New Trends in Higher Education

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In contemporary globalized society, the methods of delivery of instruction to learners across all age groups and learning abilities have undergone a complete metamorphosis since the origin of schooling system. Starting from the traditional modes of instruction such as printed matter, concrete objects, specimens, graphs, maps, visual aids to the advent of electronic modes of communication such as radio, television, slide projector, overhead projector, videos, and then moving to the computers, finally came the internet with a large knowledge reservoir and numerous tools of social communication soon to be supplemented by the arrival of mobile apps which are numerous in number so much so that the modern mobile actually performs all the functions of computers. In addition to developments in information technology, the discipline of education has also evolved a long way with the introduction of software approach which takes into consideration the theories of learning, motivation and reinforcement to visualize educational process operating at the behavioral level whereby emphasis started to be placed on using methods which cater to different learning styles, abilities and constraints of diverse range of learners. Today, education is a viewed as a system in which the human as well non-human resources are working together for the achievement of the goals of education, and in the absence or malfunctioning of any of these resources, the desired goals of education cannot be achieved.

There are other emerging global trends in higher education. With the movement of people to from one part of the globe to another corner of the world for better employment, safety or progression reasons, along with the desire of adults to re-pursue their academic goals, continuing education sector has seen boom. Also in the fast-changing global economy, companies focus upon the continuous professional development of their employees. In such scenario, there is an increasing demand for flexible learning options through which adult learners can pursue their knowledge up-gradation needs along with their multiple social and personal responsibilities. These developments have eventually had a lot of bearing on ways of formulation of educational objectives, imparting of instruction and methods of assessment. The penetration of internet social media tools such as Facebook, twitter, Skype, Instagram, Whats-app, email communication and web based technologies such as search engines (holding a multitude of databases) have changed the ways in which our learners interact with society nowadays. Consequently, realizing their potential, present day educational system incorporates these tools of technology in imparting instruction to learners of all age groups living across all corners of the world. A large number of institutes of secondary and higher education have adopted these technologies to impart instructions to the learners in a flexible and quick manner. Facebook, twitter and email communication are increasingly used by educators to share academic information in the form of discussion boards, instantly circulating most recent developments in different subjects; making general announcements about academic program, use of multimedia tools like videos ( online and recorded), presentations (online as well as recorded), online games, encouraging and training students to access online databases to research about their academic content and more recently creating learning management systems where all the instructional material is available to the learner in the comfort of his home through which he/she can progressively learn at his/her own pace. As an icing on the cake, we have other multitude of digital learning techniques like the online seminars and conferences where the learner can keep him updated with latest knowledge in virtually any field of study. As a learner, I have myself gained a lot through such online learning tools- staring from using online academic databases and journals and other open resources including books, articles, pod-casts, videos, presentations, statistical software etc. liberally for my PhD research work. Honestly the major credit of my success in this educational endeavor goes to the digital learning technologies; the online webinars conducted by British Council, Cambridge, Macmillan, Ed-Web community have immensely contributed to my professional development and; most recently the PIDP program of Vancouver Community College which has wonderfully incorporated these digital technologies for imparting instruction has enabled me to continue in my much needed educational endeavor.

As the technology continues to grow at a very rapid pace, new IT specialists and educationists keep on enriching the educational field with even more advanced innovations such as Alternative learning styles, flipped learning technology, online corporate learning, skills measurement, online competency-based training, device agnostic learning, assistive technologies in the classroom, personalized blended learning…. the list is endless!

As an educator I feel it is crucial that I must keep myself updated with the latest advancements in technology occurring everyday. As I know that my learners are tech savvy and this technology brings a great deal of flexibility in their learning experiences as well. So I must utilize these tools of digital learning and should blend them beautifully with the in person mode of teacher-learner interaction. The uses of these technologies as described above will be utilized by me amply in my instructional programs. Although I am already a keen lover of professional development, yet I will involve more and more in such programs to keep abreast with the hardware as well software developments in the field of education. Because as we all know that the ultimate success of teaching does not lie in the amount of knowledge a teacher possesses, but in the extent of his/her effectiveness in making the learning experiences meaningful, accessible and effective for his/her learners.

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