Technology Trends in Higher Education in 2021

6 minute read
Technology Trends in Higher Education 2021

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the physical and digital world converged and made decentralised computing power, the need of the hour! These unprecedented times forced us to generate new ideas to enhance the technology trends for higher education. In this blog, we will take a look at the emerging trends in technology that took virtual education by storm!

The millennial generation has grown up around technology. The landscape of education needs to be continuously evolving to ensure that this tech-savvy generation remains engaged in the learning process. The pandemic has put the institutions in a position where they no longer have a choice between traditional or virtual learning. Now, it is a necessity to adapt to the latest technological trends if they want their students to produce intangible results. 

As the future of classroom education faces uncertainty, we are already seeing a shift to digital transformation and prioritization of technology around the globe. In the era of digitalization, where digital technologies are used to transform individual institutional learning processes, let us take a look at the most essential technological trends, with a potential to change the way we perceive education, forever. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

YouTube: Simililearn

Sci-fi movies like Tenet, The Extinction, etc have always kept up with the burgeoning hype around artificial intelligence. While we may not see genetically-engineered robots taking over as our teachers, there are a lot of AI tools that may change the future of education.

While AI can not replace the job of teachers, educational institutions need to incorporate it into their curriculum because of the positive learning impact it generates. AI is a great learning-assistance tool for teachers to make learning effective and simple.

One example of the judicial use of AI can be seen in The University of British Columbia. UBC is using an AI-enabled avatar that uses a language learning application called Language Chatsim to deliver responses to students, in a virtual element. 

Thanks to AI, it is now possible for teachers to automatically grade for all kinds of multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank testing. It also allows teachers to evaluate the performance of the students. It can provide insight into student performance and it can help formulate personalized feedback for the students.

AI impacts education through the application of greater levels of individualized learning. Learning software systems respond to the needs of the student, and this kind of custom-tailored education helps students work at their own pace and put emphasis on certain topics that they find difficult and need more individualised training in order to master them.

Explore: Career in Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Outlook

Hybrid Course Models

YCDSB Hydrid Learning Model

Hybrid learning is another technology trend in higher education that became popular in the last year. It combines face-to-face and online teaching into one blended format. Northeastern University allocated millions of money to develop around 200 classrooms for hybrid learning because they believe the hybrid model will remain popular long after the pandemic ends.

Hybrid learning is up and coming as a very effective way of learning. The major reason that contributes to its high popularity and demand is the flexibility – not just in terms of how time is used, but for how courses are taught. The students get the opportunity to work at their own pace and are also in control of how they engage with the material and demonstrate learning, and how they interact with each other and their instructor. 

Not only do students tend to prefer it as their format of choice, but the learning outcomes and academic achievement are stronger with hybrid than for either face-to-face or online teaching alone.

Data-driven Student Analysis

Next on our list of technology trends in higher education is Data-Driven Student Analysis. Technology can help universities and colleges in collecting and interpreting data to improve the learning results. By collecting and analyzing this data, schools can track the performance of students. Data-driven technology is changing the way teachers and the learning process work.

Colorado State University has created the Center for the Analytics of Learning and Teaching (C-ALT), a research centre for testing and advancing the use of data analysis to improve learning practices and help students navigate their studies effectively. This technology trend in higher education can help maintain the records of students’ performance. Data analysis using machine learning or analytics can be helpful for higher education as the evaluation of the student on any subjective assessment will be fair and unbiased. 

Such data can be useful to predict the performance of the student and allow the institution to work on improving their students’ performance. Eklavvya is such an online examination system which is developed using some algorithms which can help you to extract data and analyse it as per your requirement.

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

YouTube: Research Shorts

Amongst the top technology trends in higher education, Open Education Resources is cost-effective and accessible to teachers. Open Educational Resources are any type of teaching or learning materials that are free for teachers and students to access. They not only make education affordable, but are also useful in making it easier for students to learn complex information. They are owned by a public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access.

UNESCO is the only UN agency with a dedicated OER programme. The UNESCO OER Recommendation is the only international organisation setting framework in the area of OER, worldwide.

UNESCO believes that “universal access to information through high quality education contributes to peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue.” OER provides a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of learning and knowledge sharing as well as improve policy dialogue, knowledge-sharing and capacity-building globally.

Quality Virtual Learning

Another major technology trend in higher education is Virtual Learning. Across the higher education landscape, many institutions worldwide are continuing to invest in quality online learning programs. Auburn University, for example, used 3D hotspots to create several excellent modules that simulate Virtual Museum, Virtual Art Gallery, Virtual Lab Assessment,etc. Many people are suspicious of online education as they feel that it leaves out formal faculty structures that have traditionally had oversight for instructional course quality. 

Quality Online education can also promote students’ critical thinking skills, deep learning, collaborative learning, and problem-solving skills. It may help schools expand their curriculum and provide access to education at less cost and can help graduates gain important technology skills to improve their skill set.  Another advantage of quality online learning can be non-discriminatory teaching and learning practices and biased free evaluation since the teachers and students typically do not meet face to-face.

Explore: Benefits of Online Learning

These technology trends in higher education institutions are going to shape the future course of education immensely and it is likely to dominate in the future learning process. While the pandemic brought a lot of uncertainties, it had one universal aspect- we all adapted to the new, technological way of acquiring education and this ‘new’ normal is most likely to be carried on in the future too! We at Leverage Edu have also adapted to these technological trends. Our AI-based finder matches your preferences against millions of data points to recommend you the best courses personalized based on your profile!

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