Another excellent Horizon Scanning report projecting features of the higher education sector in 2020 and beyond – this time produced by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. It’s well worth reading in its entirety but of particular interest (once again) is the projection that while blended learning may well dominate provision, students are likely to remain wary of the 100% online experience. The report notes that ‘students value the sense of community they get from traditional education. Universities are seen as places of social interaction.’
Cover of the OBHE report Horizon Scanning
Optimistically, Prof Michael Worton of UCL considers that: ‘as the focus on the student experience becomes ever more important, including in the world’s most research-intensive universities, decisions about modes of delivery will be determined much less by considerations of cost and efficiency and more by concerns with effectiveness in terms of student learning.’
Like other future-oriented reports, OBHE foresees a further unbundling of the university experience and the prospect of more direct relationships between students and employers, for example through standardised testing, open accreditation, and employer-led MOOCs. While this does not necessarily mean the end of higher education as we know it, student expectations will necessarily be sharpened by the existence of: ‘alternative and parallel provision pathways which may have relevance for a greater diversity of students in more parts of the world.
What do you think? Check out feedback from our first consultation event on the Digital student experience 2020, or comment below.