Are Boot Camps The Higher Ed Disruptors They Claim To Be?
Educational boot camps have a ton of potential when it comes to shining a unique spotlight on the deficiencies of traditional educational frameworks and institutions. In fact, the proliferation of these shorter-term, skills-heavy programs could force colleges’ hands when it comes to consolidating their course options and degree programs in a more focused way.
Per a new report released by the Clayton Christensen Institute, “boot camps have a straightforward and simple value proposition: they are designed to help their graduates find good jobs.”
The value of these educational boot camps comes in dollars saved for the learner. Rather than paying a premium to head to a traditional college and meet all sorts of degree requirements which may not even be passingly correlative with their field, learners can invest in these skill-focused boot camps which prep them for a particular job or field they are interested in.
Are these boot camps viable over the long run? Are they really a powerful disruption waiting to happen for traditional universities? The answers to these questions remain unclear.
Where Could This All Be Going?
The Clayton Christensen Institute’s report, penned by researchers Richard Price and Alana Dunagan, came to five potential next steps for the evolution of educational boot camps. These steps cover a wide depth and breadth of potential fates:
- The federal government will release the aid of Title IV money if they can prove their efficacy with desired, tangible outcomes for learners.
- Boot camps move out of the corners and niches, proliferating slowly but surely into learning subjects meant for general enrichment of knowledge.
- Boot camps continue to work within corners and niches but expand out of tech into other singular skill-based subjects.
- These boot camps become true disruptions to the higher education model as we know it, forcing a massive rethink of how degree programs and course offerings are generated.
- Boot camp programs prove unwieldy and not viable, serving as a flash in the pan that has no lasting imprint on higher education as a whole.
The last option is probably the least likely, as educational boot camps are already starting to find a foothold that could prove both economically viable to their administrators and integral to the job search process for a bevy of forward-thinking learners.
Educational Boot Camps Creating A Bigger Bootprint
Per a Course Report estimation, enrollment in educational boot camps jumped by a healthy 20% during the 2018 school year. This meant an overall spike to $219.9 million in tuition costs paid worldwide.
The change has been even more dramatic when looking at things from a longer lens. Over the past five years, the number of graduates from educational boot camps jumped by an eye-popping 748%! However, this is all relative. Educational boot camps are still in their nascent stages and there are only 270 documented boot camps at this time offering just 1,400 courses altogether.
The success of these early-stage educational boot camps will determine the path that the entire phenomenon takes. Will it truly disrupt higher education? Will it just be a worthy add-on? Will it flame out and leave nary a mark on the educational landscape? Only time will tell, but so far, the outcomes look good.