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The Future of Online Learning

Research , Online Learning , Digital Skills
Essential Digital Skills Qualifications

This new report argues that the recent move to online learning has the potential to drive long-term improvements across HE and FE sectors.

Gravity Assist: propelling higher education towards a brighter future reflects both on the experience of students during the pandemic, and offers practical recommendations to help universities and colleges improve their digital teaching and learning in the short and long term.

The review captures core lessons from the mass transition to digital teaching during the pandemic, and suggests six steps that universities and colleges can follow before the start of the next academic year to immediately improve the digital teaching and learning on offer for students. These are:

  1. assess students’ digital access on a one-to-one basis and remove any barriers before learning is lost
  2. communicate to new and returning students what digital skills they will need to engage with the course
  3. involve the student voice in teaching and learning design
  4. equip staff with the right skills and resources to teach effectively
  5. make the digital environment safe for all students
  6. plan how you will seize the opportunity presented by digital teaching and learning in the longer-term.

To deliver on the long-term promise of digital teaching and learning, the report argues that:

  • it is vital that online learning doesn’t simply replicate traditional lectures or tutorials – it must be properly adapted to digital delivery
  • providers should start planning now to make the most of these opportunities and ensure that learning from this period is not lost
  • overcoming barriers to digital inclusion is essential – students will not benefit from online learning if they do not have the equipment and skills to access it
  • digital teaching and learning could, itself, make great strides in improving access – for example in the additional flexibility it gives to mature learners or those with disabilities
  • staff should also be supported to develop digital skills with incentives for continuous improvement
  • providers have the opportunity to promote high-quality higher education abroad and engage a new generation of overseas students.

Find out more and access the full report here


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