Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CHANGE is the Future of Higher Education? Tony Bates' Vision.

Question: What can a person who is in their mid-seventies and 3 months from retirement offer the field of education as a whole?

Answer: A lot; especially if that person is Tony Bates.

Source: years he has been actively trying to apply his well-documented wisdom to predict the future of higher education in the developing world, and this month he publishes a vision for the 5- to 10-year time horizon that may cause some interesting reactions from a variety of higher education people including administrators, instructors, researchers, students and leaders alike! Entitled 2020 Vision: Outlook for online learning in 2014 and way beyond, it highlights several key aspects that are being considered at this moment:
  • how online learning and onsite learning are being blended, and how physical barriers to student access to courses are being removed
  • how some higher education institutions might grow their enrollments by being market leaders in mainstream programs while smaller institutions may have to seek out niche marketing strategies
  • how tuition fees in the future may be dependent on the level of service and support that a student wants instead of fixed prices determined by the nature of the program or course in question. 
  • the trend to decrease the time spent delivering conventional face-to-face lectures 
  • how many institutions may begin to eliminate the concept of final exams in favour of outcome-based assessment involving a student's ability to work collaboratively, to exercise skills and to show progression of their competence in the domain 
  • how students will have increasing choice in when, what, where and how they obtain their various educational credentials 
  • how the demand for access to lifelong learning opportunities will continue to grow 
Lots of fundamental and profound ideas are found in Tony's full article. Read it - don't skim it. After you read it, how does it make you feel? Did he miss anything? Is he off-base with one of his ideas? Leave a comment below if you like.