Can you imagine a better time to be a student? In the last 10 years, higher education institutions (HEIs) have taken great strides in improving the learning experience to fit the expectations of a digital generation (digital natives, digital immigrants). Meanwhile, this generation of ‘always connected’ learners continue to evolve with the new technologies available to them. Cyberspace is increasingly becoming public space, touchscreens are replacing textbooks, and classrooms are being transformed into smart hubs designed to collect data for continuous improvement.
Constantly in a state of transformation and innovation, the future of higher education is contingent on the advancement of new technologies. As educational leaders continue to rethink every aspect of higher education from curriculum to classroom space, we ask the question: what does the future campus look like?
Future Classrooms are Virtual – Say goodbye to neat rows of chairs and desks, whiteboards, and lectern. The future classroom is a virtual environment designed to sync with the lives of digital learners. Courses will be delivered through web-enabled devices allowing students to study on-the-go and at their own pace. HEIs will be able to reach more students across the world, increasing cross-cultural learning and collaborations. A 2014 survey on online learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group revealed that online enrollment growth is already greater than that of overall higher education. The same study also reported that 70.8% of academic leaders included online learning as a component in their long-term strategic plan.
Future Instructors are Data Scientists – Although learning analytics is already a core part of the educational process, future educators will have a deeper understanding of data mining and data science. The classroom will be transformed into an information hub where data collection is as essential as course delivery. Student feedback will be gathered from a variety of sources including course evaluations and social feedback tools. Instructors will have the ability to analyze, interpret, and use the information to tackle teaching blind spots and predict student outcomes. Text analytics technology will enable them to query unstructured data, categorize them into meaningful themes, and convert them into quantifiable results.
Future Education is Augmented – Augmented reality (AR) will enrich the educational experience by taking us beyond the flat two dimensional world. Future students and educators will be able to have immersive virtual experiences that allow them to explore course topics in real-time. Imagine a student in Canada examining a floating 3D representation of the Great Barrier Reef that they can twist and turn to explore – in the comfort of their living room. Using smart glasses and headsets, augmented apps, and other devices, AR will remove financial and geographical barriers to learning.
What are some of your predictions for the future of higher education? Comment below and let us know.
Chanel M. Sutherland
Marketing Content Specialist, eXplorance