Next Generation Learning

Reimagining Learning for the 21st Century

Next generation learning allows schools and educators to put students at the center of learning. These innovative, student-centered strategies—such as personalized learning and competency-based education—focus on students’ mastery of knowledge and skills rather than an academic calendar or seat-time requirements. Through next generation learning, states can ensure all students graduate equipped to thrive in a rapidly changing world. 

The conventional, one-size-fits-all education system leaves too many students behind. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, yet hundreds of thousands of students still drop out each year. And those who do graduate, aren’t necessarily ready for the challenges they will face. U.S. college students spend about $1.3 billion annually on remedial courses to master content they should have learned in high school. These realities don’t speak to students’ abilities, but they do reveal that something isn’t right with how traditional K-12 education engages students.

Every student has unique talents and abilities, and every student deserves an education that adapts to their needs. However, most students are asked to conform for 12 years to an outdated model of education.

Next generation learning changes the story. Its suite of strategies equips innovative educators with the flexibility and support they need to meet the needs of each child and empower all students to play a greater role in their learning. Layers of outdated laws, rules and regulations can prohibit this innovation, but states are steadily chipping away at the barriers that prevent schools from personalizing learning to empower each student to reach his or her greatest.

7 Key Policy Components

These components allow for a completely unique state approach to next generation learning.

Real Stories

“At Lindsay, we are customizing the ideal learning experience for every one of our learners. Not just the low achievers … but the high achievers. The fifth grader who is ready for high school algebra. At Lindsay, they get it. They don’t have to wait until the year ends or wait until they turn 14 or 15 years old. Because it’s not about the time. It’s not about the adults. It’s not about the convenience of the traditional system that was designed for the industrial age. It’s about the learner and their needs.”

Thomas Rooney

Superintendent, Lindsay Unified School District, CA

“Working at my own pace helps me achieve my goals because I have total control of the material and the time available to me. If I’m struggling with a class, I can focus specifically on that class for a day and go through the other classes at a faster pace. I also can adjust my pace and go a little faster to make time for work I want to complete.”

Silver Anderson

Student, Jaguar Academy, ND

Real Results


Schools are implementing innovative, personalized education models as part of the Idaho Mastery Education Network.


States are administering next generation learning programs.


States have fully authorized the use of demonstration of mastery to issue credit.

Meet the Expert