway Designer" works with students, parents and mentors to set goals, track progress and pacing and provide models of possible activity sequences aligned with student competencies;
  • "Competency Trackers" would tag and map community-based learning opportunities for competencies addressed;
  • "Pop-up Reality Producers" would "with educators, subject matter experts, story developers and game designers to produce pervasive learning extravaganzas that engage learners in flow states and help them develop relevant skills, academic competencies and knowhow";
  • "Social Innovation Portfolio Directors" would build networks to support service-based learning opportunities;
  • A "Learning Naturalist" designs assessments to "capture evidence of learning in students' diverse learning environments and contexts";
  • "Micro-Credentialing Analysts" would provide research-based comparative quality assurance metrics; and
  • The "Data Steward" would act "as a third-party information trustee to ensure responsible and ethical use of personal data and to maintain broader education data system integrity and effective application through purposeful analytics."

"Some of these roles would be likely to involve full-time employment for a single organization, while others could reflect more ad hoc, network-based employment structures, at least for some of the people occupying them," according to the report. "Some of the roles might attract current teachers and administrators; others might attract people from other backgrounds, including the data sciences, anthropology and ethnography, neuropsychology and media design."

"In personalized learning environment, students need more support to succeed. Naturally, the roles of educators will begin to shift," said KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Judy Peppler, in a prepared statement. "This paper pushes us out of the traditional educator boxes and encourages us to think more deeply about how we can best support students and help them succeed throughout their educational careers."

To download the full report, visit

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].