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4 Trends that are Changing the Face of Higher Education

Higher education is evolving. In the last ten years, colleges and universities have changed in ways that the past generation of educators and learners would barely recognize. In order to stay competitive, higher education institutions are forced to adapt their models to accommodate the changing landscape. Technology, being the biggest driver of change, has altered the way we deliver, access, share, and develop education content. In this week’s post, we look at four trends that are redefining higher education in a big way.

1-Non-Traditional Student Demographic: The definition of what it means to be a ‘student’ has evolved to include individuals who once lacked the opportunity to pursue higher education. Looking around your local campus, you will see learners who range in age, race, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, etc. Institutions are adapting their services and resources to suit the demands and expectations of their changing student demographic. Some of these changes include: part-time and online courses for older learners, on-campus childcare services, new financial aid regulations, and competency-based education that aligns with professional goals.

2-The Flipped Classroom: The classroom is also being redefined with a growing number of colleges and universities literally flipping the traditional instructional model. The flipped classroom is a flexible learner-centered approach that allows students to study course material at home while in-class time is dedicated to homework and assignments. Still a novel concept, the flipped model helps higher education institutions keep up with the changing profile of their learner population - who are dividing their time between school, work, family, and other interests.

3- Distance Education: The rise of technology has transform the way education is delivered and accessed. Today, students have the ability to achieve their education goals on their own terms from anywhere in the world. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Open Educational Resources (OER), and OpenCourseWares (OCW) are growing in popularity because they allow unlimited participation and 24/7 access to the virtual classroom. Gone are the days of overbooked courses and long queues. Through the web, learners are now able to get a quality educational experience that meets that of the physical classroom.

4- Assessment Tools: The increased presence of assessment tools in the classroom is redefining how education is delivered. Assessment tools are giving educators a better view of their students’ learning needs, allowing them to close learning gaps and engage the classroom with innovative teaching styles. Formative feedback tools help instructors focus on daily improvement by capturing student comments about their learning experience in real-time. Mid-term evaluations give educators enough time to make instructional changes that will impact the overall learning experience. End-of-term evaluations provide valuable data that can help educators identify areas where improvement is needed for the following semester.

What are some other education trends that you have noticed over the past five years? Comment below and let us know.

Chanel M. Sutherland
Marketing Content Specialist, eXplorance

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