What’s trending in post-secondary education? / Self-paced, flexible learning online

Linda White for the Toronto Sun writes: Technology, globalization, labour market pressures, aging demographics and government funding are all contributing to an evolution in post-secondary education.

“We’re seeing a lot more exciting experiments and a lot more interest in changing up how we do pedagogy, how we measure learning and how we deliver credentials,” says Eduvation’s Ken Steele, Canada’s leading higher education monitor and futurist.

He identifies the following trends:

Self-paced, flexible learning

“We’re seeing a variety of different ways in which students are being allowed to learn in a self-directed or personalized way,” Steele says.

Fanshawe College in London offers weekend programs for students who can’t attend weekday classes. In St. Catharines, Brock University offers “supercourses” each spring so students can finish a full-year eight-month course in just two weeks.

Meanwhile, the move towards “blended learning” — a combination of online and in-class delivery — continues. Online delivery allows students to listen to lectures at their own speed and review as often as necessary. Electronic textbooks complete with quizzes allow student to follow their own path. “They’ll eventually get through all of the material but can pursue it in an order that sparks their curiosity.”

Interactive learning

Professors are “flipping the classroom” and posting lectures online so class time can be spent discussing and working on exercises, labs and assignments, says Steele.

Queen’s University in Kingston has renovated some classrooms to create new teaching and learning spaces designed for active and collaborative learning so students are no longer “passive recipients of information,” it explains on its website. Analyzing, applying and evaluating information “engages students to think at a higher level.”

At George Brown College’s waterfront campus in Toronto, health science learning environments were purpose-built for collaborative learning.  SNIP, the article continues @ The Toronto Sun, click here to continue reading…..

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