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University 2030

We are witnessing a rapid change in higher education

Tarun Kumar
25th Apr 2019
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Radical disruption, driven by rapid technological change, new work order and globalisation, is forcing universities to redefine their role and the value they provide to their students and wider society. Everything from the emergence of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course)to new learning styles and mounting financial and sustainability pressures are impacting the education landscape.


Changing landscape have forced us to sit and think about how we should educate our children for the rapidly changing environment.


Are we satisfied to develop our children into degree holder educated adults who cannot fit into the jobs of the future?

How the current education system where students accustom themselves to the rote structure of learning need to transform itself into the education system through which we will identify and nurtures every child’s talent?


This will make sure that our children are doing not only what they are talented at but also what they love. Higher education is no different, with rapidly changing delivery models, universities need to redefine themselves to remain the epicenter of human learning.


Curriculum Design shall be centered around global competence and skills supported more closely by employers.


We will witness a sea change in the pattern of teaching in years to come. Universities will look to impart skills to students to ensure they are ready for the changing job requirement. We will see Universities changing from faculty-centric to learner-centric to ensure that skills are imparted with maximum impact.


As per Higher education experts, Universities are coming under increasing pressure to ensure that their graduates are ‘employable’, although preparation for ‘employ-ability’ still rarely incorporated in university courses, and the skills that could make a difference in finding employment and ways to deliver those skills are still not clear. There is a growing awareness of the need to link education to employment.


Higher education systems and institutions are under pressure to reform to provide adequate skills and knowledge for the evolving labour markets. This is increasingly important in countries which are moving towards middle-income country status and aspiring to become knowledge economies, increasing the demand for higher skills. Employers will work with Universities so that students learn the skills they need to succeed at work, and governments also have a crucial role to play. But there is little clarity on which practices and interventions work and which can be scaled up. Most skills initiatives today serve a few hundred or perhaps a few thousand young people; we must think in terms of millions.


In today’s interconnected world global competence & employ-ability depends not just on knowledge but also on attitudes and skills. For students to participate effectively in the global community, they need to develop global competence: the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to live and work in today’s interconnected world and to build a sustainable, peaceful, inclusive world for the future. Many organisations have devised specific frameworks that define the term global competency and Universities need to realign themselves to develop global competency in their students. These frameworks coalesce around the following attitudes, knowledge, and skills:


  • Attitudes: This includes empathy, openness, respect, and appreciation for diversity; valuing of multiple perspectives and social responsibility, or a desire to better the human condition on a local and global scale.
  • Knowledge: This refers to the ability to understand the macroeconomic scenario, current local issues & global interdependence.
  • Skills: These includes the ability to communicate, think critically, analytically and problem-solving attitude. Ability to speak, listen, read, and write in more than one language; collaborate with people who have diverse cultural, racial, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.


In the US, National Education Association (NEA) established a partnership for 21st-century skills (P21) and several other national organisations and began a two-year journey to develop a Framework for 21st Century Learning,” highlighting 18 different skills. Over a period, with near unanimity by all members four specific skills considered most important, mentioned below became famously known as the “Four Cs:


  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity


On-demand & personalized education will boost continuing education


Delivery models have evolved over time from the traditional classroom to online. Universities of the future will offer access to learning in real time, without physical boundaries. Students will get flexible learning experience available on-demand, 24*7 and tailored to their goals. Students will study in multiple modes, switching seamlessly between on-campus, blended, or wholly online, to suit their lifestyle and fit study with work and other activities.


Technology will allow students to access online materials, work through topics, find additional resources and to assess and monitor their progress. It will encourage students to be active learners and teachers to engage with students one to one or in small groups.


Effective personalized learning systems should include the following features:


  • Teaching is in line with established college and career-ready standards as well as developing the social and emotional skills students need to be successful in college and career.
  • It encourages students to customize their learning experiences to reflect their interests.
  • Learning is at the pace of each individual student, this means students can move ahead when they are ready or take a slower pace until they fully grasp the material.
  • Teachers have access to data from student assessments and feedback in real-time so they can adapt materials and intervene to help students when necessary so that students remain on track.
  • Access to understandable, transferable learning objectives and assessments so that students understand expectations in advance.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently received a great deal of attention from the media, entrepreneurial vendors, education professionals and technologically literate sections of the public. The promise of MOOCs is that they will provide free access to courses, cutting-edge courses that could drive down the cost of university-level education and potentially disrupt the existing models of higher education. This has encouraged elite universities to put their courses online by setting up open learning platforms, such as edX. New commercial start-ups such as Coursera and Udacity have also been launched in collaboration with prestigious universities, offering online courses for free or charging a small fee for certification that is not part of credit for awards. Larger corporations such as Pearson and Google are also planning to move into higher education and are likely to adopt a MOOC-based approach.


Today’s top five MOOC providers by registered users:


  • Coursera – 37 million
  • edX – 18 million
  • XuetangX – 14 million
  • Udacity – 10 million
  • FutureLearn – 8.7 million


By the end of 2018, over 900 universities around the world had announced or launched 11400 MOOCs. That includes around 2,000 new courses that have been added to the list this year (down from 2,500 courses in 2017). The number of available MOOCs has grown drastically in the last few years because of scheduling policy changes. According to Forbes, Coursera’s estimated revenue for 2018 is $140 million, up from Class Central’s estimate of $100 million in 2017. Udacity’s global revenue grew by 25% in 2018 clocking a revenue just shy of the $90 million mark, up from $70 million last year. FutureLearn, which is looking to raise £40 million, had a revenue of £8.2 million in the last fiscal year (to the end of July 2018). These trends showcase the need for and success of on-demand education.


