Three Trends that Change the Face of Higher Education in the UK

Education becomes more and more flexible to meet the demands of our dynamic world. Therefore, universities have changed their teaching practices and updated the role of a teacher. This allows them to become more student-centred and prepares learners for the new work environment. 

Some of the current trends in higher education are caused by the challenges the sphere has to face. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, universities need to update their practices to maintain the quality of teaching. Social distancing requires institutions all over the UK to rely more on technology and remote learning. Educators use innovations to teach their students relevant knowledge and skills online. Besides, as the UK leaves the EU, the system of higher education needs to adjust to changes in staff mobility and funding. This is a closer look at academic, technological, and political trends that shape education today. 

Blended Learning

Blended learning has become a part of higher education in the UK as an answer to the pandemic. It is a system of learning that combines online studies and in-person interactions. This kind of learning entails supervised remote learning. So, it allows students to study in a safe environment when still getting a high-quality education. 

It allows educators to use new teaching methods. They can combine traditional practices with innovations that digital learning can offer. Educators have access to detailed analytics and reports on each student’s progress. Teachers can provide valuable insights and guide learners on their way to a degree. The use of digital learning alongside traditional classes can make education more engaging. It encourages students to learn outside the classroom and become more self-directed. 

It can entail holding online discussions and a large number of writing assignments. As Professor John Benard, a DoMyEssay expert, notes, this approach to education allows students to develop writing skills. They get a chance to learn how to express themselves better and hone the way they put their thoughts into words. 

New Industry Requirements

Industries are becoming highly automated and higher education needs to adjust to this dynamic and changing environment. This means shifting the focus to life-long learning from simple knowledge accumulation during a degree. Constantly improving their skills, students become more mobile and flexible. It increases their overall employability. University programmes which are more agile will encourage companies to invest in the education of their potential employees, giving universities and colleges additional funding sources. 

What can enhance the transformation of the educational process? In the first place, the use of technology can bring about change. UK universities have already started to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education. For example, Nottingham Trent University uses AI to collect and analyse data on engagement. This technology can also provide virtual assistance and complete some of the more tedious processes, such as checking tests or producing plagiarism reports. Students and teachers can then have more time for creative activities and effective collaboration. 

Virtual reality (VR) is another technology that can help students keep pace with the world. It provides access to a virtual working environment. Here students can learn how to perform actual operations under realistic scenarios. VR allows students to have an immersive experience and thus learn industry-specific skills in a safe environment. A heavy interest in the functionality of VR attracts sponsors’ attention which can make the technology more affordable.

Recruitment and Funding Changes Caused by Brexit

Brexit is still a major source of concern as it produces uncertain outcomes for UK universities. It will affect them in the areas of staff mobility, student recruitment, and research funding. EU students represented a significant part of the foreign students who come to study in the UK. New rules and regulations may lead to a reduction in the numbers of EU students and staff. This could result in lower revenues for universities and create less diverse campuses. The political situation will also affect UK students who study in the EU. They may potentially face higher fees.

A major concern is also caused by the fact that Brexit could potentially impede academic collaborations. The number of EU academics is expected to decrease. British educational institutions may experience difficulties in hiring staff from the EU. Some academic collaborations depend on EU funding and could be affected by new immigration rules.

Indeed, funding is another issue that will require some adjustments. Brexit could mean the loss of EU research funding. Between 2007 and 2013, British universities received €8.8 billion in funding from the EU for academic needs. Naturally, support from the EU covers only part of all expenses. Industry and government funding remains intact. Yet, this loss is not that easy to substitute due to the uneven distribution of financial resources. As a result, some universities tend to be more exposed to Brexit consequences than others.  

Transformation

The sphere of higher education is experiencing significant transformation which will be initiated by the social, political, and labour market changes. UK universities will use technology and online education to supplement traditional in-person classes. This will allow them to address current challenges.

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