For me, it is to put the student at the centre of the learning experience understanding that education today is much more than simply the transmission of information.
The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report[i] published in Jan-2016 identified the following top 10 skills needed by job seekers in 2020:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgment and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

With the greater diversity and mobility of students together with the increasing numbers of students enrolling in Higher Education studies, technology can help to deliver powerful learning experiences anywhere, anytime on any device. However, simply applying new technology to old pedagogy will not result in better education – there is a need to reimagine education with the student as a co-creator of content, engaging with both it and each other to develop understanding and the soft skills listed above.

Put simply, pedagogical practice must drive the use of educational technology and not vice-versa and for it to be effective it seems self-evident but nevertheless important to state that educational technology like Blackboard Learn™, Moodlerooms™, Blackboard Collaborate™, etc. need to be used and they need to used in ways in which they were designed.

This is not to say that learning is easy, not at all. Learning requires effort and unless there is a Matrix-like plugin to download knowledge effortlessly then time-on-task will still be important and unavoidable.

What we can do, however, is provide information on students’ learning through the use of analytics to better understand the effectiveness of course materials and associated interactions to gain insights into the quality of the educational process.

Looking to the future, I see the combination of natural language artificial intelligence, sophisticated learning analytics and the increasing use of wearable technologies will result in greater personalisation of learning enabling students to be more efficient and effective with increased motivation and engagement in their studies. They will have a personal guide if you will as to what they should be learning, where their knowledge gaps are, how they compare with their peers, what they need to do to lift their assessment scores, etc.

I for one, can’t wait!

[i] WEF Future of Jobs – accessed 19-Jun-2016

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