Degrees are the traditional currency of education: from high school through graduate school, they buy access to jobs, earnings, and influence. In the 2026 world of The Ledger, though, traditional degrees are seen to lose their value for a number of reasons.
First, the rapid pace of change challenges traditional degrees. Often, by the time you earn them, the learning they stand for is obsolete. So argues klansing:
At the same time, degrees tend to discriminate. They are expensive, and they stratify the workforce. Many players argued for the democratization of degrees, but smachaje took the bold stand of actually making it illegal to specify a degree requirement for a job position:
Perhaps most persuasive, however, were all the people who simply saw degrees as too blunt an instrument for matching diverse skills and talents with the complex problems to be solved and specialized tasks to be accomplished. People like Deborah Chad wanted to focus their energies on “exact skills”…
…and many others pointed to the need for micro-degrees, nano-degrees, specializations, and “thin-slicing” of knowledge. And as these designers of learning in 2026 reimagine degrees, they also see games as the prototypical platform for learning and earning. Here’s Kate Crooks: