Universities ‘wouldn’t want to return to purely in-person teaching’, study reveals

New research published today shows how far the UK’s higher education community is embracing hybrid learning

Research published today (Wednesday 4 November) shines a light on the tide of change facing UK higher education (HE), placing hybrid or blended learning at the forefront of the sector, with the survey confirming that students, lecturers and university leaders alike prefer a mix of online and in-person teaching.

The report, A new dawn for higher education?, was produced in collaboration with more than 1,000 sector representatives from the UK universities sector. The report forms part of the sector-wide Learning and Teaching Reimagined initiative, led by Jisc, Emerge Education, Universities UK and Advance HE.

Acknowledging how the ongoing pandemic is transforming the university structure and experience, the study shines a light on the HE’s commitment to ‘build back better’, supporting the move away from traditional classroom teaching to more personalised instruction. The report lays out seven key issues institutions must address to make this effort a success, including:

  • Embed digital at the heart of HE culture
  • Invest in the short-term with the long-term in mind
  • Explore new economic frameworks for sustainable, affordable and high-quality blended learning
  • Incorporate blended learning into curriculum planning and design
  • Expand the digital skills and confidence of students and staff
  • Broadly communicate the benefits of the blended learning model
  • Strengthen the response to digital poverty

“The world has changed – and we’re seeing sector-wide agreement that we need to not just make the best of the situation but build on it,” commented Paul Feldman, CEO of Jisc. “Students, lecturers and leaders are all saying that they wouldn’t want to return to purely in-person teaching, they see what’s happening now as the path to something bigger and better. I hope this report can act as a launchpad for getting richer, more effective, and more modern educational experiences.”

Nic Newman, partner at Emerge Education, has been impressed by the sector’s response to the accelerated digital transformation process, adding: “To continue that momentum with long-term strategies, we must now focus on the student experience. Staff training and digital confidence will have a key role to play.”

In other news: New initiative launched to diversify UK’s digital talent pool


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