Over the past two decades, technology has steered notable advances in the field of education and it is undebatable that it will continue to be a catalyst for many more changes in the coming years.
If we specifically address the near future, we’ll see that a lot is changing in terms of student expectations and this outlines some interesting challenges and opportunities for universities globally. Here’s how we see the space of higher ed tech shape up in the next five years!
1. Consumer Mindset
With the rise of targeted communication by brands and businesses, students today are becoming more and more accustomed to the conveniences of customization. In the coming years, we will notice students come in with this consumer mindset wherein they expect universities to be a lot more student-centric - demanding personalization, convenience & quality at every step.
2. Focus on Concrete Career Skills
As the needs of the job market change, cost of education rises, more students will want access to flexible & specialized learning programs. This is especially true for the time-poor adult-learners and working professionals. Given this, we’ll see a lot of universities unbundle traditional programs to offer shorter degrees & certifications, more attuned to the competency needs of top employers.
3. Experiential Learning
The lecture-based model for learning has always defined higher education. With the onset of technology & a deeper understanding of how students learn, we’ll see ‘blended learning’ (merging traditional and online learning) become a lot more commonplace.
According to The Center for Digital Education, blended or hybrid education models improve comprehension and test scores for 84% of students. Moreover, the Gen Z students who come in with an attention span of just 8 seconds will want learning to be experiential, immersive & purpose-driven, and definitely not limited to the classroom.
4. Growth of AI
According to me, students expect institutions to know if they are falling off path and intervene to point them back on path. Universities are also looking for ways to address this student expectation, along with dropping enrolment rates and decreased funding. We’ll see a rise in how predictive analytics can help universities identify students at risk and provide timely interventions. This smart use of data, will impact the way educators are able to retain students and see them through to graduation.
5. Tech-Savvy Personnel
Soon the student population will be dominated by Generation Z, who are essentially digital natives. When catering to this technology-driven generation, it is imperative that university personnel, whether professors, academic advisors or student affairs professionals, be abreast with technology. Moreover, they will need to actively integrate it in their day-to-day to be able to effectively communicate with students.