What this year has shown us is that our personal and professional lives can be altered in a blink of an eye. While online learning isn’t a new concept, the need for e-learning skyrocketed when stay at home orders were implemented, resulting in a dramatic increase in virtual learning environments for all students. With WGU Indiana being a completely online university, we’ve fortunately been able to recognize the need for adaptive and personalized learning for adult learners from day one and share that knowledge with other institutions who’ve had to adapt. For all higher education institutions to succeed and flourish in the new year, here are three recommended areas to focus on to best serve learners online.
Combating the nation’s Digital Divide.
Currently, 21 million Americans, including 666,000 people in Indiana, live without access to broadband internet services, hindering students in their educational pathways. It’s important to note it’s been estimated that between 2016-2026, the number of jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees will increase by 10%, creating barriers for those that don’t have access to high speed internet services. In order for anyone to enter the workforce effectively, online access is needed.
Hoosiers can support organizations like EveryoneOn and communicate with our representatives and leaders who are taking action to find solutions to shrink Indiana's digital divide. As virtual learning becomes even more normalized in the new year, we must take action to ensure that all students have access to the internet.
Evolving innovations in 2021.
As technology evolves, students are expected to adjust quickly. The benefit of this rapid transformation within the tech industry is that it allows educators to make learning environments more personalized. WGU Indiana remains committed to providing high-quality education to our students as we keep a pulse on these technology advancements. As we look ahead to the new year, artificial intelligence and video conferencing are two trends that will become more of a staple in our day to day professional lives.
It’s our job as an online university to set the bar for how students can achieve their educational goals. And to do this, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest research in EdTech.
The safety benefits of pursuing a degree online.
While we’re still combating COVID-19, distance learning remains the safest way for students to pursue their educational goals. An online environment ensures that both students and instructors remain safe without disrupting the learning process. Without online learning, many educational institutions would have to postpone programs altogether. Our virtual world has allowed us to proceed with education even amid an international pandemic.
It’s critical to note that not all online learning is the same and some universities are working through barriers to ensure that they can best serve its students online. With all students having different needs, we orient our learning experiences at WGU Indiana around the student and provide the support that’s necessary through our faculty mentors. It’s our mission to create an online environment for students to succeed in higher education. Looking ahead to 2021, we’re excited to adapt to the EdTech advancements that will continue to benefit students nationwide.