Changing Trends in American Higher Education: What Do Experts Expect For the Future?
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Disclaimer: Relevant research for this article was conducted as part of an academic research project, supported by several NIST grants and instruments including:
The NEJM’s All-Too-Common “Getting to Graduate” Interview Technique in the Endemic Academic Achievement Discrepancy
Comparing standardized practice with high-risk add-on interventions
Ensuring both adoption and persistence of randomized controlled trials as one of the key routes to student intervention
The Evidence-Based Design Model for Designing Effective Student Intervention
The race to providing a truly student-centered education has certainly ramped up over the past few years. Rapid technological advances, like the launch of virtual universities, have made online courses exponentially more convenient for students from around the world. Technology has also made it easy for instructors to access significant amounts of data—including performance metrics—on course performance, course materials, student engagement, and course completions. There’s growing interest in measuring student success based on actual learning outcomes, which allows for a much more rigorous assessment of whether classroom learning actually is occurring or if students are simply receiving fake-learning experiences as part of an alternate curricula, or simply missing the assigned assignments. Still, education policy frameworks and private fundraising from venture capital firms are encouraging education institutions to adapt course and course structure to fit students’ preferences. My observation here is that current American higher education institutions have become extremely segmented, with large sections of students taking “content-focused” courses, while the broader demographic group focuses on a student “center” of study with a broader approach to learning.