The Future of Learning Technology in UK Higher Education

Last year I was approached and interviewed by Microsoft. In that interview I talked about my experiences and hopes for my work, both in the sense of personal development and in how I see (and want to see) the use of technology improve in higher education. This improvement, I said, needs to come from three main areas:

  • How we, learning technologists (in our various roles and titles) perceive technology is being used, can be used, and should be used with students. These students can be classroom based or fully online, or the use of technology in a blended approach.
  • How we work with staff (academic and administrative) to introduce new technology or new ways of working with existing technology, how this relationship with our colleagues grows and whether they are the kind who are receptive to new tools and techniques or ‘ludites‘, and
  • Why we look at new technology, how we work out if there is a use for it and if so, what is it? We’re also fully aware that some technology needs to mature before it becomes an effective teaching tool (either in reliability, resilience, or in it’s adoption across the sector).

From the report:

Learning delivery in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is being reshaped before our eyes, thanks in part to advances in technology and the new pedagogical theories facilitated by that technology. In order to understand more about the ever-evolving relationship between technology and learning, we spent time speaking with six of the UK’s leading learning technologists working within HEIs.

In a series of interviews exploring current practice, changing needs and key trends, we were able to establish how digital devices are being used in universities and how cutting-edge technology can continue to compliment a sector experiencing fresh emphasis on collaboration, creation and innovation.

Key take-away messages from the interviews and report look at things like our ability to be device agnostic (despite this being a report from Microsoft Surface), seamless capability, VR and AR developments, AI, collaborative working and learning analytics.

David Hopkins reiterated the point (investment in institutional infrastructure) that the role of a learning technologist is “to make sure that the academics use their time with the students efficiently.”

Alongside key “UK’s leading learning technologists” like Mike Sharples (OU), Terese Bird (Leicester), Neil Morrise (Leeds), Rose Luckin (UCL), Dave White (UoAL) and myself, the Microsoft report concluded that “the revolution in learning technology is quickly becoming the most significant factor in improving student performance – in turn helping universities to fulfil their transformative role for society, the jobs market and the economy.”

Download the Microsoft Surface report here: The Future of Learning Technology in UK Higher Education.

  • sonia

    Its really good and informative.

  • I love this article and the ideas that are shared within it. One thing that technology does not do though, is a promise that any of those changes will be a benefit to the student. This still falls on the shoulders of the teacher. Technology offers the potential to change things for the good, but the teachers have to see the potential in order to do the things that are impactful.

  • Hi,

    Great post.

    I agree that technology is playing an integral role in reshaping the learning delivery in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). In fact, the elearning domain, to a large extent, is witnessing rapid changes to keep up with the growing demands. The focus is placed upon make learning deliveries (keeping the demands of students and teachers both).

    Just a month back, when I was scouting for an elearning tool, I was suggested that I empower my learners with ProProfs Training Maker because this cloud-based platform will allow me to make learning fun and mould it accordingly.

    The point I am trying to make here is that the future of learning is and will heavily depend on technology.