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How Higher Education Will Look Like in the Future

How Higher Education Will Look Like in the Future

Over the past year, a series of exciting developments have signaled a revolution in higher education.

  • The growth rate of AI in education today stands at 36.6% during 2022-2030 (Source: psmarketresearch).
  • The global e-learning market is to hit nearly 400 billion USD by 2026 (Source: Statista).

While we can't predict it with absolute certainty, we can still draw an outline by observing the ongoing global changes.

Scope of Higher Education in Future

Here’s how the future of higher education look like:

  • Normalized Online Education
    The pandemic triggered a reassessment of traditional education norms, that forced a shift to online learning. This infusion of digital skills has transformed classrooms into dynamic hybrid environments. By 2026, the learning management system (LMS) market is expected to reach 18 billion USD.
  • Infusion of AI
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionize higher education. The global AI in education market was valued at $2,126 million in 2022 and is forecasted to reach $25,772 million by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.6% during the period. This paints a promising picture of AI fostering a more personalized and efficient educational journey. The future of higher education is being reshaped, embracing AI's capabilities for the benefit of students and institutions alike.
  • Revolutionized Teaching Practices
    A growing number of academic staff have recognized the effectiveness of breaking down teaching into smaller learning activities, like brief lectures, group discussions, class polls, and spontaneous quizzes. Higher education is undergoing a transformative phase, embracing flexibility, active learning, relevant skills, and more effective assessment methods. These changes promise a more engaging and impactful educational experience for students entering today’s dynamic landscape.
  • Continuous Skill Development
    By 2025, approximately 50 percent of global employees are expected to require reskilling due to digitalization. Rather than fixating on rapidly changing technologies, universities acknowledge the necessity of imparting skills applicable in diverse contexts. There is a need to break down competencies like critical thinking and creative thinking into foundational concepts, fostering a holistic learning approach like mind mapping or Socratic questioning. Named after the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, this Socratic questioning involves asking numerous questions to comprehend a topic and this can be applied individually or during discussions with others.
  • Micro-certification Programs
    In response to evolving job needs, higher education is reshaping courses to blend hard and soft skills, addressing the demand for versatile competencies. Welcome Micro-credentials— concise skill-focused programs that offer certification, both online and offline, without a full degree commitment. These certification programs easily and in a short time meet the workforce's need for targeted up-skilling. Higher education institutions are playing a vital role in closing skills gaps, fostering innovation, and maintaining workforce competitiveness. Adaptation to these changes equips students for the dynamic job market, providing support and resources for increased opportunities in a rapidly transforming professional landscape.
  • Change in the Examination Pattern
    Lastly, the shift from high-stakes exams to formative assessments is gaining traction. With traditional exams often measuring short-term retention rather than true understanding, universities need to move away from standardized tests and adopt formative assessments. These assessments, conducted throughout the learning journey, not only evaluate but also encourage students to improve their performance.

How These Changes Will Impact Higher Education in The Future?

Navigating higher education in the contemporary landscape presents several challenges for students and their families.

One prominent hurdle is the shift toward online education systems — a shift that accelerated during the pandemic. Digital learning will continue to shape our educational landscape. Consequently, parents should anticipate additional expenses beyond traditional tuition fees as institutions introduce online courses to equip students with future-relevant skills.

Education is now an ongoing, long-term engagement for many professionals. Continuous learning and development have become pillars of success, particularly in fields like medicine, engineering, data science, finance and digital marketing. The initial years of a professional career may necessitate external financial support for further education, underlining the evolving nature of learning.

Economic difficulties will pose a common yet lingering challenge, limiting access to better colleges and opportunities for many deserving students.

The diversity in teaching adds a layer of complexity for both students and parents. Each institute has its unique system, emphasizing visual or practical learning. This diversity necessitates careful consideration when selecting the right educational institute, which can be challenging and daunting.

How to Combat These Challenges?

Embracing these changes reflects a commitment to harnessing the benefits of modern tools, fostering a more engaging and interactive educational experience for both educators and students. In addressing these challenges, a personalized approach to education becomes vital.

It is important to recognize sustainable practices throughout the education ecosystem and ensuring the satisfaction of key stakeholders is crucial. Revisions, redesigns, and restructuring within the higher education system, coupled with envisioning a transformative and progressive landscape, can enable institutions to provide a quality, student-centric, and holistic learning experience.

A Glimpse into the Future of Higher Education

The future of higher education certainly holds some exciting prospects! With digital technologies taking center stage, the future is poised to become more accessible and flexible. In 2022, the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference introduced the 'Roadmap to 2030' whose six guiding principles include:

  • Promoting greater inclusion and diversity.
  • Balancing academic freedom with public accountability.
  • Fostering inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity to unlock diverse scientific literacy.
  • Underscoring integrity, ethics, and a commitment to sustainability for nurturing a new kind of citizenship.
  • Emphasis is placed on a dynamic relationship with the community, highlighting cooperation for excellence over competition.
  • Envision an educational future that is reflective, cooperative, and agile.

Like choosing entertainment, future students will have more say in their education—deciding what, when, and how. This shift emphasizes low-cost, outcome-based programs, boosting competition and offering students more choices tailored to their interests and budgets.

Final Thought

In the future, educational institutions will cater more to individual needs--- unbundling their programs so students can pick and choose what suits them. A growing number of academic staff have recognized the effectiveness of online education. This infusion of new digital skills and technology has been pivotal in reshaping conventional classrooms into dynamic hybrid environments. Embracing these changes reflects a commitment to the future of higher education. This evolution highlights the adaptability of academia to leverage innovation for enhanced learning outcomes.


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