Prioritizing the Student Experience: Education Trends for 2019
As secondary and post-secondary institutions become increasingly more sophisticated in how they educate and work with students, emerging methods of learning and new technologies are playing a significant role in improving outcomes for students. Educational institutions are prioritizing the student experience and experimenting with new methods to increase engagement and relevance for students in both the secondary and post-secondary spaces.
Here are three education trends we’ll be seeing more of in 2019 and in the years to come.
The creation of active learning spaces is a trend that is has taken off in both the professional and educational worlds. The spaces are designed to offer choices to the student – rather than a traditional classroom setting with theatre-style seating, these spaces may have high top tables, comfortable chairs or even sofas, to encourage active participation and facilitate dialogue amongst the students.
Flexibility is key
Flexible learning is also gaining traction in the educational space. Secondary schools are experimenting with later start times, in response to data that suggests teens perform better if they begin later in the morning. Remote learning can also make snow days a thing of the past, as schools test methods of delivering material remotely when students can’t physically attend school.
Flexible learning can also mean post-secondary schools offering open schedules for their students, to accommodate the changing demographics of students. The programs are structured to offer more flexibility for those students with part-time or full-time jobs, family commitments, or other situations that could impede access to the traditional model of full-time, on-campus learning. Post-secondary institutions are now focused on creating an environment of student success, rather than a defined start and finish.
Designing programs that allow students to enter university without a pre-defined goal, and which allow students to discover their own interests or strengths while learning also creates higher engagement levels and produces better outcomes. BA and BSc programs are now being structured to permit students to course-correct while in program, instead of starting from scratch if they decide that their chosen concentration is not for them.
Technology enabling student success
New technologies are increasingly being employed to enhance the student learning experience. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are being used to streamline administrative tasks and may soon be used to assess individual learning needs and recommend a personalized learning plan, enabling teachers to do their job more effectively and ensuring the best possible education for the student.
Virtual Reality (VR) is being used to provide students with experiences that would otherwise be too expensive or even impossible to replicate in the real world. Biology students can learn about human anatomy via simulations of human organs, and medical students can practice dissections without a real cadaver.
Digital alerts, or “nudging” is another tool being used by universities to encourage student success. Starting before the student even arrives at the school, in the form of texting or emailing the student, nudging is used to remind new students to complete enrolment requirements, sign up for programs or inform them of the university’s resources. Throughout the student’s life at the school, nudging is used for a variety of personalized communications, such as a reminder of deadlines or an offer for tutoring. Schools testing these nudges have reported an up-tick in the success rates of their student goals and graduation rates.
Digital badging, or the offering of new specific credentials within the post-secondary setting, is also an emerging trend. Students can earn badges for a range of skills, from specific technical skills, such as those offered in partnership with technology firms, all the way to soft skills such as intercultural fluency and critical thinking. Students like that they can demonstrate mastery of concrete skills to potential employers, and employers appreciate knowing that the students they hire are already proficient in those skills they need.
These advances in learning methods and technologies are all aimed at providing better support for the student and improving student outcomes. Students can focus better on their course material and gaining expertise in their chosen areas of study, and can explore the options available to them throughout their secondary and post-secondary educational careers. Student success is also the priority at Knowledge First Financial. By providing education and tools to students and their parents on the financial aspects of post-secondary education, KFF aims to support every student in building the financial foundation to achieve their post-secondary goals.
For more information on how Knowledge First Financial can help you or your student plan for the future with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), contact your Knowledge First Financial representative here.