8 Predictions About Higher Education- What Does the Future Hold for Higher Ed?

Higher education is changing and evolving, here are 8 predictions about the future of higher ed.

Close your eyes and try to picture what higher education will look like in the upcoming decades. What do you see? Drones? Cool gadgets? Robotic teachers? Super-speed computers? Well, the only thing you can see right now is this blog post and that’s fine. Perhaps, this will serve as your window to the future.


While we all agree that tech will play a major role in the future of higher ed, what are the other factors that might be at work?


Here are 8 predictions about the future of the educational system.


1. Homeschooling Will Become a Norm


Are you excited about this revelation? Hold on, these facts might make you change your stance. As of 2016, there were 2.3 million homeschooled students in America alone. While it costs taxpayers $11,732 to see one pupil through school (excluding capital expenditures), taxpayers are exempt from the expenses associated with homeschooling. In fact, the actual family spends $600 on the average.


There’s also a rapid increase in the adoption of this approach to higher Ed (almost 8% per annum). Hence, we can be sure that the future will definitely include more homeschooled students. This is also made feasible considering the plethora of technological tools available at our disposal.


2. Personalized, Self-Paced Learning


In the past, students were all placed in the same class, given the same materials, subjected to the same learning condition, and expected to deliver the same results during an exam. But this approach has been berated by many researchers and experts. In fact, Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish based on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


Fortunately, this is set to change. We already have several online courses which are self-paced and allow students to learn on their own time. Do you learn better at night when the lights are off and you’re snacking? Feel free. Just remember that you’re in a ‘classroom’, not a cinema.


3. Novel Test Taking Strategies


Gone are the days when students all had to assemble in a hall with their pens and papers to take a test. Presently, we have educational testing platforms (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) which allow students from all over the world to take the same standardized tests. In the future, this approach will be radically improved upon.


The existing technology makes it possible to access the result of tests which are written or answered orally after a few weeks, however, we foresee a situation where students can know their fate instantaneously. As artificial intelligence becomes more scalable and mature, we can use deep learning models of neural networks to come up with machines which can provide answers to questions and then grade the student’s performance in real time. This relieves teachers of the stress of marking and also gives the student a fair chance of success. It is also expected that the advancement of technology will cause these testing systems to become affordable, thereby making it available in most schools.


4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Leadership Skills will be Prioritized


Throughout centuries, we have had different skills come and go, but these 3 traits are needed in every sphere of life. Although current higher education models do not expressly downplay these skills, they do not directly nurture it either. And studies have shown that these are the traits that hiring managers look out for in a stellar candidate. In the future, it is possible that these skills be taught separately by dedicated experts in the field.


5. New Subjects Areas Will Emerge


Teaching Mathematics, English Language, and Science would no longer cut the mustard in light of emerging fields such as AI and IoT. As we’re gearing towards a smart world where we have super—smartphones, smart grids, smart cities, and smart homes, we can expect new subjects to be taught in schools. It is possible to have branches like electrical engineering devolve into 5 other areas in which students can major in. The same thing goes for computer science and programming.


6. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Will Feature in the Future


Remember the excitement all around the world when Pokémon Go was released? Everyone was stoked to enjoy the new, exciting technology and the game was downloaded almost 10 million times in its first week. Can you picture the class going agog when the teacher explains how airplanes work while you’re in a simulated airplane environment? Well, so can we and it’s mind-blowing!


7. Less Papers Will Be Used


Increased campaign for global warming and sustainability means that deforestation would still be frowned upon strongly in the years to come. This means that we’ll do away with papers, both for books and for writing. This prediction finds solace in the fact that we now have a myriad of online tests that are tested and trusted (no pun intended). Our experts will find ways in which exams can be taken remotely without the issue of cheating arising.


8. The Average Age of Graduates Will Be Lowered


Are we giving birth to whizkids nowadays or is the world just moving at an alarming pace? Whichever it is, prepare to see the younger generations reaching the echelon of their higher education much sooner than you expected.




Do we have a crystal ball or a sense of clairvoyance? Not really. Did we diligently carry out research to come up with these predictions? Definitely! The future of higher education is sure to be fraught with nuances resembling some of the predictions mentioned above. While it is virtually impossible to give a foolproof forecast, we can be sure of one thing, the future of higher ed will be favorable for students and the world at large.

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