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Learning in your hands: what will the future of online education look like?

From personalisation to virtual reality, this year looks set to introduce new digital trends into the delivery of online degrees. These technologies could offer fresh means to convey programme content, but what might the future partnership between online students and faculty look like?  

Senior Learning Designer, Nick Johnston, who works to develop every aspect of our 100% online postgraduate programmes, believes there will be a shift towards greater student autonomy:

In terms of pedagogy, I think we will move towards putting the creation of learning objects and artefacts into the hands of the student,” he explains.

By this I mean giving students a chance to create their own videos and podcasts, put their own presentations together and do their own research. Facilitating independent learning is the way I think it has to go. That to me is where the future of online education is.”

Of course, that’s not to say that the online faculty will become obsolete.

It’s about enhancing the student experience by giving them the springboard to shape their own learning,” adds Nick.

As students gain more autonomy, they have the freedom to use a wider range of tools to demonstrate their learning. Online lecturers are then able to introduce programme content in increasingly concise formats to complement students’ learning alongside their busy careers.

“An example of where this is happening is in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation module of our Online MBA. This already includes the use of a free-to-download Strategiser tool, which students use to put together a business case for a new start-up company,” Nick explains.

My belief is that we’ll see more granulated content - little bits as opposed to vast swathes. We know that reading huge amounts of content can demotivate online students, so I think we will see a lot more shorter videos, bitesize chunks of learning and more use of custom tools such as podcasting tools to create individual learning artefacts.”

Recommended read: The ‘universal’ learning experience - building 100% online degrees for optimum student engagement

The growth and demand for flexible online education is leading to an increased availability of different subject areas. So, is there scope for any degree to be offered 100% online?

I think if you’re creative enough, yes. It’s about adjusting the way you think about how learning content can be delivered and how assessments can be undertaken in order to successfully deliver content online, and gain maximum student outcomes,” Nick explains.

All degree programmes, both online and on campus, have to meet a set of quality assurance standards in terms of how they are assessed; this is what equals their qualification value. As the techniques used to facilitiate online education continue to diversify, student assessment may also take new and innovative forms, enabling a widening variety of subjects to be delivered online.

If you’re interested in learning more about our 100% online postgraduate degrees, please download our brochure and a member of our Admissions Team will contact you.

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