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Higher education trends

Traditionally, higher education has been something which evolves and changes slower than a snail slips along. However, over the past couple of years the reputation has been shed, and they are embracing innovation and change. New technologies play a part in these developments with new learning models on offer which are better suited to students.
We have created a list of the top five trends in higher education.

1. Online courses and self directed learning

Colleges and universities are expensive, and are not suited to everyone’s budget. Many also do not see that educational institutes prepare students for life at work. It is because of these factors that students are choosing to use self directed learning to gain their skills. There are a wide variety of MOOCs online courses available which are increasingly popular among students. The MOOCs skills can be used to enhance either job skills or personal development.

However, there is still scepticism about the impact of MOOCs on higher education. Advances in technology means that students are able to do self directed learning easily online and on computer programs. Many students before they partake in higher education use free online resources to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to excel in higher education.

2. Competency-based education

There has been a rise of competency-based programs due to the need for skilled workers and the high price of college fees. These are degree programs which allow students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. The most sought after competency-based program is direct assessment. This is a program where you learn something and are then tested on it, once you have passed the test you can receive credit for your skill.

This is a much more affordable way to educate yourself and gain recognised credit. Some universities and colleges enable students to take MOOCs for credits which allow them into the higher education facility.

3. Value of a college degree is changing

There was a time when getting a college degree would mean that you are set up for life and are guaranteed a high paid job and good career. Today university and colleges are more lenient as to who they let in. This means that a degree becomes less valued by employees as more people have them.

However on the other side tuition fees are high and still rising which does put people off. It is because of the high prices that many students are deciding whether to start at the bottom of the career ladder, or study for four years only to come out and start at the bottom anyway. Even though you may have spent four years learning you still might not have the desirable skills for an employer.

More than half employers said that many graduates they come across are not qualified for the job. This means that although students study the subject they do not know how to behave in the work place, or how to work on their initiative. Many employers simply use degrees to filter their applicants as a degree proves their ability to learn.

4. Big Data

Big Data is having an impact on every industry, including higher education. Educators can now design modules, programs and courses based on analysing when, where, and how students use online course materials. This will mean that students can have courses based on the needs of individuals. With big data teachers will be able to create adaptive digital learning environments which will be based on a student’s performance, they will also be able to notice students who may be failing. Big Data will be able to help create more tailored and effective learning experiences for students.

Big Data can also be used in almost every aspect of higher education, including admissions, student services and financial aid.

5. Job skills training

There has been a boom in 2013 of informal institutions offering job skills in their curriculum. For example this year we have seen Metis and Hack Reactor gain popularity because of their job placement success. Self directed learning is getting bigger and the main MOOC providers offer corporate and workplace training to make the students even more equipped for a job. Many employers may see an applicant with an excellent educational background but no idea about job skills.

The major trends are aimed at making college more relevant and tailored to the needs of students today. There has also been a focus on making education more affordable and accessible to a number of different people from various backgrounds.