￼Education 2030: A Digital Export
￼The number of results a Google map search for ‘colleges in London’ pulls up today could easily be mistaken for a coffee shop search. I suspect that a similar search in 2030 will look very different!
Technology has disrupted traditional business models across a range of industries; music and publishing being notable examples. It is going to do the same to education over the next two decades.
The social, cultural, economic and political impact of such an event would be significant, to say the least. We are living in an age where what worked in the past is increasingly losing its relevance in creating our future. So is the idea of a 3-year degree being relevant to a career spanning decades.
The increasing reliance on technology will continue to blur geographical boundaries
As a result the furrows of education as we know are bound to turn into broad learning fields. Learning (not necessarily education) will become a continuous part of our lives, consumed in smaller bytes – based on virtual ￼interaction and available on-demand.
Credit ‘accumulation’ from multiple institutions over a prolonged period of time is expected to be the norm in attaining a qualification with face-to-face pedagogical experience becoming a premium feature and largely restricted to facilitating interaction and discussion.
The increasing reliance on technology will continue to blur geographical boundaries giving learners greater choice and flexibility in what they study and from whom. This is bound to foster fiercer competition and increased level of collaboration between HE institutions, which bodes well for the student of the future.
Pricing models too will reflect the very digital nature of learning; micro-priced but with large amounts of content available for free. In real terms, the cost of learning will reduce as technology gets better entrenched. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are already paving the way towards this new future with free course delivery.
Although there are reservations about their business case and effectiveness as a learning tool, MOOCs such as Coursera and edX have helped online learning break into its next level of development.There is an argument that technology will never be able to replace face-to-face interaction.
Yes, it may not for this generation. However, for the learner of 2030, born into a world of tablets computers, more adept at operating a touch screen than a pencil, technology will be second nature.
Social media addicts amongst us are already experiencing the digitization of interaction with our friends and family, once considered to be impervious to technological advances. Words such as education, learning and interaction will have a very different context to what it is today.
The UK Higher Education sector will need to adapt and fast to respond to the demands of the learner of 2030, who will expect the best, delivered in a manner and at a time of choice. Technology will play a key role in enabling ingenious partnerships between institutions and a differentiated learning experience.
UK institutions that fail to embrace this technology-led future of education risk the same fate as the now long gone manufacturing bastions of England
Some of the Ivy Leagues have already made a head start in this direction, with offerings such as MOOCs, ￼spreading their sphere of reach wider and making it more accessible. They have, in a way, started to define this new future. For others, standing still is just not an option anymore.
UK institutions that fail to embrace this technology-led future of education risk the same fate as the now long gone manufacturing bastions of England. This metamorphosis in education will also create a level playing field for those institutions that do participate. What they do next will be decisive if they want to survive and compete in the digital future of 2030.
UK and India, with their legacy of relationship, have the opportunity to together create and not just follow this new future. The ‘Made in Britain’ brand of education is well placed to cater to the needs of this emerging economic power. The partnership will however require an unrelenting, collaborative Copyright 2013
Education providers on both sides must start to look beyond the often problematic and rarely successful traditional bricks and mortar approach. HE managers in India need to embrace technology for the power it holds in transforming the sector struggling to cope with high demand and low quality of education.
UK institutions on the other hand need to understand the complex and sometime counter intuitive social-economic-technological nuances of India – a country that leaped a generation in technology adoption is most likely to do so in education too. UK institutions would be well advised to start preparing for this leap. India could very well be the catalyst that leads the UK into the digital era of education.