There’s no doubt that technology now plays a greater role in shaping every aspect of our lives than ever before. When it comes to the world of higher education, this can’t be truer.
Learning was once confined to a classroom, with a mostly passive one-way communication between student and teacher. This was a very ‘teacher-centric’ approach. The resources and spaces for learning for students were also more conventional and limited, with greater reliance on teachers, and books.
In the last 20 years, education technology has helped institutions transform the teaching and learning space. With the largest living generation today - nearly 32% - being digital natives, and more and more Gen Z entering higher-ed institutions, it is inevitable that the traditional classroom and learning structures are redefined to be ‘student-centric’.
Universities and colleges must adopt and implement new tech-mediated instruction structures to cater to rising student expectations. At the same time, edtech has empowered educators to address issues like high drop-out rates and enable better student outcomes.
Suggested Read: Are universities prepared for Gen Z?
Let’s look at some examples of how learning has and is evolving with advancements in technology!
- ‘One-sit-fits-all’ learning can no longer work in today’s world. With a population of students already used to personalization and experiential design served by top brands, it’s exactly what they expect from their learning institutions as well. And rightly so! Different types of learners require different types of instruction and tech allows educators to customize instructional methodologies.
- Passive, one-way lectures are no longer relevant. Universities are already changing classroom learning with activity-rich learning, blended or hybrid learning, which combines online + offline and more interactive experiences. Instructors are also experimenting with a hybrid of self-study, individualized instruction and group study based on learning profiles and readiness levels.
- From learning being an individual activity, it has now become a lot more collaborative - where students can connect and collaborate in virtual classrooms, maybe even real-time, on common projects or courses to learn together - to help each other understand and build ideas. More and more institutions are enabling this by implementing specialized collaboration software on their campus platforms.
- There is a lot more focus on learning measurement and analytics to drive student success in K12 as well as higher-ed. Faculty and advisors are adopting smart student engagement tools that can process thousands of student data points, help institutions track and evaluate students’ progress throughout their academic journey, and provide ways to intervene with real-time and personalized help.
- Once universities worried about student retention and relied solely on personnel. Today, they are addressing drop-out numbers with unbundling of traditional courses to provide micro-learning or skill-based learning, predictive technology that identifies & helps at-risk students, and connecting students to an advisor network through simple, quick, online channels.
“Technology is changing the dynamics of education, especially the relationship between teachers and students. As educators begin to rethink the learning experience, we believe it will be important to also reshape educational spaces to support this evolution.”
- Andrew Kim, Steelcase
Tech will continue to accelerate and bring about more changes to the world of education. It is up to higher-ed leaders to keep astride the latest developments and implement changes quickly enough to turn the challenges into opportunities.