Jul 06 2018

Structure Your University for Demand-Driven Education

As higher education enters a new wave of learning, universities will need to focus on tools to help students strengthen their employable skills.

Higher education is starting to enter a new age of learning, with both students and employers demanding curriculums that focus more heavily on skills students will need in the workplace, according to a new report from Pearson.

As universities begin to utilize innovative technology to guide their practice and support student growth, pathways to a more demand-driven education system are starting to become more realistic.

“Education is creating a ‘digital ocean’ of data, where both formal and informal learning activities can generate valuable information for educators,” according to the report. “Digital learning — the use of fully or partially computerized learning — is beginning to fill in the gaps and has the potential to create more sophisticated and portable learning profiles.”

As universities look to embrace the idea of demand-driven programs, it is imperative these institutions have the right tools to implement the many digital elements that go into such an endeavor.

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Digital Portfolios Give Students Insights into Points of Focus

One of the biggest pulls for demand-driven learning is the current difference in opinion between graduating students and employers on how prepared students are for the workplace.

When it came to skills like organization, innovation, critical thinking and information evaluation, Pearson researchers found a 20 percent gap, with students thinking they are stronger in these areas than employers perceive.

Digital portfolios are a way to close that gap. They give students constant updates on their abilities and help professors and students focus on the areas that need to be strengthened.

While some institutions will be able to host this data on their own network, finding a third party may be an easier solution.

At the Georgia College, administrators have partnered with Portfolium to give the 7,000 undergraduate students on campus the tools to monitor curricular and co-curricular work, access and adjust general education assessments, and assess their own competencies through high-impact practices.

Videoconferencing Lets Students Consult with Experts

One of the biggest complaints employers have with the current education system is the disconnect between material taught in the classroom and the experience required to successfully navigate the real world.

According to Pearson researchers, allowing students to gather contextual, workplace knowledge provides them with that missing ingredient they need to become the employees companies seek. 

One way to do this is by investing in video technology to conference with experts and professionals from different spheres relevant to students’ career goals.

For Purdue University’s transdisciplinary studies in technology program, its first competency-based learning program, seminars make up 35 percent of the curriculum.

Tools such as the Dell M318WL projector allow professors to offer high-quality videoconferencing for these seminars, while the mobility of the device gives educators the option to host these conferences anywhere on campus.

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