The future of education – flexible, on demand and relevant
Education has often been commented on as being a sector ripe for disruption with emergent technologies and the pace of change. To some extent this is true, but this is more a result of changing behaviours in consumers rather than in education itself. Take the development of educational apps and digital content for example, which have been driven primarily by the software available and used regularly by consumers. This is actually a good thing. It’s good because it means that the orientation and ‘learning curve’ of consumers in an educational context is short. It’s good in as much as budgets can be better expended on addressing learning requirements and working with mass –adoption to achieve efficiency of scale. It is also good in that educators can focus on the core: namely, the development of knowledge, skills and understanding to students (in other words learning!).
So, where does the world of online learning in its current form sit and how will it likely adapt over the coming 5-plus years?
Really good online content makes use of certain key characteristics that are a mix of both mode of delivery and human behaviour. As learners, we like the flexibility of accessing learning on demand. We are also social animals and a good online experience should have the social context at its heart. Likewise, we are on a trend of becoming more time-poor, so we want to ensure that when we are investing personal capital the experience is engaging, outcomes based and delivers what it promises.
From a technology perspective this translates itself into a formal and non-formal education market based on demand. Formal being the domain of K – 12 and tertiary education making use of the flipped class model and being acutely aware of the responsibilities that the collection of personal data / big data brings to an organisation.
At a less formal level, the market trend appears to be heading into a quasi-TED talks / Amazon purchasing model that will have content available in a digital marketplace. This content will most likely have some degree of curation and also be weighted according to popularity / relevance of search. This could range from anything such as an introduction to social marketing through to how to change a car tyre and everything else in between!
For a vocationally focussed online education business like Chisholm Online, our challenge is to be relevant to both the formal and the informal. Some of the larger international institutions are experimenting with similar situations with collaborative MOOCs offered in tandem with more formal qualifications and this too is an interesting model.
The trick will be to marry the efficiency of scale that online technologies bring with the human desire for an individualised experience and the need to be part of a (relevant) social network. Perhaps the saying ‘art imitates life’ into the future will read ‘education imitates life’ and this will be where the real relevance lies.
by Theo Teeder at 15/10/2015 11:53:00 AM in Opinions