Global Ambitions in Higher Education
If there's one thing we've learned from 17 years of supporting educators to help learners plan for, make sense of, and share the outcomes of their unique learning journeys, it's that pedagogy comes first. In 2020 we put out a call to all those grappling with the best ways to develop future-ready learners - strategists, educators, learning designers and technologists in higher education from across the globe. We asked them to to rank their pedagogical ambitions and provide a heads-up on how well equipped they felt they were to deliver on them. Our Global Ambitions in Higher Education paper resulted from those responses and provides a snapshot of the priorities in higher education teaching and learning and the very real challenges educators are facing in achieving their ambitions.
"The responses to our survey highlight the need for conversations around how best to support pedagogies that are typically student-centred with a focus on what learners can do rather than just what they know."
THE TOP AMBITIONS
- Scaffolding learning
- Authentic assessment
Concerned with active, collaborative and experiential learning experiences, and with a focus on what learners can do rather than just what they know, the three top ambitions nominated by the survey respondents align perfectly with the pedagogical shift from content-heavy courses to real-world learning and authentic assessment. They are also key to developing future-ready learners who have transferable skills - essential in an era of rapid change and in a volatile employment environment.
The significant challenges associated with supporting this type of learning are largely around having the right tools to support a diversity of approaches. The ability to guide learners through the learning journey is important for the prospect of success, yet this requires the ability to provide access, engagement and appropriate levels of support for learners - and their assessors - in their own time and place, on and off campus - in any learning context.
"Key to achieving those ambitions are carefully considered pedagogies and learning designs. Technology cannot guarantee success on its own but when harnessed to support great teaching, learning and assessment initiatives it can certainly be a powerful contributor."
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES
Capturing learning in every context
The dilemma: Modifying approaches to recognise real-world learning wherever and whenever it happens. Students need the capacity to access resources and capture evidence and validation wherever they happen to be... enabling industry partners and external supervisors to likewise access student work or provide assessment and feedback
Data analytics, ethics & privacy
The dilemma: Implementing robust ethical practices around data privacy and making better use of data to inform and support learning, teaching and assessment approaches.
Technology that provides a real time window into learner development to allow just-in-time formative feedback and intervention for disengaged students, can be a powerful aid in providing better and more personalised learning experiences. When balanced with transparent data practices and a platform where ownership of the learning space sits with the student, these ambitions needn’t be inherently difficult to achieve.
BRIDGING THE GAPS
The educators who responded to our survey acknowledged the gaps that exist between pedagogical ambition and the reality of implementing and supporting it. We know these gaps can be bridged – scaffolding learning; offering engaging ways to support and manage transition, wellbeing and study via digital workbooks; providing and managing authentic assessment - these practices are already a reality for a global PebblePad community which continues to blaze new trails in the way learning, teaching, tutoring and assessment is designed and delivered within higher education.
If you'd like to find out more about the survey and the results, download your free copy.