UK: Higher education must learn from good tech practice around the world

The UK's higher education sector must embrace and maximise digital technologies if it wants to stay ahead of international competition.

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The UK's Higher Education Policy Institute has published a new report, Rebooting Learning for the Digital Age.

The report has reviewed best practice in HE around the world to show how adopting digital tech can benefit universities and their students.  It concludes that the benefits of adopting tech in this way is a rare example of a policymaking win/win/win.  Universities can simultaneously improve their education offerings, cut their costs and help students.

Examples of good practice include

  • Learning analytics are being used to improve university support systems and student retention (In Australia, the University of New England reduced student drop-out rates from 18% to 12%)
  • Learning analytics are also being used by students to monitor their own performance In the UK, at Nottingham Trent University, 81% of first-year students increased their study time after seeing their own engagement data

7 recommendations

  1. Institutions should ensure that the effective use of technology for learning and teaching is built into curriculum design processes.
  2. The UK higher education sector must develop an evidence and knowledge base on what works in technology-enhanced learning to help universities, faculties and course teams make informed decisions.
  3. Institutions that do not currently have learning analytics in place should plan to adopt them at the earliest opportunity.
  4. Researchers should consider how the learning analytics big dataset can be harnessed to provide new insights into teaching and learning.
  5. Digital technology should be recognised as a key tool for HE.
  6. HE institutions should ensure the digital agenda is being led at senior levels – and should embed digital capabilities into recruitment, staff development, appraisal, reward and recognition.
  7. Academic leads for learning and teaching should embrace technology-enhanced learning and the digital environment. 

The full report can be downloaded here.