In 2020, students may be able to travel to faraway continents, and attend a school halfway around the world.
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Experts predict technology will facilitate distance learning outside of traditional classrooms, according to a survey published by the Pew Internet American Life Project. In the study, 1,021 education experts and stakeholders including technology researchers, university directors, venture capitalists and Ivy League university professors, relayed their predictions about the future of higher education.
About 60% of respondents believe higher education will look completely different from the way it is today. While, 39% of participants think the traditional college structure will not change drastically aside from a deeper integration of in-classroom technology.
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For now, class attendance, in-person participation and on-campus commitment are key factors of college success. In the future, that may all change.
Teleconferencing, online universities and distance learning will lead to hybrid campuses, experts said. Hybrid campuses will incorporate online learning plus in-person class meetings.
The ballooning cost of a college degree is driving the need for a new school system. Outstanding student debt in the U.S. is upwards of $1 trillion.
“Under current and foreseeable economic conditions, traditional classroom instruction will become decreasingly viable financially,” Mike Liebhold, senior researcher and distinguished fellow at The Institute for the Future, wrote. “As high-speed networks become more widely accessible tele-education and hybrid instruction will become more widely employed.”SEE ALSO: How Higher Education Uses Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]
Many survey participants think the future educational structure will tackle economic stress and educational divides. Online non-profits and online universities are beginning disrupting the space, hopefully making education more accessible and affordable in the long run.
For example, The Khan Academy started by one man on YouTube now provides more than 3,300 free videos for anyone in the world. On the website, students and adults can brush up on a wide range of math, science, finance and humanities skills. Anyone in the world can utilize the extensive video library to learn organic chemistry or microeconomics.
Experts also believe out-of-the-classroom learning will inspire innovation that’s lacking on campuses now.
“We spew it from a lectern; we expect it to be spewed back in a test,” Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism wrote. “That kind of education does not produce the innovators who would invent Google. The real need for education in the economy will be re-education.”
What would you change about the higher education system? Share your thoughts in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.