With technology advancing at its current rate, resources in our economy diminishing and an increasing amount of people wanting to enroll in higher education, colleges and universities are continually trying to adapt. There is a constant effort to remain technologically advanced, yet universities still want to hold onto the traditional atmosphere that campuses are historically endowed with.
The world is evolving at such a rapid pace that the future of learning has become a highly debatable topic.Â Â A board of professionals in the higher education field have collaborated and made a list of twelve predictions they foresee taking place in the next five years.
Globalization will significantly affect all facets of educationÂ
The competition for jobs has become even stiffer in todayâ€™s society as a result of the internet. China, India, and Eastern Europe are sometimes competing for the same jobs as our graduates. It is suggested that our American educational system be improved in order to be a stronger competitor in the future. Â It is becoming more and more common for college students to study outside of their native country. International students attending our U.S. colleges have decreased since 9/11, but the number is starting to rise.
Conversely, a growing amount of American students are interested in attending international universities for graduate work. In fact, over 2.9 million students are looking into an education outside their native country. Many details of global higher education have still not been taken care of. For example, credentialing across borders is still a contested area.
Changes in teaching methods will become necessary
The student body in colleges and universities is becoming progressively more diverse. This creates issues with learning, as all of the students possess different aptitudes and abilities. Faculty will begin questioning whether the institution needs to provide remedial coursework.
The adult population also ranges in competency of things such as technology,Â communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Our traditional teaching methods must be reevaluated to fit the needs of modern students.
Classes will require more interactive and â€œhands-onâ€ learningÂ
Students today are less interested in large lecture halls, as they benefit more from small group discussions. Â Blogs, text messages, and emails are becoming common vehicles for understanding curriculum, and search engines have become the research method of choice rather than brick-and-mortar libraries.
Studies have consistently suggested that interaction during learning helps students internalize the information better. The demand for experimential learning will increase as students want to learn practical skills that prepare them for their chosen field.
Colleges will need to collaborate with employers, and stay up- to-date on the current job requirements. Universities will need to work more closely with the industries, gaining insight on developing their curriculums and internships.
Colleges and Universities will face decreased funds, while having to prove that classroom learning is still necessaryÂ
With the large debt the United States is currently facing, it is expected that colleges will eventually have to run off of smaller means. On top of that, most campuses were built only with durability and cost effectiveness in mind, rather than sustainability. This leaves them unequipped to support the demands of increased power usage, wireless internet capabilities, and larger bandwidth.
Colleges must demonstrate to critics that valuable learning takes place in the classroom. More accurate methods of assessment are needed to refute the arguments that higher education is replaceable in tough economic times.
Advanced technology will create need for new processesÂ
The modern student has a technological competence that was not present in previous generations. As a result, many professors tend to teach in the manner they are familiar with and avoid updating their knowledge. Teaching with technology will no longer be optional, it will be essential.
IT departments face a growing responsibility, as they are challenged to support the entirety of college operations. If departments perceive any preferential treatment in technical support, it harbors a competitive, rather than collaborative, attitude. Advancing technology will affect every service and activity in higher education.
IT workers will be highly valued â€“ one of a colleges greatest assets and liabilities. To protect their health, promote productivity and efficiency, they should be extensively trained in ergonomic computing and ergonomic principles.
Interdisciplinary learning will become more and more prevalentÂ
Universities are currently structured as separate colleges/departments that do not interact often. They will have to shift their ways to accommodate the rising generation of students who want more of an interactive, collaborative education. Technology may once again be the means of change. Faculty should work together to create a challenging and diverse curriculum.Â
Students will become more responsible for their own educations
The increasing number of students enrolled in home schooling and charter schools indicate that people are growing dissatisfied with traditional education establishments. As online learning progresses, the role of the teacher will change. He or she will become more of a partner who monitors and assesses the studentâ€™s progress.
Student bodies will become increasingly diverse, and the age of the average student will rise
Today, 39% of students in college are above 25 years old, and of them â€“ 18% are over 35. In two-year colleges, the average student is actually close to 30. We are also getting older as a nation, as the percentage of people above age 50 has dramatically increased in recent years.
Some of these people will want to remain in the workforce, and may require additional classes and training to acquire new skills. It will be a major challenge for colleges to teach students of diverse ages and backgrounds.Â
Competition for students and resources will increase among colleges. As a result, theÂ schools will have to distinguish themselves in new waysÂ
Colleges seek to attract bright, motivated students. Similar to corporations who seek a positive image in order to increase sales, colleges would like to maintain a specific image to keep their enrollment numbers up. In the current state of the economy, high enrollments are essential for a university to keep its funding. The brand image of a college is created by and reflects many dynamics of the university. To maximize appeal for their product, universities need to understand the needs and perceptions of its stakeholders, and adjust themselves accordingly.
Colleges and Universities will become bigger contributors to regional economic growthÂ
In the past, the relationship between college campuses and the communities they are in have been a bit rocky. However, they are beginning to become increasingly interdependent. Economic development is experiencing a rise in demand, and universities train Americaâ€™s workforce.
Colleges should become more actively involved in local and regional economic and workforce development issues. Together they can be a strong force that strengthens regional endeavors. Doing so will increase local support for the school when higher educationâ€™s future is uncertain.
College faculty will need to need to be re-evaluated to ensure it is conducive to the current economy and changing student body.Â
Researchersâ€™ predictions for the future of college professors is bleak. It is estimated that part-time faculty with lower wagers will increase, rather than full-timed tenured positions. This will result in increasing workloads, wages that do not stay up with inflation, and more applicants for fewer positions.
These things combined have the potential to create a very stressful work environment.Â Statistics show that the age of the average faculty member is rising. The economy is causing faculty to continue working beyond the normal retirement age, which decreases the opportunities for younger faculty to receive promotions. It also reduces labor costs and decreases the number of new hires, which could possibly bring new energy or techniques to academic departments. Academic leaders need to re-evaluate personnel policies and hire strategically. They must hire a new generation of faculty that are able to work with the changing student body.
Assessment Tools will be used to define the effectiveness of institutionsÂ
Other countries regulate their higher education facilities through a government ministry. The United States, however, has chosen to use a system of voluntary self-regulation instead. Complaints have been increasing against the college education system, citing low completion rates and poor workforce preparation. It has been proposed that a public database be created, which would contain statistics as well as other information about colleges and universities. It would be viewable to the general public in order to provide necessary accountability of institutions. It could possibly even discuss the learning outcomes of students from specific schools. The reasoning is that colleges would have a more significant motivation toward their studentâ€™s success when the statistics are viewable to the public. The idea was criticized for the amount of work effect it would require, and the breach to institutionâ€™s integrity. However, if colleges continue to resist solid assessment systems, they can negatively affect their relationship with their benefactors â€“ the public.
Each one of these predictions presents a challenge, as well as an opportunity, for colleges and universities. Looking toward the future and being aware of changes that may occur in higher education is well worth institutional time and energy. It will guarantee a strong, adaptable academy for the future generations.