A panel on lifelong learning at the Stanford Center on Longevity’s Century Summit questioned Wednesday whether traditional colleges and universities will even be relevant as people live longer lives and need to update their skills or learn new ones.

The Century Summit is a hybrid two-day gathering of academics, experts and practitioners to discuss the implications of lifespans that may reach 100 years or more.

One of the lifelong learning panelists, Gagan Biyani, reported that his own experience getting a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley could have been condensed into one year.

Two years out of college, in 2010, Biyani co-founded a start-up, Udemy, that was one of the first to offer MOOCs (massive open online courses) on a large-scale basis.

“I could turn on YouTube right now and learn a whole set of skills.”

Eloy Oakley, CEO of the College Futures Foundation

He is now a co-founder of Maven, described on its website as building “the university of the future” by offering courses taught by industry experts to people who want to learn online in a cohort of peers.

To increase access to new skills over a lifespan, Biyani argued, “the number one thing” a university like Stanford can do is to “get rid of” the requirement that universities be accredited.

The other panelist, Eloy Oakley, CEO of the College Futures Foundation, said that he, too, was “not a proponent of the residential college model.”

Oakley said, “I could turn on YouTube right now and learn a whole set of skills.” The panel, moderated by Stanford education and sociology professor Mitchell Stevens, agreed that new models of delivering learning will proliferate in the future, funded in part by venture capital money and private/public partnerships. Universities like Stanford can join in, Oakley pointed out, by accepting more students and “offering more options to more people.”