Why higher education needs to innovate the student experience

Monday, April 10, 2017 11:09

Emily Banger by Emily Banger

What we are currently seeing for student experience in education is not innovation, but gradual improvement: the fine tuning of learning through staff training and the improvement of online learning tools. But is this gradual improvement enough? And why does education need to innovate? 

We need to innovate because technology is moving fast and generation Y is moving with it. Out of a recent survey of 1000 16-24 years olds by Jisc, 99% of students think that technology is becoming increasingly important in education, while 62% believe that technology helps keep them more engaged.

Our recent Digital Transformation in Higher Education conference also showcased the need for an education system with fast paced legs. AI was a theme of the day, with the message being that it is already here, and we should get on board. 

IBM already have cases on their website on how Watson can be used in healthcare to improve patient outcomes by supporting medical professional, as well as in finance to make better recommendations to customers. So what's stopping higher education leading on integrating man and machine AI to engage better with students?

Mobile was also another key technology topic on the day, with mobile now being the key device for over 51% of global users to browse the internet.   Educators should ensure that everything can be done on mobile: reading, submissions, classes, and tests. For example, online quiz apps such as Kahoot, which provide interactive real-time group quizzes, should be taken into mainstream teaching practices.

Lastly, voice based search could be a key technology which could be used as a learning research tool in higher education. Open source devices such as the Amazon Echo could be synced up to library databases so that students could access a wealth of information through voice search, ultimately saving time on manual research and allowing students more time for creative thinking.

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So whose responsibility is it to make sure higher education is innovative in tech? At the moment, the onus seems to be on individual lecturers. However, if digital learning is invested in from the top down, this will ensure innovation is being implemented widely and evenly.  

It is no longer enough to teach the right content, we need to teach content in the right way to engage with those who matter most: students.

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Posted in Higher Education, IT and Digital