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The Rise of the Autodidactic Degree

An economic downturn, fewer jobs, new expectations for workers — whatever the reason, times are changing. People are realizing the financial burden of student loans and the struggle to find a job after graduation. Meanwhile, their role models are both some of the most successful people in business AND college dropouts — Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, to name a few. We’re entering a new reality, where education and opportunity are what you create. This means thousands upon thousands of people are asking the same question, “Is a college degree really worth the money or can I get the same information and training for free online?” It’s a defining time for universities, students, graduates and businesses. This session will explore what this shift means and how both businesses and education systems should react.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How are academic institutions addressing the disruptive changes that are the result of democratized access to content, information and training online?
  2. What should prospective university students consider when looking at autodidactic options?
  3. What skillsets should potential employers be looking for during this shift towards autodidactic experience?
  4. What are some of the tools that are available to those looking for educational options in the digital space?
  5. How are technologies (not just the web), are enabling this shift to self-education and training?



Stephanie Critchfield, Sr Dir Marketing & PR, Engauge

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