Nano-degrees and micro-learning will be new focus of Universities


In the coming years, degrees won’t be the only qualification a university can offer you. As the world continues to change, you must top up your skills during your career, or change industries altogether. Universities are moving toward a mix of micro-degrees, nano-degrees and shorter cycle courses. Micro-learning (sometimes referred to as micro-learning or nano-learning) is a strategy for delivering instruction in a method that fills in skill gaps quickly. Many instructors are incorporating micro-learning or nano-learning into their everyday instruction. The idea is to take complex subjects and break them up into bite-size learning pieces. This will improve retention and make concepts easier to grasp. This strategy is perfect for e-learning type scenarios and it’s the model the MOOC delivery companies are going to follow.


Learning never stops.


MOOC’s will work with industry partners to co-create qualifications that respond to industry changes and move rapidly with the changing needs of the workforce. Micro-learning will gain enormous traction in the coming years as it is more than simply bite-sized training assets. Micro-learning is focused and offers just the right amount of information necessary to help a learner achieve a specific, actionable objective. This makes micro-learning in business contexts especially valuable.


Micro-learning lets learners select and use assets most applicable to their current needs on whatever device is most handy, making the training even more relevant to their work. This learner-driven nature of micro-learning increases engagement improves training and job efficiency and builds learner interest in seeking additional training opportunities. Steps taken by various MOOC shows that nano-degrees, MicroMasters and Micro-Degress will become mainstream. Udacity won a trademark for Nano-degrees in 2015. And in April 2016, the non-profit edX, founded by MIT and Harvard University to deliver online courses by a consortium of colleges, applied for a trademark on the word MicroMasters And MicroDegree.


New assessment models powered by AI to measure skills


In order to re-imagine the future of assessment, we must ask ourselves what is the real purpose of assessment? In their current form, assessments are used to measure everything students have learned. High-stakes summative assessments are used to determine whether students pass or fail a class. These same assessments are used to judge the performance of Universities.


Rather than use assessments as the final test of what students have learned and how well teachers have taught them, we should use assessments to measure student progress all year long and help them through the challenges they have faced during the learning period. These formative and diagnostic assessments, as opposed to the traditional summative assessments, will change the way we evaluate our students.


We will also have to measure the skills as they are demonstrated in the real world over and above the current structure of summative, formative and diagnostic assessments. There is a need to develop the new age digital apprenticeship model to ensure learning and the assessment that followed was identical to how the skills were demonstrated in the real world. Most types of performance assessment reflect this model. In this model, the learning and assessment are too closely linked hence It only works for specific skill sets, but as we move towards transversal skills, performance assessment cannot accommodate the variety or range of applications.


We envisage that the upcoming assessment will not only provide meaningful information to plan and adjust instructions but also measure the demonstrable skill level of students in a real-world scenario. Embedding/Stealth assessment directly into the learning context–i.e., more closely integrating assessment with curriculum and instruction–should make assessment information more actionable for formative purposes. Such assessments will be integral components of any time/anywhere, online learning environments into which those assessments can be seamlessly fit. We will define the exclusivity of the university basis the quality of their assessment conducted. Over time, the improvement in the quality of assessment will predict the career path of the students and their success rate.


With data from student work flowing through specialised software and algorithms, classrooms will benefit not only from rich analysis across new measures of student performance and the meaningful insights that result from it but also from the speed at which they get that information. Tools that automate analysis provide results for mountains of data in real time, meaning teachers can make adjustments based on what’s happening right now instead of what happened weeks or months ago. It also takes the burden of analysis off of teachers, allowing them to spend more time acting on the results.


In future digital technologies will perform as amplifiers of human abilities and will also have the potential for creating new human capacities. Future assessments in education will need to document human abilities in their amplified state and newly emerging human capabilities. Even we can anticipate increasing demands for abilities that relate to adaptation to randomisation: pattern recognition and generation of patterns; rationalisation of contradictions; the adjudication of relational paradoxes; and the capacity for virtual problem-solving.


In the 2nd half of the 21st century, assessment for the development of human capacities will be the norm. Assessments in that new age will need to be diagnostic, prescriptive, instructive, and capable of documenting what exists — capturing the processes by which abilities are developing and modelling the achievements that are the ends of assessment, teaching, and learning.


Long term industry connect shall imbibe corporate culture into university setups


In the last decade, we have witnessed numerous research deals between companies and universities. Companies, which have been reducing their spending on early-stage research have been increasingly turning to universities to perform that role, seeking access to the best scientific and engineering minds in specific domains.


Instead of one-off projects, both sides have become much more interested in forging long-term, collaborative relationships. But both sides face familiar obstacles, especially in navigating non-disclosure agreements and creating a flexible but constructive master research agreement that accounts for potential intellectual property (IP). The advantages of having an R&D presence in industry clusters near major research universities are well known.


Silicon Valley, with its proximity to Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, has long been the paradigm for innovation ecosystems. In India, Bengaluru has come up as the desired destination for tech companies because of the availability of talent and entrepreneurial spirit. Instead of just monitoring early stage research at universities and pouncing when something of interest emerges, smart companies increasingly seed it in areas of interest to them.


#futureofuniversities #microlearning #AI #ML #edtech#Education #MOOC #courses #coursera #udacity#futureofwork #madewithudacity #attitude #skill #knowledge #NEA #P21#criticalthinking #edx #pearson #googleedu #google #xuetangx #microdegrees  #stanford#universityofberkeley #siliconvalley



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