There are countless online articles that predict how the classroom of the future will look like. The only problem is: they are all aimed at educators. They are inspiring teachers to bring changes in their methods. Moreover, they are focused on primary school teachers. It seems like people believe that only the youngest students need motivations. Then, they will bring those changes into colleges and universities when they get to that level.
We want changes for university students now. We want the world of education to focus on the teaching methods of that category. Of course we’ve seen changes there. But, not enough. Still too many papers and too many classes. Where do you think the evolution will lead us to?
Here are my 10 predictions for the future university education:
1. More teamwork through virtual platforms
Teamwork is the essence of success in any profession. Are universities preparing us well for it? No. Sure, there’s a group project here and there, but students are mostly working alone on their own projects. They are being graded individually, so that’s the excuse.
Teamwork software is getting bigger and bigger. Redbooth, Glasscubes and Basecamp are only 3 of the many platforms aimed at business people working in teams. College students are already using those to connect when working on projects, but I’m waiting to see specific platforms that will be free and mandatory for use during teamwork.
2. More technologies
Need I say more? When you enter the classroom, what do you see? Students taking notes on their iPads, probably. Other than the more modern chalkboard and stylish interior, today’s lecture hall looks nearly identical to the one of 10 years ago. Technology has revolutionized education, but we’re still not using its full potential.
In future, I expect to see greater remote collaboration between students and teachers. We are responsible to contribute towards the online learning community, and we can do that right from the classroom. Tweeting thoughts during the professor’s lecture (of course I’m thinking of tweets relevant to the lecture) should be a standard thing.
3. Personalized learning
This is a huge trend in primary school, but what benefits are college students getting from it? None. Everyone has the same goals to meet. If you’re not catching up with the rest of the class, the professor won’t pay attention to you as an individual.
I believe that we’re going to see learning playlists in colleges soon. Heutagogy (self-directed learning) is already available through online courses. In the future, teachers will be providing some resources in the classroom, but the learning and testing will be more flexible and we’re going to see students managing their own educational growth.
4. Less teaching
The previous point naturally leads to this one. Modern generations of students can’t sit quietly behind a desk, listening to a whole lecture from beginning to end. Professors will be talking less, but they will still support the process of learning by providing proper resources and triggering discussions.
5. Newly-equipped classrooms
If you take a look at Australian public schools, you’ll notice that tablets are almost mandatory. Most of these devices are provided through government programs. I can’t wait to see this iPad initiative being translated into university lecture halls.
6. Flexible assignments
Some students are great at taking tests, but choke when they are expected to speak in front of the class. Others are great at public speaking, but writing isn’t their forte. Each student has individual strengths and weakness, and the future education should be flexible enough to give everyone the same chances for success. We’re already seeing more flexibility in primary schools, so the change in universities is only a matter of time.
Students won’t be getting the same assignments and they won’t be expected to complete them using the same methods. The professors will give themes and the students will choose to write a project, create a timeline or a beautiful presentation, record a video, or show their knowledge through an online project.
7. New subject areas
Social studies, computers, medicine, math, literature… these subject areas have been the pillars of education for a long time. The education will change in this aspect, too. We’re going to see more interesting and rebranded courses founded on modern technology.
8. We’ll see the degree differently
The sustainability of tuition-dependent institutions is being threatened. Seriously, where are universities planning to get with the constant growth of their fees? The motto ‘everyone can get a scholarship’ is a myth. What about average students who don’t belong to a special social group and aren’t that good at sports? Shouldn’t they get a chance for higher education?
The educational institutions have to shift towards more relevant programs based on competence and competition. And, sooner or later, those programs will become more reasonably priced. That will change the way we see diplomas: we’ll perceive them as something achieved through hard work. We’ll stop connecting money to education. And no, I don’t think that expectation is too idealistic.
9. Computers will take over data interpretation
Math and statistics will always be a relevant part of education, but it’s time to face the truth: computers are taking over of the human interpretation of data. The students will still get theoretical knowledge, but the purpose will be different: to use the reasoning to infer logic from that data.
10. Augmented reality
Instead of seeing simple, flat images through a projector, future students are going to see in 3D. That’s possible today, but we’re still not seeing that technology in universities. The 2-dimensional world is boring. Give us something more!
How do you perceive the future of university education? Are there any ideas and expectations on your mind?