Technology Trends to Consider

In Three Technological Trends That Set the Tone for Higher Education’s Future author Chuck Dull looks at how the trends of game-based learning, social/adaptive learning, and massively open online courses (MOOCs) could influence the future of higher education. Let’s look at some of his ideas. Let’s see how game-based learning can help a student. Let’s also see how blending social and adaptive learning can help. Finally, let’s look at the possible influence of MOOCs for higher ed’s future.

How game-based learning helps a student

A way to engage students and support their success can be game-based learning. Instructors should look at game-based learning, especially as online education moves more from the periphery of post-secondary teaching and learning to the core.

A curriculum designed using game-based learning is a way to create learning for immediate feedback, learning on demand, and a learning pathway based on competence.

  • With a game design curriculum, you provide for the student with an environment that is agile, engaging, and adaptive.
  • You evaluate the student effectively by looking at achievement, not just memory. You look at demonstrated ability.
  • Imagine that you give the “A” to someone who achieves an outcome, not just passes a test.

Current learning methods face some structural challenges. These include making websites for mobile or adapting learning to fit an existing learning management system. Game-based learning could help overcome some of these challenges. Game-based learning could also help students feel engaged. Students today can see the real world and fail to see its alignment with education. If educational practices do not change, these practices could stop being effective. Game-based educational practices could help.

What could work best for the learner with game-based and other technologies depends on factors such as the organization or company, rate of acceptance, and environment.

We should keep in mind that advances in educational technology, such as game-based learning, can be complex in nature and application. We should also remember that these advances can be a disruption or a trend. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference, especially if the pace of change is fast, as it is today. Game-based learning could be a trend as it offers learning opportunities for the student and the platforms that allow it.

How social and adaptive learning could impact the future of education

Social and adaptive learning could be major factors in the future of education. We still need a way to harness these tools into effective frameworks. Let’s look at some of the issues.

  • Social learning is more than social media, but it is also not an academic learning environment. Social learning platforms can help. These include platforms such as Remix Learning, SuccessFactors, and SABA. These provide learning, when needed, and assessment. We should ask if an organization needs a social learning platform plus a learning management system. Some organizations have both. Challenges arise with storage and capacity issues and the management of varying modes.
  • Adaptive learning technology is a newer pedagogy. We can think about learning theory converging with adaptive learning. This change in thinking would have an impact in how we understand learning and build courses. With adaptive learning, we have a self-mapped learning experience. We also use assessment to measure and adjust direction. Let’s remember that adaptive learning centers around needs unique to each learner. It works with the learner’s unique responses to tasks and questions.

Blending social and adaptive learning could be a way to go in the future. It would offer the student the benefits of each.

A look at MOOCs

MOOCs had an impact in education in several ways. One impact in the future is to adapt a large enrollment LMS. The current impact of MOOCs is that they disrupted approaches to learning, tuition, course design, and faculty/student ratios. And now, we have reached the point where a business model could help by helping innovation grow. Time alone will tell if and how a business model will influence future MOOC development.

MOOCs proved that technology could manage large enrollments. They can also deliver instruction and assessment. Free tuition is part of the appeal, though the idea of free tuition comes in several ways. One way is through the  University of the People, which has been around since 2009. The Technological University of America offers programs on Facebook. The business model uses social media as a way of providing funding.

We will have to just wait and see which business model MOOCs use to fund their future.

By Jeanette Evans