From devices to pedagogy to policies, 2015 brought in a wave of technology trends to set the stage for the future of learning in higher education.
Regardless of what capabilities a device enabled an instructor to teach with, or how much looser a policy’s reigns slackened, most of 2015’s trends pointed to the direction of active learning.
With active learning, “The mind is actively engaged,” says Adam Finkelstein, Educational Developer at Teaching and Learning Services at McGill University. “In any active setting, students are dynamic participants in the learning process. The brain is being active, doing something.
“Passive listening is the lowest level of learning,” he says. “Students are also responsible for their own learning. If they sit there passively listening, they’re not taking responsibility of their learning.”
Justin Beck, the VP of Global Education for Kaltura, reveals 5 trends he believes will hit higher education in 2016:
1. Learning from data
Being able to easily access and export data from ‘open’ learning tools will no longer be nice to have but a requirement for all those in the ed tech ecosystem. The days of closed silos are gone. Institutions, providers and students all have a vested interest in getting access to as much useful data as possible. With the launch of the IMS Caliper standard, all players will be expected to expose their caliper events to smart analytics systems that produce actionable insights.
2. The analytics tools shake-out
The term ‘analytics’ will come under greater scrutiny as actionable analytics move center stage. Many tech providers claim to offer analytics tools, but very few of these help institutions improve outcomes, retention, and engagement. Actionable analytics are where the real value lies.
3. Mergers and acquisitions between institutions
M&As in the ed tech space are pretty routine and now it’s the turn of our educational institutions. The Georgia Board of Regents, for example, has already merged a few institutions. The efficiencies that can be gained by collapsing K-12 districts – or even institutions of higher education – are becoming more compelling.
4. ‘Open’ lecture capture solutions will gain popularity
The old school, locked box-approach to lecture capture is making way for a new generation of systems thanks to the advent of the IMS Open Video standard. These new ‘open’ lecture capture solutions run on more affordable commodity hardware, making it possible for institutions to deploy them in many more rooms (both traditional and online).
5. Higher Ed Tech will cascade down to K12
Pioneers in the K-12 space will expand their adoption of technologies traditionally associated with higher ed institutions, and will continue to embrace Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models. This includes education video platforms that help with student engagement, video delivery and management needs.
Active Learning in Physical Spaces
Finkelstein, who presented at EDUCAUSE 2015, stresses that interactivity between students and instructors starts with a physical space.
According to Finkelstein’s presentation, many colleges are tasked with redesigning old spaces on campus to provide a more interactive environment for students and instructors alike.
Decision-makers that are involved with a space’s reconstruction should pay close attention to how students and instructors already interact in the space, and renovate it based on new technology and learning needs.
“Interaction between students and instructors is critical,” says Finkelstein. “You don’t want a situation where the instructor is stuck at the front of the classroom and can’t engage with the back of the room. The closer [an instructor] gets within 12 foot range of students, the better they can interact with them…You want to design based on what we know about teaching and learning.”
Finkelstein also says decision-makers should keep track of “behind the scenes” needs to keep active learning opportunities strong, such as WiFi or content sharing options.
“If you’re planning on teaching where the internet and wireless signal is weak, everything bombs from there,” he says. “Make sure you have the infrastructure to back it up.”
Even though campus spaces should be built or renovated based on 2015 technology demands and standards, decision-makers should pay attention to what “old school” initiatives are needed too, including furniture and room colors.