COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of many sectors, including education. With extended quarantine measures and the temporary closures of schools and universities, educational institutions globally have had to strengthen their digital teaching and learning ecosystems in order to continue with their mission.
While this crisis is unprecedented and it’s difficult to estimate its full impact and how long it will last, in the particular case of higher education, it’s necessary to start planning under the premise of an uncertain future.
We have compiled five trends in education that will continue to grow, as we collectively experience the imperative need to move forward with life with the support of online tools.
1. Artificial Intelligence
While online learning is gaining momentum, it needs to evolve in line with technological trends. The use of artificial intelligence (or AI) can support various teaching and learning processes, from the use of algorithms that work as tutors (previously configured) and which serve to provide feedback to students, to the creation of personalized learning models with assisted grading.
Artificial intelligence can be used in areas where teachers find limitations, such as processing large volumes of information. Or even in the development of content recommendation algorithms or task delivery according to each student’s learning style.
2. Focus on Access and Well-Being
Migrating from an on-site campus to a remote one poses new challenges at the social level. Guaranteeing faculty and students the necessary technology to teach and learn, promoting new dynamics in social relations between them within a virtual environment, as well as access to other campus services (physical and mental health services, study areas, cafeterias, among others) are aspects that must be considered when faced with the possibility of restarting classes 100% online.
Offering online classes for stress management, enabling student interaction outside the classroom but within a digital environment, and providing tele-psychology services or tele-counseling are some of the services that should be added to the digital learning ecosystem.
3. Faculty Support
Now more than ever, the role of faculty must be transformed into a more digital one. While COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of teaching and learning technologies, institutions must invest in training and capacity-building.
While this is not a new concept, the challenge lies in promoting creative spaces where postsecondary educators can focus on creating interactive content, designing methodologies to measure the effectiveness of a course, and providing outlets for them to create strategies that help establish relationships with their students. Breaking the barriers of virtual learning is paramount.
This subject goes beyond guaranteeing access to quality education for students with disabilities. Rather, it seeks to ensure that all students learn effectively according to their learning style.
Given the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus and assuming a new scenario in which the only option to continue studying is through online education (countries like the Philippines decreed distance education as an undefined model until a vaccine is developed), the way in which programs are taught must evolve. As every student has a different learning style, institutions have made it their new mission to allow them to complete their tasks according to their unique learning style. This approach will reflect an increase in student retention, as learners will feel confident and engaged by the digital learning ecosystem.
5. Online Supervision/Proctoring
Digital learning ecosystems need to be made more robust. Online test monitoring tools are an alternative to authenticating students’ identities. In an online learning environment, one of the main concerns is to ensure academic integrity—understood as the institution’s code of ethics—which can be interpreted as an institution’s commitment to graduate ethical and responsible professionals for the jobs of the future. Learn more here.
Bonus: Learning Analytics
The ability to interpret data and act based upon it has never been more important than today. Analytics tools for learning will be the key allies to understanding and interpreting activity within the digital learning ecosystem: what is working and what needs to be changed. Incorporating these tools will help you understand and even predict student behavior. During these challenging times when we are fully immersed online, understanding the solutions currently being embraced by educational institutions everywhere will enable proper decision making that will positively impact student success and institutional effectiveness.
Forbes (2020). Retrieved from:https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/06/08/artificial-intelligence-in- education-transformation/#4ef4d6a832a4