3 Most Exciting Higher Education Learning Trends for 2018
With technology degrees proliferating at unprecedented rates and the education sector taking more and more cues from the technologically inclined in their midst, chasing learning trends in higher education into the next year is going to lead any inquisitive mind down a path that involves computer science education in ways that just haven't been seen before. Even courses that focus on non-science topics have seen an uptick in combining traditional teaching methods with emerging blended media techniques.
The future of education may retain its basic teaching roots for the foreseeable future, but some of the potential developments in 2018 and beyond are promising to shake up the way universities and colleges alike approach their curriculum.
1. K-12 Classes Are Pushing for Technology Integration
While not an immediate boon for higher education, the public education system is finally opening its eyes to the need for expanding the role of technology in the classroom. According to The Tech Edvocate, technology in the classroom promises to swell by 2018 with over half of polled schools reporting some form of technological blending in the classroom to supplement traditional techniques.
What does this mean for higher learning, though? Simply put, students who are raised in schools that embrace digital teaching techniques are more likely to respond well if those same methods are used in their schools of higher learning through familiarity with the medium and expanded technological know-how. The only true obstacle to more equipment in the classroom seems to rest in the realm of budgetary concerns, as always.
According to The Journal, budget increases in the technology department are reported at up to half of public schools and under 10 percent report lowered tech budgets when compared to the last school year as of early 2016. Those who suffer from lowered budgets are finding budget-friendly ways to improve their technology friendliness without going overboard on their spending.
These developments promise to push students into a world of technology more quickly and efficiently than before. Computer science degrees, along with programming, infrastructure maintenance and other tech-heavy pursuits are pushing tech colleges in California into the limelight as the Bay area's thriving tech scene continues to flourish. Considering the average pay of computer science majors, now's not a bad time to jump into the field.
2. Artificial Intelligence is Advancing Swiftly
There may still be decades ahead of us without teaching environments completely embroiled in AI-friendly settings, but the world of artificial intelligence is approaching a state of usability that might see enhanced use in the next classroom year. Tracking movement, correcting spelling and real-time data searches are but a few of the current applications of AI in a learning environment, yet there are countless ways we could fold classroom assistants into our learning routines without missing a beat.
Consider the current difficulties in tailoring an entire student body's worth of coursework into lessons that effectively target weaknesses in any individual student's breadth of knowledge. There's only so many hours to dedicate to course individualization yet learning trends in AI might sidestep the need for intense human focus on course loads by studying trends in test scores and classroom participation to better cull unnecessary learning from classroom environments.
There are also concerns about AI taking over the teaching process entirely, but it would be better to consider the concept of enhancing one's teaching rather than entirely removing a human from the process. Instead of automating test grading it might be more prudent to cultivate classroom assistants that can offer constructive feedback on assignments to better help a student understand why they were graded as they were rather than simply giving them a black and white grade as determined by a machine learning algorithm.
3. STEM Courses Are on the Rise
Boasting above-average growth and wages, it's difficult to ignore the growth of STEM fields as a whole, which will invariably lead to a shift in higher education as courses re-focus on the importance of math and science fields in the coming years.
Growth as a whole may prove to be a real issue for universities to face, however, as there may be as many as 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018. Projections show growth in the technology sector has far outpaced the rate of higher learning that allows prospective students to fill those roles, which is slowly but surely leading to a hiring process that is desperately in need of bodies to fill it.
While the current trends in higher education trend towards the fields of science and technology it is just as important as ever to keep in touch with changes in learning trends and to forecast possible future growth. The state of our workforce depends on how higher learning adapts to the changing needs of the workplace and those who fail to adapt to these shifts may be left in the digital dust.