Student experience of the future

Students have up-to-date technology in their personal lives, and expect the same from their education, says Kenny Nicholls

By Kenny Nicholl, Director of EMEA Expansion at Instructure 

Students have up-to-date technology in their personal lives, and expect the same from their education. The universities that can adjust and offer the latest tech have a real competitive advantage when it comes to attracting students.   

Given the importance of this field, it’s no surprise that start-ups and multinationals alike have turned their focus to edtech. The net effect of this is that education’s on the cusp of a real revolution, where staff use tech to maximise the student experience.  

So what does this brave new world look like? Personalised learning for lecturers and students. We’re all different and the future of education will reflect this. Teaching staff will be able to use technology to provide every student with a unique academic experience.This is because technology can be used to supplement the traditional lecture/seminar format. Students can be set assignments and projects outside the classroom, which are tailored to suit their strengths and boost their weaknesses. 

It’s not just students who benefit, lecturers can use these new tools to teach the modules they’ve always dreamt of.This new model of education will allow students to progress at their own pace, while receiving ongoing feedback, both vital factors in a rounded education.

Picking the right tool

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With so many options available, it’s difficult for institutions to know which tools will work for them. It’s a tricky decision to bet significant resources and investment on a particular solution without real evidence from some sort of pilot. 

To address this, it’s vital that educators and solution providers alike look at real world examples. These case studies showcase what works and what doesn’t, providing institutions with a means to assess how these technologies might work for them.In a digital world, the majority of students use smartphones or tablets during their time at a university.  

Universities must follow suit and choose tools which are social by design. It’s no good having the best, most innovative solution in the world, if it only works on a desktop computer.  For technology to be successful, it has to be designed with modern devices in mind.  

Data for the individual

Big data has revolutionised business and it will do the same to education. These new digital tools mean lecturers have the opportunity to gather data, assessing the course as a whole and students individually. This frees lecturers up to get on with teaching, safe in the knowledge that student progress is being tracked and monitored on their behalf. 

As the competition for students becomes ever more intense, it is the universities who can differentiate themselves who will fare best. By offering students an education which combines the best existing practices with the opportunities offered by technology, smart universities can position themselves at the front of the queue.

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