The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly evolved into an economic, cultural, and social crisis, severely affecting the entire higher education sector around the world.
Today, a vast number of higher educational institutions face reduced funding, changing student demographics, questions regarding quality and value, and increased competition. To prevail they will need to undergo the changes to enable new teaching and learning methods.
The online programs are rapidly gaining popularity as students no longer feel like taking a risk with high tuition costs and questionable on-campus experiences, especially after the COVID crisis.
As we’re yet to see how the future of online education will look like, the overall change in higher education is inevitable.
In this blog, we look at the nine predictions for the future of higher education in the post-COVID19 era.
So how will higher education change in the future?
It is predicted that smaller colleges and universities will close due to declining enrollment and financial constraints.
Financial struggles didn’t bypass national educational institutions either: Many national university systems are choosing to merge and consolidate their colleges and universities to mitigate pandemic-related consequences.
Pursuing higher education online allows students from different continents to collaborate with their peers in real-time, allowing them to achieve their goals regardless of common deterrents like economic status, location, and having to commit to a strict schedule.
The future of online learning is bright as there are currently over 3.5 billion internet users in the world, and to this day almost 80% of students reported they have taken an online course throughout their studies.
So, will online education replace the classroom? As face-to-face teaching methods still have a competitive advantage, it’s most likely that blended learning will soon become the norm, while in the future the entire educational system may go into the cloud.
Traditional classroom learning is based on uniformity: All students are given the same materials, subjected to the same learning condition, and expected to deliver the same results.
The modern pedagogy recognized the faults in this approach, and that is why its brainchild – online education, is mostly self-paced and allows learners to study at their convenience.
Recent research revealed that in the future more students will opt for specialist certificates instead of Master’s programs. There is already a significant increase in the number of graduate certificates awarded over the past year, and this trend is predicted to continue.
So what’s the appeal? The graduate certificates are shorter, cheaper, and offer specialized knowledge or training in a specific area providing learners with relevant and specialized content that they can apply to a role instantly.
Critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills are valuable traits that are needed in virtually any industry.
According to several studies, It is these traits that will bring you success with hiring managers, earning you a stellar candidate status.
Teaching these skills separately by experts in the field is already a thing, and this trend will most likely increase in the future.
In analytics we trust: Educational institutions worldwide are turning to analytics to ensure their students are getting the most from education and that they graduate on time. This valuable resource enables institutions to provide their learners with support services before they encounter problems.
Some of its applications are decreasing the fail rate, increasing student retention, boosting graduation rates by predicting them, and then guiding student performance towards the end goal, and many more.
The advancements in technology are bringing to light the overlap between education and business. These partnerships are not only a new way to finance higher education but also a fuel to spurring a change in the entire business model.
Industry giants like Amazon, Google, and IBM, are already critical to higher education as recently they have been a part of more acquisition and merger conversations.
This kind of partnership is mutually beneficial as some companies are moving toward requiring workers to have specific skills rather than college degrees. Online programs are revolutionary methods for training and up-skilling industry professionals as they focus on practical knowledge, and allow for maintaining your daily job while pursuing valuable credentials
As the education business model shifts, the focus of higher education evolves too. Educational institutions will continue to leverage technology to create a student-oriented learning model, providing students with an enhanced experience.
So, how has technology changed higher education? One good example is the Learning Management System (LMS).
Its primary role in managing online courses and discussion boards has stretched to taking a part in connecting students with advisors and counselors, as well as making tuition bill-pay easier, checking and submitting for financial aid, connecting current students with alumni, and so on.
And this is where we’re answering the burning question of how technology is changing the future of education. Modern technology will revolutionize the way students learn with features such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and machine learning.
Technology influenced education will be powered by adaptive learning and natural language processing, allowing for universal accessibility.
One example of virtual education in the future is using holographic imagery for more realistic study experience, especially in distance learning.
When it comes to artificial intelligence, in the near future we may have AI-driven bots as tutors in higher education. Scientists at University College London conducted research to find what makes a successful lesson and they analyzed a vast number of audio and written data resources from AI-driven tutorials.
They started a tutoring service by relying on the results they have achieved, and the outcomes continue to show favorable progress, implicating that the next generation tutors may not be necessary humans.
The future may be hazy, but that shouldn’t discourage anyone from taking the leap of faith and chasing their dreams by pursuing higher education online.
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