The use of digital technology has become an essential part of everyday life. Most of the things we interact with have expected and unexpected technological capability, but what does this mean for the future of the education sector?
Rob Wraith, head of learning technologies and digital learning at a leading university group NCGexplores two key predictions and how we can expect digital learning to grow in the short and long term in higher education institutions.
The evolution of digital learning
Use projectors to display PowerPoint presentations on whiteboards, or use Teams to deliver remote teaching and assessment. Like many industries, the education sector has embraced the integration of technology into its approach to learning, the pandemic has accelerated this significantly. The way we learn today is vastly different from the way we learned just five years ago and not just because of EdTech, it’s also because of demands, expectations and what is now considered as good teaching practice. I fundamentally believe that EdTech has changed education for the better, providing more accessible and interactive resources and learning experiences that can lead to better outcomes for our students.
Digital learning is more than it once was. This can range from sharing and discussing resources in Microsoft Teams to interacting with an audio and video resource on a smartphone. Interactive and accessible learning has been supported by advances in technology over the past few years and these developments have become more embedded in learning strategies, in much the same way we use technology in our daily lives which is now part of Standard ” .
It now appears that students expect EdTech to be a key part of the learning experience and resources should be available at the push of a button on any device at any time. However, one of the challenges providers face is balancing face-to-face teaching with the use of digital resources. Since there is still a strong need for face-to-face training as the primary method of learning, opportunities to integrate digital learning should be identified to enhance the learning experience. This improvement will bring invaluable benefits to students and staff to enhance learning while saving valuable time. What is vitally important, however, is that these digital learning resources are of high quality and fit for purpose. This is to ensure that teaching, learning and assessment are enhanced and not impaired.
Make learning content more accessible
It is also crucial to emphasize the importance and necessity of face-to-face, in-person teaching – teaching that is appropriate for this class, at this time and under these circumstances. However, with added technology, students have the means to go back and relive that moment in time and what was covered in specific lessons, what they might be unsure of, and what they need to know. read more, in other words “on demand”. learning’.
Students, especially young learners who come to us at 16, live in a world where everything is and has been available on demand, and some expect this level of technology in all areas of their lives. Therefore, education is no exception and must keep pace if we are to educate the next generation of employees in the most effective and efficient manner. If digital resources such as interactive learning modules and lecture recordings are not within reach of our students, where they control their access, why aren’t they?
This on-demand option could be as simple as having lessons recorded and uploaded to a shared space, where students can review anytime, or thumbnail videos covering key topics under study. Students can access it whenever and wherever they need it, as many times as they want and on any device. Whether it’s to cross-check their notes, support revision, improve in an area or catch up on a missed lesson.
This kind of access will also benefit students who may not be comfortable asking questions in class or who don’t yet have the confidence to speak up at the end of a lesson. These students could access available digital resources that support lesson delivery and potentially answer the question themselves. Therefore, taking ownership of their own learning and perhaps feeling a sense of accomplishment rather than failure. Additionally, resources like these provide our students with the opportunity to learn in a way that best suits their own needs.
I started my own career in education as a teacher in 2008 and I can see where these resources and the level of learning technology would have supported me, while supporting and enhancing the learning experience of my own students. Such resources will provide additional opportunities for students who want to learn additional skills and accelerate their own learning, so they can improve their options for earning and advancing in employment.
We know that reading is an essential part of learning, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words and in support of reading a document, students could benefit from a visual resource with which they can interact to support their understanding. If we have the ability to include this type of learning technology to support our students, why wouldn’t we?
In our lives, we are presented with manuals to support the items we have purchased, but in the majority of cases, if we are unsure of something, we tend to take our smartphones or access our PCs. and looking for a video that explains what we need. TO DO. Providers have the opportunity here to mine their own content as well as the assets they have purchased and make it available in the same way.
What will happen in the future?
We are currently in the early stages of testing virtual reality and augmented reality headsets, which is very exciting. We strive to create the workforce of tomorrow and work closely with industry partners to stay informed and aware of their expectations and requirements. This allows us to grow our program offering online with industry using the right technology, ensuring that our students are prepared for the world of work, not only with their qualification, but with the experience of resources and tools they should use. The use of MR and AR headsets will bring an added dimension to the classroom, where learners can gain knowledge by exposing themselves to interactive immersive experiences. This exposure is designed to support the development of physical and cognitive skills in specific situations that employers would require of future employees.
Virtual reality headsets are now being used more frequently in industry to deliver key work elements. In fields such as medicine, virtual reality has been used in patient rehabilitation and in construction it has been used to visualize designs and models of buildings and what they will look like on site before they are laid. a brick.
These technological advances require educators to have the digital skills and access to additional training to lead the way. An increased emphasis on digital skills must be part of teacher training so that they can adopt, understand and develop digital tools suitable for their purpose. This training and ongoing development must be central to today’s teachers and education service providers, preparing our staff to succeed with regular training and support that matches their day-to-day commitments.
This is an extremely exciting time to get involved in education and there is still a long way to go to fully understand learner expectations for digital learning and the digital resources available. This is an evolutionary journey that we embrace here at NCG, as we aim to be ahead of the curve and lead the way in EdTech.
For more information about NCG visit www.ncgrp.co.uk.
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