Spread of pandemic in the world has expedited the future of education and is auguring new challenges. Traditional brick-and-mortar universities and colleges as well as faculties are changing their perceptions toward learning methods and embracing online medium and other changes. Wherever the education was heading before, COVID-19 has accelerated its pace.
Campuses are closed, and teaching-learning has moved online. Learning is assuming new dimensions where student engagement is becoming more important than curriculum structuring. Initially apprehensive institutions and faculty are reacting positively to the new education trends.
As COVID-19 expose vulnerabilities of the education system and bring new patterns to the surface, we explore the changes, which are more permanent in nature and are here to stay. A rundown.
5 COVID-19 Trends in Higher Education
1.Falling Offline, and Increasing Online Student Enrolments
The reasons behind falling student enrollment (especially in higher education institutions) are twofold – first is the current incapacity of institutions to conduct physical classes, something which is driven by current times of coronavirus, and second is a symptom reflected by the education sector since long. It is the decreasing effectiveness of only degrees in improving employability of the students.
Alternatively, the number of online endeavors in colleges, and universities are rising. Many institutions didn’t have any online education programs before-COVID-19. Now, most are making use of online learning medium and have devised their programs to deliver education remotely.
2. Importance of Information and Communication Technology
Online education is becoming the norm, and it will remain either in hybrid or standalone format. It is important that teachers and students get access to the free and open source technologies. Traditionally styled readymade content for different education disciplines will n to sit well with online form. The technology will need to be integrated in human relationships and repo development between faculty and students.
3. Frictionless and engaging student experience
One of the biggest lures of university education for students was the campus experience. Cafeterias, dorms, and other physical facilities together formed the education experience for students. In an online age, recreating that experience online and keeping students engaged will be paramount for a bright future of higher education. Teachers need to find innovative solutions to use digital tools and approaches creatively.
4. Fluid workforce and need for teacher training programs
It is important to keep students engaged in distance and online education, but it is as necessary for teachers too. A teacher’s aptitude and attitude set the tone for a classroom, and this is even more crucial in remote learning format. As teaching staff works remotely and fluidly, conducting training programs tailored for new age are a must.
5. Need for business model transformation
Last, but not the least, the business model of higher education will need to be revisited. It involves pedagogy redesigning, curriculum restructuring, efficient use of ICT, and most importantly, determining the financing structure. Would you cut down expenses from one area and direct them at another? Would you like to scale your online programs, or limit them to a small cohort? Many such questions will need to be answered as institutions reallocate their priorities.
It is expected that higher ed business models of the future will reflect a hybrid mix of online and offline learning mediums. A few important points education leaders must consider:
•For decades there has been downward pressure on reducing tuition.
• Fiscal challenges for institutions have become alarming as an investment in online infrastructure becomes inevitable.
• There is a challenge of creating sustainable, and mission-driven education that is rich in developing professional competence in students.
New methods of learning, and new perspectives are finding a place in education sector. Are you ready today for the tomorrow, which has arrived a bit too early? Reimagine teaching and learning.