With so many new technological developments, colleges are having a hard time deciding which tools to use, which to discard and how to figure that out. The answers depend on the school: what their research, educational and financial goals are. From the perspective of student experiences and behavior, institutions cannot possibly proceed fast enough to accommodate their needs. For example, the medical school students sometimes (but should always) have access to computing that includes 3-d modeling of patients that includes “game” like practice. Surgeons practice surgery without having to work on a person… yet. And future ER doctors and nurses practice on dolls that include programs that react as they would in an emergency situation.While that seems like these technologies are the “coolest” thing around, what actually is making the biggest impact on the student experience is the utilization of cloud computing. Students do work online… not just attend online classes, but research, write papers, study with other students and they also store their work there. They carry around objects that allow this learning anywhere they are. While the traditional student a few short years ago was trapped in their dorm room, books in stacks all around, debating whether or not to hang out or stay home and study, these students can work on their way to class, waiting in line at the store or at the doctor’s office, etc. Their books are more often than not available online. The research that they do via the library catalog allows them to search not only the physical books but also databases for peer-reviewed material and ebooks in an instant. And, rather than printing out or downloading the information, they simply remember where it was or keep track of the information via tools that record their searches. (Many of these tools are available currently in the databases.)Most of the students I work with have laptops or tablets and nearly all of them have smartphones. Panera, McDonald’s, Krystal’s and other restaurants have all made wireless available for free, so these are places where you will see students. Although, let me clarify, most of those students are over 30. The Y-generation students, however, are utilizing wireless technology via the cell phone and apps that get them online for free. They are able to access the internet anywhere there is a cellular signal… And that is much more prevalent than wireless that is attached to a building or cable line. It is a little bit slower on 3g, but on 4g, it is almost like you are actually wired directly to a DSL line.With tools like GoogleDocs, Dropbox, and other cloud based editors and storage places, the ability of the research student to keep track of their research is much broader than it ever was. Also, the students can now easily cite any material that they find online (again, via their tablet, phone, laptop). The paper they are working on is being written and cited simultaneously. There are millions of phone applications (many are free) that allow students to practice surgery, deal with a patient that is in cardiac arrest and learn how to assess a patient with Alzheimer’s (on the phone or computer). They can look at 3-d versions of any part of the human anatomy (inside and out) and view thousands of MRIs, CT scans, X-rays and videos of actual procedures. Academicians need to see that these technologies are there and students are utilizing them.Oh, and they can talk to their Grandma on Facebook. The social networking platform and text messaging keeps students in touch with each other so that the student learning experience is integrated with the social.The ability for human beings, not necessarily gifted, geeky or introverted, to interact with technology in ways that enhance the “human” experience, such as sharing, loving, talking, arguing, turned computing into an extension of living. The human behavioral side of things is what will continue to evolve businesses, governments, research and education radically over the next few years (moments) in ways that traditional, bureaucratic or money-driven organizations can’t even see yet. The people will influence virally.There are many more emerging technologies that go way beyond the ones mentioned here, from foldable or 3d displays, “sixth sense” technology, crowdsourcing and free classes at MIT, our world is evolving faster than we can ever dream of catching up with.
As a leader in any organization or business, one of your greatest challenges is figuring out how to help your people learn and grow so that they will be more effective and add to your bottom line. The problem is that our own experience and education does not prepare us for the modern world of adult learning. The examples we saw in high school and maybe even in college don’t really apply integral world where we have to compete with the job, stress, families, leisure time in order to make a difference in our people’s lives. What can a manager do to solve this problem?Fortunately, there is plenty of excellent research in the area of adult learning that can be put to immediate use by practical manager. Although they’re a many different theories there is some common principles upon which they all agree, by focusing on these core principles you will definitely be able to help yourself and your people learn and grow and move along the path to success.The mainstream theory tells us that adult learning is based on the following principles:1.Reciprocity: this means that there’s a direct link between the learning and the students goals.2.Experience: adults look for practical evidence that what you’re teaching has real value in their world.3.Problem-solving orientation: let’s face it, most of our work in the real world involves solving practical, difficult problems. To be successful we need to know how to solve these. If you can show them the way that all you have to do is get out of their way and they will learn.4. Individualized and self directed: people have their own strengths and their own preferred ways of learning and you need to find ways to tap into that individuality and let them work at their own pace. If you can do that they’ll take care of most of the learning themselves.5. Integrates learning and living: you need to be sensitive to the competing demands your students have. By accommodating their needs and working with them you’ll find that this will increase their commitment to the education you offer an improved their chances for success.6.Application: book learning will only carry you so far. What you’re adult students are looking for are practical ways to solve hands-on problems and so each of your educational sessions should include technical problems and give them a chance to work out their solutions in a controlled, supportive setting.By finding creative ways to leverage these principles, you will be able to develop education and training programs that are well-suited for your adult workers and learners to develop themselves with your support. As a manager your people will be immediately more productive and loyal to you and your business. This will add directly to your bottom line. As an individual adult learner yourself, you can evaluate different programs using these principles to determine which one is best suited for you and your needs.
As thousands of prospective students embark on a three year career of higher education, much has been written about the lack of suitable jobs currently available for graduates, and the amount of debt students enrolling now will incur by the time they have finished their studies.As research published by push.co.uk shows, students starting degree courses this year will be likely finish with the biggest graduate debts we have known – with the average amount being around 23,000 per person. The research and other pressures have since caused the UK government to set aside £5 billion to help students who find themselves during financial troubles during their studies.However, further data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is helping clarify the actual financial worth of university degrees – across a number of countries – by calculating the return on investment by weighing up education costs and foregone earnings with earnings made in the future.The research found that across all OECD countries (including the UK, US, Japan and France), an average male student who has obtained a university degree will benefit from more than $186,000 more over his lifetime compared to that if he had left education after high/secondary school. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the average for women is slightly lower – a statistic that is affected by the lacking equality between earnings for women and men. Yet, the earnings still average £134,000 more for a female student with a university degree.However, aside from the projected financial worth for individuals, the report also highlights the benefits to the economy per person who is put through higher education – with the average male earning $52,000 over his lifetime.The OECD report is no doubt positive at a time when many students are fearing the financial impact of further education. Yet, the research also does well to highlight the importance of distance learning and how it will have a significant impact on global higher education. Graduation rates across all OECD countries have increased by 20 percent, whilst – surprisingly – the UK has ‘levelled off’ to a 2 percent increase over the last seven years, whilst the US sees more people leaving education before university.Of course, both of these countries that have seen a dramatic influx of students entering higher education due to the recession and are subsequently seeing a saturation of facilities. Could we soon see the developing countries (Ireland, Poland and Portugal have seen an increase of 7 percent between 1998 and 2006) helping where the UK and US can’t accommodate?