It’s Time to ‘Level Up’ Higher Education

Colleges and universities all across the country are having to make the difficult choice between reopening their campuses and keeping everything online for the fall. Even among those that do reopen, it is pretty clear that more remote learning is on the way. Thus, it is time for higher education to ‘level up’ with better tools.

Believe it or not, branding is as important to higher education as corporate business. The question school administration has to ask is whether or not its remote learning platform is living up to brand promise. It isprobably notliving up for schools still relying on videoconferencing and simple e-learning tools that do not deliver immersive, personalized experiences.

The ‘level up’ concept is all about upgrading with purpose. Like leveling up in a video game, leveling up in the remote learning arena is all about upgrading tools in order to facilitate a better and more productive experience. Key to that experience is personalization.

Personalization is the New Normal

We talk a lot about the new normal in terms of a post-coronavirus world. Yet even before coronavirus was a thing, the new normal for young people was personalization. Consider that today’s college students barely remember a world without smartphones. Apple introduced their very first iPhone in 2007 when many of today’s college freshmen were a mere five years old.

The smartphone has helped people get used to the idea of personalization. Through online shopping, ride sharing, on-demand food delivery, localized search engine results, etc. we have an entire world that young people can personalize to their own liking. If a school’s remote learning platform is going to live up to its brand promise, that platform must be personalized.

Like the Rest of Life

Fulcrum Labs, makers of a highly innovative adaptive learning platform, says that success in the remote learning environment is about making learning similar to the rest of life. And as has already been demonstrated, the rest of life is highly personalized.

The most successful adaptive learning programs do not stray too far from how young people already engage with the world around them. They allow students to determine the pace of their own instruction. They engage through attention-grabbing videos, informative texts, in-the-moment feedback and optimal challenge. They encourage students to master what they are learning through varied, interactive practice.

For right or wrong, students compare their remote learning platforms to everything else they do. They compare remote learning to online shopping, social media, and searching for the latest in news and entertainment. They can’t help it. It’s the new standard. So, a noticeable lack of personalization dooms an e-learning platform to a noncompetitive existence.

Videoconferencing No More

All of this is to say that it is time to stop the over-reliance on videoconferencing for remote learning as a one trick pony system. And schools still relying on a combination of videoconferencing and non-adaptive e-learning tools needs to level up right away. In short, schools need to deliver a remote learning experience that keeps up with the times. Right or wrong, students demand it.

Adaptive learning is all about personalization in a competency-based framework. For students, it is about the freedom to direct how they learn, when they learn, and the speed at which they learn. Personalization lets them breeze through those areas they find easy while slowing down and spending more time on what proves difficult. For schools, it is all about leveling up in order to deliver on brand promise with the best learning experiences to retain students and help them succeed.