Education is an exciting place to be right now. While technology has disrupted the status quo of a college education, this disruption sets the stage for great growth and positive change throughout the field. Young people are no longer content to sit in lectures or reading dull textbooks. Instead, they seek a highly dynamic, interactive brand of education. Student preference is only one of the reasons universities are changing their approach. The following influences are the primary influences spurring on the higher education digital revolution.
Demands of the Market
New technology is already transforming everything from the way we communicate to the world economy. Over the past century or two, evolution within universities have been relatively slow. To stay ahead of the rapid change technology has inspired, universities have no choice but to adapt. If they don’t the risks are high. Without adjusting how education is offered, a university degree may lose value. Today’s market requires an education that supports the skills and methods used in a digital age workforce.
Social Media Use
Technology use in universities isn’t limited to the classroom. Now, tech is pervading every aspect of higher learning. In recent years, the steeply rising costs of higher education have sparked a rise in student expectations too. Universities have had to place more effort into marketing, and marketing specifically to the modern student. Considering the average college student views their smartphone over 100 times a day, it’s no surprise that universities are taking a digital approach to ads and course catalogs. Social media also provides a more personal touch to marketing; prospective students can ask questions and receive answers from an admissions rep almost immediately.
Support of Tech Culture
The millennial’s definition of success is a little different than that of previous generations. As the cost of living and student debt has outpaced salary growth, an increasing number of college students are concerned about achieving a stable and healthy work-life balance. To help these students thrive, some universities are promoting a new style of learning conducive to future entrepreneurial success. Digital technology is at the forefront of this movement, providing a sense of experimentation and opportunity for growth. Digital technology also simplifies communication between teachers, students, and their peers, building a strong support network to encourage motivation, innovation, and collaboration.
Today, almost all universities are on board with the idea of a personalized education. Virtual learning environments can provide students with a customized learning experience, adaptable to their individual needs. Not only can these programs help students track their progress and target their academic weak points, but they can provide administrators with clear data on what students want. Students can easily provide feedback on what works for them and what doesn’t, offering universities a chance to continually improve student experience. When done well, this strategy can boost student engagement and setup a foundation of support for students and faculty alike.
Digital Learning Creates Opportunity
At the end of the day, digital learning creates substantial opportunity for universities and the students they serve. Hardcover textbooks, long a standard, are of little use to those with vision challenges or certain disabilities. Digital content is substantially more accessible, providing solutions for students who learn in all different ways. Classes can also be organized in a way that’s more relevant for today’s students. For example, lectures can be recorded and watched from home, saving class time for in-depth discussion and questions. 15 years ago, students who were too busy to attend school full-time or were unable to live close to campus were out of luck. Now, they can attend one of the distance-learning programs that are now offered by many big-name universities country-wide.
Open educational resources also offer a means for a richer, multimedia learning experience both in and out of the classroom.
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