In this essay we argue that a Deweyan experience economy will best support the higher education (HE) sector in the future, and we draw a contrast between that economy and the sector’s current focus on informational concerns, as expressed by the recent rush to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other mass online informational offerings. We base our argument on current developments in music education and music technology that we see as being preemptive of wider trends. We use examples from a three-year study of online and offline music pedagogies and outline a four-year experiment in developing a pedagogical experience economy to illustrate a theoretical position informed by John Dewey’s theory of experience, Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of habitus and capital, and recent work in economic geography on epistemic communities. We argue further that the future of the HE sector is local rather than global, experiential rather than informational, and that therefore a continued informational approach to the future of HE risks undermining the sector.

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