The pandemic has transformed teaching, promising potential for universities to offer interactive, flexible, and personalised learning, in line with the seamless technology students use at home, finds new report.
‘Technology-enabled teaching and learning at scale – a roadmap to 2030’ explores the changing nature of teaching and learning, the promise of a blended future, and the systems and organisational infrastructure that will need to be in place to enable flexible, interactive and personalised learning design for the widest possible range of students.
Keeping up with global technologies
The report finds that student demands and expectations for digital learning will continue to increase even after Covid-19, and organisations are already competing with global technologies used by students at home.
However, universities need to be selective in choosing technologies that are fit for purpose. Professor Alejandro Armellini, dean of digital and distributed learning at the University of Portsmouth notes:
“Universities often focus on adding new systems on top of what already exists. That can be likened to buying a Ferrari and putting it in the middle of a very muddy field. If you buy a wonderful learning analytics platform, only to discover six months later that your data streams are terrible, it’s not going to work.”
Time to act
Findings show that universities need to start planning long-term technology strategies now. This will help students to develop the employability skills needed to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, give staff the stability and digital skills they need, and allow organisations to promote the benefits of blended learning and value for money.
Ian Dunn, provost at Coventry University, writes in the report:
“Universities have learned a lot this year. There has been an enormous shift into the online space and how we use technology, but there has been an intellectual shift as well. People are much more engaged in the conversation about technology — there is collective upskilling and sharing of experience. We are rethinking the whole teaching experience and the role of faculty will be changing, from delivery of content to supporting learning. That’s a big culture change, and it is going to take time, investment and technology.”
Sharing practical steps and advice, the report recommends that university leaders identify gaps in provision and invest accordingly, devising innovation frameworks to make decisions with pace and agility, and focussing efforts on data management.
Such drastic redesign comes with challenges, explains Sue Attewell, head of edtech at Jisc:
“This is a rare opportunity to redesign the teaching offer for students, highlighting the need for better support and upskilling for staff – both technological and pedagogic. Jisc’s learning and teaching reimagined surveys show that the confidence of teaching staff in their digital skills increased significantly between March and September 2020, from 49% to 74%. However, there’s still work to be done to ensure staff are confident and comfortable with technology, in turn ensuring that students receive the best possible university experience”
Nic Newman, partner at Emerge Education says:
“Delivering technology-enabled teaching and learning at scale will require significant resources, and universities are still dealing with huge changes. The report shows though, that it is possible to do so by 2030, and that the benefits reaped by students, staff and universities could be immeasurable. We hope the steps and advice prove a valuable resource for the sector, as it heads towards an exciting technology-enabled future.”
Find out more
Read ‘Technology-enabled teaching and learning at scale – a roadmap to 2030’, Jisc and Emerge Education, and sponsored by LearningMate