How does Digital Education Unleash the Full Potential of Technology in Higher Education?
There has been much reflection on what the past 3 years has taught us about our need for interactions and the potential of technology. Higher education adapted to maintain the continuity of learning enabled through change programmes and supported by technology. This new era provides an opportunity to meet the needs of educators and learners through cohesive, blended learning journeys that make the best of in-person contact and digital capabilities.
Education technology has been around for years but never relied upon to the extent it has been in recent times (covid and post-covid). Educators and students have adopted online tools and made great use of applications; learning through doing and drawing on available resources. Now, the experience that tutors, administrators and students have gained will inform technology’s future adoption.
Technology bridges the divide between class time and personal study. Students able to access learning materials and interact and collaborate with their tutors and peers online can enjoy flexible, engaging and motivating courses of study. Digital education can expand the reach of learning to communities who would otherwise be excluded and provides scope for rewarding, personalised and self-directed study.
We have seen the global higher education community experience a mindset shift away from physical and digital as distinct learning spaces, towards a single cohesive learning environment. However, online learning management should be more than a digitised function, it should be an optimised learning function. It must bring together teaching and learning across the classroom and digital context (online) through interactive learning platforms that also remove geographical restrictions on learning.
There have been, and still are, hurdles to overcome including infrastructure and digital skills. Yet, the motivation and clear benefits are there. Our local challenges include the accessibility of equipment, cost of internet data, load shedding, and optimal home learning environments and conditions.
For the digital revolution in education to continue its evolution, technology has to work for both educators and students. For educators to unleash the many advantages of digital learning, they will need the following:
1. Simple access to intuitive tools
Online tools must place the creation of digital learning experiences at educators’ fingertips. This goes beyond a content repository, which is just a digital way of storing course materials. The complete learning space must provide learning pathways with clear lines of sight to desired outcomes. The experience must be an integrated (joined-up) one for students, with connections between course topics, chosen formats that suit each content type and the ability to demonstrate understanding at each stage.
2. Personalised learning pathways
This is a new era of personalised learning that meets individual student needs. After all, we all learn in different ways and at different rates. One size doesn’t fit all. We don’t think in a standardised way, and we don’t thrive in systems that constrain us. A modern learning innovation platform must recognise when students need more help, when they’re ready to move on and where they should go next in their learning journey. Automation should support personalisation through, for example, automated triggers that signpost additional content to struggling students. This automation helps students progress and personalises the learning journeys for those students. Artificial Intelligence could play a key role here.
3. Multimedia and collaborative tools
These are central to engaging and rewarding experiences. Screen time should be varied because concentration levels wane through hour after hour of virtual lectures. Engaging and reflective discussion forums enable connections – peer as well as tutor-student – to be established and cemented. Video files, interactive applications including simulations, quizzes all help achieve a level of understanding and a rewarding learning experience.
4. Data analytics
Digital interactions generate crucial data that provides insights that can be drawn upon to further learner progress. Interventions can be prompted when data indicates a student is falling behind. Long-term, data on entire cohorts can inform course planning and content. Learning science must inform technology at every stage of the journey (way) to improve engagement, student retention and positive learning outcomes.
Future Banker is committed to the future of education and a new era of personalised learning. Education’s relationship with technology is evolving. EdTech demand has grown, and Future Banker’s goal is to continue to offer our students a unified and comprehensive learning platform and experience.
We aim to deliver cohesive learning experiences within the financial services sector that evolve with our students, taking them from digitisation to transformation and from novice to power-user, through our flexible, accessible, personalised and innovative platform.
Visit our website today to find out more: www.futurebanker.co.za