Artificial intelligence, immersive reality, and cloud technologies have been reshaping higher education for years. The Coronavirus pandemic breakout has only accelerated the digitisation of universities across the globe.
Here are a few examples of how universities implement new educational trends.
Using Extended Reality Technologies
Immersive technologies are evolving at an astounding rate. According to research studies, the global AR and VR market will reach $209.2 billion by 2022. Its contribution to the education system is immense.
In higher education, practically explaining complex concepts can be challenging. Traditional lectures focus on uniform exemplifications that do not resonate with all students. Taking notes and passively listening to professors can be frustrating since there is no room for critical thinking and creativity.
That is where immersive technologies can help. VR prioritises experiential and self-directed education, where students learn by doing. One such example is healthcare. For example, La Trobe University uses AR to help anatomy students understand the human body and various clinical cases.
“Augmented reality allows students to visualise and manipulate anatomical structures and develop a deep understanding,” university professors emphasise. They also explain the cost-effectiveness of these technologies. The price of a textbook often exceeds $100, while AR tools cost $10 per user.
Making a Shift to Remote Education
In the past, future university students chose schools by geolocation, not their preferences. Fortunately, with the rise of fast internet connections and cloud technologies, the approach to education has changed. Learning has started migrating to the digital landscape.
For universities, remote learning provides numerous benefits. Some of them are:
- Remaining competitive and keeping up with online universities
- Expanding reach and attracting international students
- Boosting the quality of education by increasing course availability and learner engagement
- Faster growth since it does not require them to invest in on-campus building developments
Higher education institutions understand the value of remote learning. The world’s most reputable universities, including MIT, Australian National University, and Harvard, have started investing in Massive Open Online Courses.
MOOCs are online courses that enable unlimited access and free course materials. Global students can connect and communicate via forums and social media discussions.
Remote learners can also leverage student-contributed platforms to access university-specific learning materials. Former university students upload their study notes, essays, and learning guides there. If one attends the University of New South Wales remotely, they can access UNSW resources from their homes.
Encouraging Collaborative Learning
The Coronavirus pandemic has encouraged the fast shift of universities to the digital ecosystem. However, just publishing educational content online is not enough. Higher education institutions need to focus on engaging students and motivating them to participate actively. In other words, they should invest more in collaborative learning.
For example, many online universities and those offering MOOCs use technology to improve student collaboration. Digital platforms enable students to connect with their peers, professors, and teaching assistants. Above all, they can get the most out of their projects by working in groups. Via discussion boards, forums, and social networks, they can ask questions in real-time and solicit peer feedback. Educators can monitor and manage these discussions.
Such rich online learning systems combine social skills and digital collaboration. As such, they boost student morale and engagement.
Leveraging Adaptive Learning Technologies
University students have different needs, interests, problems, and learning preferences. Therefore, one-size-fits-all strategies do not work with them. Higher education schools are starting to understand the value of individualised learning.
That is where adaptive learning technologies shine. In short, adaptive learning is all about delivering personalised learning experiences that address students’ unique needs. It relies on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics.
These tools track adaptivity factors, such as learner performance, level of knowledge, demographic data, learning style, content preferences, etc. Based on these variables, adaptive technology tailors learning experiences to a student’s specific requirements.
Educators can also use AI to predict learners’ future requirements based on their past performance and questions.
Many universities across the globe are investing in adaptive learning systems. One of them is the University of New South Wales. In cooperation with six other Australian universities, it designed adaptive tutorials. Their main goal is to tailor the feedback and lessons to each learner, providing highly targeted learning experiences. That approach to education has significantly improved student performance. According to statistics, it reduced failure rates from 31% to 7%.
With the rise of the EdTech industry, educational methods are constantly changing. The technologies mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. Their primary goal is to make higher education more learner-friendly and inclusive. AR technologies provide real-life experiences, while AI personalises the learning process. Cloud technologies facilitate the transition of universities to the digital landscape and cater to remote students.
Do you have any thoughts on new teaching methods in higher education? We are looking forward to hearing from you!