The higher education system is a key primer for the economic growth of a country. It is the bridge that helps students move from school to a relevant career. Traditionally, the higher education sector has been at the forefront of adopting technology to enable better learning.
Be it the Learning Management Systems (LMSs), online submissions and assessments, or virtual learning sessions; digital learning solutions are an integral part of the academic framework. The challenge that institutions faced in the past was the widespread adoption of these solutions.
Connectivity to the Internet, disruptions due to lack of electricity, and higher cellular data charges were some of the challenges. All of this took a major change, as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the way we all worked. Academic institutions were no different, be it schools or colleges, online learning became the de facto teaching method. Today ‘online learning’ is no longer restricted to only the rich and the affluent or restricted to some premier institutions. Online learning and hybrid learning models are an integral part of the academic system now. In this blog, we look at how digital learning solutions are transforming the academic learning space, especially in the higher education sector.
Greater Awareness of Learning Platforms
Gone are the days when an institution would only rely on Moodle as their LMS. In the last few years, there is greater awareness among institutions in terms of how they can conduct online classes. Google with its suite of services, and inexpensive Chromebooks for students offers an ideal platform and device that is useful for both students and teachers.
During the pandemic, several schools also chose to go with Microsoft Office 365 and Teams, as a trusted solution for classes. Academic institutions with larger budgets are able to deploy multiple platforms that are tailored to the requirements of specific departments / faculties. There is a noted shift that has been observed wherein institutions are looking for an integrated solution / platform that offers students and teachers some or most of the following benefits:
Real-time lessons through audio and video
Assessment submission and monitoring
Multi-format content support
Live chat for immediate resolution of queries
Dashboard to monitor student progress
Detailed analytics to deliver an optimized learning experience
A refined and clutter-free user interface for easy access
App support and mobile-responsive websites
Easy integration with existing digital solutions that the institution uses
Dedicated customer support
Both cloud-based and on-premise hosting services
Learning Platform and Learning Content a Winning Combination
Institutions would rather choose a platform like edX or Skillsoft that offer both a dedicated platform and a whole bunch of courses tailored for different subjects and learning levels. Options like Udemy and Coursera are also highly popular for their huge library of courses. Institutions can tie up with these course providers and sign up for learning licenses or ink a contract for a specific duration of time, which gives their students and faculty access to learning content from some of the best minds in the world. In India, leading IT giants like Tech Mahindra and Infosys have launched dedicated websites that help students learn and help them become career-ready. Springboard by Infosys is a step in the right direction and there needs to be a committed effort by the government, private firms, and schools and colleges to make such initiatives a big success.
Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Higher Education
Technology aids us to become smarter. Be it the advances in medical science that have increased our life spans, automotive and aviation science that have made commuting faster and safer, or powerful computers and the Internet that all make us part of one huge inter-connected world, technology should be used for human progress. In the last couple of years, the remarkable growth of artificial intelligence and large language models, or LLMs are posing a new challenge for academia and the corporate world.
University professors are accusing students of lazy work and plagiarized assessments. In the modern workplace, chatbots are replacing or diminishing the headcount of customer support executives. Ad agencies are toying around with Chat-GPT and coming up with advertising copy. Graphic designers are using tools like Stable Diffusion, Mid-Journey, and DALL-E to come up with creatives. The challenge is multi-fold, how to ensure that students learn the concepts properly, apply them to solve real-world problems, and submit genuine assessments.
Unfortunately, AI does not teach one empathy or to be an honest person. Values that individuals learn from their families, friends, immediate circle of acquaintances, and the life events that shape them will eventually determine the kind of person the student becomes. So, if there are tools to provide answers there are similar tools to check plagiarized content and teachers will be using them more frequently to determine the quality of the work submitted by students.
The focus will continue to remain on how to find the right balance. AI may definitely help educators in determining which kind of training will work better and have a greater chance of success. It can help lay down the basic framework for designing learning content that is impact-driven and result-oriented. The fact remains that AI will not replace human teachers completely, we will still need wise, learned, experienced, and qualified professionals who will be able to guide students better in achieving their academic and professional goals.
S4Carlisle – Your Trusted HigherEd Learning Solutions Partners
At S4Carlisle, we have been at the forefront of publishing academic and non-academic content for over three decades. As part of our digital learning solutions team, we offer our expertise in eLearning design, thoughtful and result-driven content, and LMS consulting. Be it new learning content design from scratch, conversion of your existing ILT courses to modern digital learning solutions, or guidance in evaluating and deploying the ideal LMS for your college or university, we help you with the right resources and support. Please write to us at email@example.com for further assistance.