Monday, July 17, 2017

Horizon report – 2017 – for higher education

The Horizon Report always makes for good reading. This year's report is no different.

A much more international aspect to this year’s Horizon report. The report is also available in Chinese, German and Japanese. Good to see a less North American centric version, providing a wider overview of possibilities across a wider range of cultures.

As per usual, the report provides an update on to Long, medium and short term trends driving technology development and adoption across the higher education sector. 

Short term trends are already well along the way - these include blended learning design and collaborative learning approaches - something Ara has had in policies in place for over a decade.

Medium term trends include the growing focus on measuring learning, which is mostly driven by Government funding models. Hopefully in NZ, there will be some shifts as per the 'Productivity Commission's report on Tertiary Education'. The other trend is the redesign of learning spaces, something I am totally steeped in at the moment through supporting our tutors as they shift into a brand new building for architectural and engineering studies.

Long term trends include advancing cultures of innovation and an emphasis on deeper learning approaches. Both have been ongoing work undertaken at Ara by the learning design team.

The Solvable challenges are still significant - improving digital literacy is an ongoing task for tutors and students; and the integration of formal and informal learning is always on the agenda as many of Ara students are part-time, working towards a qualification. We also have large components of work integrated learning in our programmes.

The difficult challenges are both interlinked. Closing the achievement gap between students and advancing digital equity. In NZ, it is centred on closing the rates of course completions between students of Maori / Pacifica ethnicity and students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The wicked challenges are managing knowledge obsolescence - with the need to support life-long learning due to the 'threats' of AI and robotics on work and rethinking the role of educators- as education shifts more from a 'one off post-school' to a continual process.

Developments seen to be important are adaptive learning technologies and mobile learning (current), the internet of things and the next generation of LMS (2 - 3 years) and implementation of AI and Natural user interfaces (4 - 5 years).

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