Prosperity is maximized wherever constructive learning is inexpensive, convenient, and verifiable.
Historically, verification of competence in any given area was provided only by the source of knowledge. Now that we have a widespread Internet, separating investigation, study, and experimentation from the verification of competence has become practicable for a great many kinds of knowledge and skill.
A truly huge body of valuable knowledge and methods have been accumulated in the public domain. As an increasing fraction of the working population investigates areas of interest to them in their off hours, an additional source of greater productivity will be realized. The Internet will continue of expand to include more forums and tutorials. A growth in the number of independent testing organizations will help lower the cost of credentials and thereby enhance upward mobility for working adults. In many cases, apprenticeship programs could also be more cost effective than schools.
As these approaches become more robust, government regulation requiring college courses or degrees must be modified. Exams to license persons to practice certain professions could be much more extensive. In some cases, the requirement of college courses could be minimized or eliminated. In other cases, the need for hands-on internships and apprenticeships might persist much longer. In any case, an effort must be made to provide productive leaning opportunities for people who are in widely varied life circumstances.
Basic understandings about investigation and reasoning must be known by an increasingly large fraction of the general population. Knowledge of investigative tools, access to experimental evidence, an appreciation of what constitutes proof, and enthusiastic curiosity must become hallmarks of the culture. In such circumstances, economic wellbeing becomes inevitable.