Saturday, May 30, 2020

Podcast - Tony Bates on Future of online learning and higher education - post covid-19

Listened to the podcast from Mark Nichols podcast series - Leaders and Legends in online learning with Tony Bates. Tony spoke about the future of online learning and higher education. 
Tony has summarised key points in his blog.

Covered many points relevant to NZ, especially given the formation of NZIST (the NZ Institute for Skills and Technology tasked with providing vocational education) but much of the chat grounded in the Canadian and North American higher education context.

Firstly, he emphasise that leadership is required in strategising and making decision with regards to the future of learning. How much should online learning be supported and promoted requires planned approach rather than happen due to having to respond to 'forced change'.

To deal with the rapidly evvolving needs of work, learners need to learn the transversal or 'transferable' skills  required to cope with changes wrought by technological, social and economic changes. In NZ, the emphasis on graduate profile outcomes assist with this process but still needs to be supported and promoted more deeply within the sector. Critical thinking was identified as something all employers desire of graduates. Yet, critical thinking is difficult to pin down as it is a mixture of skills, application of knowledge and specific attributes and therefore difficult to be taught and measure. Online learning has a role to play

Thirdly, there is a need for better stucture to ensure lecturers have the skills to teach (f2f and online) and keep up to date as technology and pedagogy progress. 

Then, the role of instructional designers need to be scaled up, not only having one on one relationships with lecturers/faculty but creating templates and working on courses/programmes with wider reach. Has implications for NZIST.

Warned about the need to take care in how online education is promoted as campus based/high costs programmes might become only attainable by the rich and online becomes the option for thoses unable to afford tertiary education. 

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