Perspectives on the Future of Education: Ed Leaders Weigh-In, Part 5

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This blog is one in a series on the future of education. Dr. Leebrian E. Gaskins, Associate Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer at Texas A&M International University, offers insights on the below questions around the future of education, and how technology plays a role in learner success.

How will teaching and learning practices over the next ten years have to evolve to serve the learners of the future?

Education is now experiencing a glimpse of future learners. The “future” learner has access to the same amount and quality of information as instructors. Unlike the past, learners today have access to more information than in the history of humanity. The access to information will continue to shift the relationship between the learner and the instructor. The instructor and learning become equals in a more Socratic teaching and learning process.

As such, teaching and learning will continue to evolve toward more tailored and customized styles that address the needs of the individual learner. Teaching will become more centered on the conveyance of meaning and understanding based on individual learning styles. There will be significantly less didactic teaching of subject material to a monolithic class.

What role will technology like analytics and data play in improving outcomes for learners in the next decade?

Data and analytics will give increasing holistic insights into learners. This evolving analytical power will give micro-level insights into teaching and learning as never before imagined. A more informative picture of individual learning styles will emerge. An instructor will analyze the effectiveness of each lesson and its tools of instruction on different learner types. Curriculum development will improve with the ability to look across an entire field of study to identify strengths and weaknesses in and among courses.

Artificial intelligence (AI), paired with the insights gleaned from analytics, will improve the presentation of course concepts and materials to learners. Learners, based on their best individual learning style, will have the ability to interact on a deeper level with the instructor and material. AI will not only change the delivery of material but provide warning signs of academic dishonesty, proclivity to drop/stop-out, and other risk factors for early intervention.

How will the college/university in 2030 be different than today?

Colleges and universities fundamental mission will remain similar to today: providing higher education and conducting academic research. However, technology will change how colleges and universities fulfill that mission. Like teaching and learning, many services such as advising, mentoring, tutoring, student health, and the like will embrace new services delivery models.

Technology advances will democratize educational opportunities on an international scale allowing teaching, learning, and research from anywhere at any time. The physical distance between instructors and learners will increase, yet the virtual space will greatly diminish. Around the world, fellow instructors and classmates will collaborate in the virtual and physical. Regional institutions will become more international and large flagship schools will experience globalization of their presence and impact.

What role will technology partners play in helping shape the future of how education is delivered?

Technology partners will enhance their roles as partners in teaching and learning rather than simply being a solution provider. These partnerships will be critical in the evolving educational delivery landscape. Educational institutions will require more interoperability among software to aid in teaching and supporting learners. Software and hardware solutions will need to provide, in a secure way, more data on every person and component of the education process. Partners will become more involved in how institutions support the student holistically in such ways as tutoring, advising, and early intervention.

Dr. Leebrian E. Gaskins is the Associate Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer at Texas A&M International University.

Dr. Gaskins is a fellow of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, a partnership between Arizona State University and Georgetown University, a graduate of the Texas Governor’s Executive Development Program, and Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Executive Leadership for Information Technology Excellence. He also serves on the board of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications and is a founding member of The Texas A&M Chief Information Officer Council of South Texas.

Dr. Gaskins is an adjunct professor in the TAMIU Division of International Business and Technology Studies and holds a Ph.D. in International Business Administration with a concentration in Management of Information Systems, a Masters of Arts in Technology Education, and an MBA. His research interests include technology and its impact on government corruption/transparency, technology governance issues facing higher education, and the integration of technology in pedagogy.

Click here to read part 6 of this blog series