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How Much Will Technology Really Change Higher Education?

A Pew survey of tech experts and academics reveals that the majority believe a real revolution is on its way.

There's plenty of talk of how virtual learning platforms like the Khan Academy, Udacity, and edX are real higher education game changers. There's also lots of speculation over whether these and other technological advancements will just be integrated into the existing higher education system, or will they truly revolutionize it? In a new report from the Pew Research Center 60 percent of surveyed tech experts and academics say that thanks to the proliferation of technology, "by 2020, higher education will be quite different from the way it is today. "

Experts believe that not only is the time of traditional, in-person, on-campus lectures over, a completely new era of higher education is emerging. They believe there will "be mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning to leverage expert resources." We'll also see a significant shift toward "individualized, just-in-time learning approaches,"and hybrid classes that "combine online learning components with less-frequent on-campus, in-person class meetings." When it comes to assessing learning, schools will take into account individual subject mastery, which means that "requirements for graduation will be significantly shifted to customized outcomes."

Given that so much of the college experience involves building relationships with professors and collaborating with other students, how a more technology-centered higher education system will still accomplish that remains to be seen. How this shift will be accomplished in the next seven-and-a-half years is also an outstanding question. But the experts surveyed believe that change is inevitable due to economic concerns over the cost of college, as well as student and parent demands.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user US Mission Canada

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