Engagement and security highlight 7 key trends in ed-tech for 2022

Quality of the online experience will be a differentiator and will be necessary for institutions to stay competitive
By: | December 8, 2021
(AdobeStock)(AdobeStock)
Allen Drennan

Allen Drennan

Learning institutions from K-12 schools to colleges and universities will need to implement specialized and specific ed-tech solutions to meet the expectations of their remote/hybrid remote students and employees. The quality of the online experience will be a differentiator, especially in higher ed, and will be necessary for institutions to stay competitive.

Furthermore, schools will need secure, flexible and high quality remote learning capabilities in the event of occasional shifts to hybrid learning. Notable ed-tech trends will be those that enhance the quality of the hybrid experience for all organizations and institutions.

Trends will be focused on meeting goals in two key areas: seamless, highly engaging online experiences and enabling optimal security. Some of the specifics include the following:

1. Technology with security and privacy at the core

Steps must be taken to ensure that safety and security standards are elevated for all remote higher education experiences. Colleges and universities must ensure student privacy and protect their personal information, identities, and content. New standards, policies and protocols must be created at the institutional level, and that includes implementing tools and technology that are more secure. Accepted standards for technology products will emerge as the demand for secure tools rises.

2. Tools that support the shift to immersive visual communications

Instead of simple video and audio conferencing, future best-of-breed solutions will include immersive video communications that allow remote learners to have the experience and interactions of an in-person classroom.

3. Advanced collaboration tools that promote engagement

Tools are now enabling stronger and more advanced remote communication. This emerging technology will engage learners and audiences in more effective ways that allow for easier collaboration and more active experiences.

These tools should also carry the benefit of building community and relationships among students if they’re learning in person or remotely.

4. More seamless blending of disparate technologies

Hybrid and remote learning is diminished when too many disparate tools result in a disjointed experience. Solutions need to be focused, with authentication and security expectations, and the integration of advanced tools must be addressed.

For example, learning management systems must seamlessly integrate with collaboration tools. APIs are the preferred integration method to connect tools. Along with high-quality remote experiences, remote students need seamless access to administration, registration, and advising.

5. Media will be an integrated part of all communications

All forms of media will be easily available and accessible to remote working and learning solutions and users will be able to engage the audience with whatever form they choose.

6. Hybrid model emerges  in higher education

As we emerge from the pandemic, the predictions for higher education are all pointing towards the hybrid college and university experience as a way forward for colleges and universities. Online and remote instruction create flexible education options that serve the needs of a variety of students. As a result, online learning will be a permanent part of the higher education landscape.

As part of their reporting on post-COVID university learning, Deloitte conducted a survey of higher education leaders that revealed that nearly all respondents agreed that a hybrid plan would be a positive step for colleges and universities. Deloitte emphasized the nuances of a high-quality hybrid remote experience, stating, “The hybrid campus reimagines residential education in a tech-enabled world: a technology-enabled student experience. This is not only hybrid instruction, but rather a blended, immersive, and digital residential experience that fuses the online and physical worlds across campus.”

Success of the hybrid model at institutions will be dependent on a number of critical factors, including levels and quality of technology as well as the availability of services to online students.

7. Success of hybrid model success hinged on technology

McKinsey agrees that success of higher ed online learning will be hinged on the quality of students’ experiences. The firm’s recent research revealed eight “dimensions” that are typically associated with the most engaging online/remote learning experiences.

“We found that, to engage most effectively with students, the leading online higher education institutions focus on eight dimensions of the learning experience,”McKinsey explained. Their research also makes it clear that all college and university experiences are not created equal. “Colleges and universities can take a cue from the early adopters of online education, those companies and institutions that have been refining their online teaching models for more than a decade, as well as the ed-techs that have entered the sector more recently.”

Ed-tech is a critical component of hybrid education programs. The McKinsey report shows that key measures of success in hybrid programs involve aspects of advanced ed-tech solutions, including:

  • Seamless connections to classes and resources
  • Flexible learning formats including self-access and live classroom options
  • Adaptive learning platforms that provide access to testing, assessments and feedback

Ultimately, the ed-tech solutions that will be trending will be those that can provide students and university staff with successful experiences for the entire online/remote program. Higher ed must be able to leverage technology to deliver engaging and immersive online learning and or work experiences for both their students and their staff members.

Conclusion: Elevating hybrid and remote learning

One of the lessons from the last 18 months is the need for more flexibility and adaptability. Remote and hybrid learning creates greater accessibility for students who would not be able to choose a traditional in-person experience. But online ed-tech must be able to meet the expectations to deliver an optimal learning experience and deliver these experiences to more communities.

Allen Drennan is the CEO of the videoconferencing platform, Lumicademy.