What will university be like in 20, 50 or even 100 years. Will there even be universities? Or will information we need just be accessible via microchip, directly into or brains? Will we need to go to a physical campus? Or will everything be transmitted digitally.? Will there be hoverboards and jetpacks?
While it is impossible to predict the future, it is fun to imagine what formal education will be like . As digital disruption continues to change the landscape, not just in termsof the delivery of education, of but what is learnt, perhaps there will come a time not of dramatic change and disruption, but rather, of slow and gradual evolution towards learning of a different kind. There is no doubt that as industries and traditional professions continue to evolve and change through technology, that many of the professions that exist currently will be automated or absorbed by technology. However the challenges of the future will also require a whole new skills set that we are not currently equipped to learn or teach.
Learning however, is an innate part of life – after all if we are not learning in some way we are not evolving, growing or moving forward which will lead to stagnation of society and our ultimate demise. It is impossible to imagine a time when we will have learnt everything there is to learn. so while the future is uncertain about how that learning is acquired, it must occur.
Many educational experts and academics have weighed in on what education will look like in the future. Most agree that much of our formal education will occur in the virtual space. This is reflective of a broader trend that is sweeping universities around the world. There is also some agreement that students of all stripes will still need to connect and engage with each other, with their educators and develop networks- an important part of university lifeas well as an innate part of the human condition. So whether these connections happen virtually or physically or a combination of both, there appears to nevertheless be a strong requirement for those connections to happen, and it is highly likely to be integrated into a more collaborative style of learning.
There is also some consensus that the fee structure towards the way in which education is paid for will need to change ( although not much consensus on how) and that university learning will merely be a natural extension of learning that happens from early childhood into primary and secondary education. This seems to indicate a need for changes in the curriculum of earlier stage learning and an acknowledged need to seamlessly integrate what is learnt from very young right into adulthood to keep apace and to ensure preparation for students for whatever the future holds.
Whatever the future holds, university or no university, jetpacks or no jetpacks, it is no doubt going to be an exciting ride, and one we look forward to with eager participation. What do you think the future will look like?