In our last blog, we talked about the future of online teaching and learning and how universities needed to invest in the right technology as well as reshape and rethink their approach to teaching.
And although technology plays a huge role in the future of education, it is the creative minds behind the machines that need to adapt and transform to deliver teaching and learning for the 21st century.
The changing role of teaching staff
Over the last 20 months, university leaders and tutors have been pulling together and coming up with new and innovative ideas to provide quality distance learning for students. The role of teaching staff has shifted dramatically since the start of the pandemic, evolving from educator to facilitator, innovator, and IT specialist.
This sudden shift has highlighted the need for preparedness, competency, and confidence to adequately manage such a transition, as well as the skills required to build future-proof teaching approaches.
The turning point
A rare opportunity has been created to redesign and augment the learning experience, and the commitment and dedication to ensuring learners were supported during lockdown has been acknowledged worldwide.
“Universities have learned a lot this year. There has been an enormous shift into the online space and how we use technology, but there has been an intellectual shift as well. People are much more engaged in the conversation about technology — there is collective upskilling and sharing of experience. We are rethinking the whole teaching experience, and the role of faculty will be changing, from delivery of content to supporting learning. That’s a big culture change, and it is going to take time, investment, and technology.” Ian Dunn, Provost, Coventry University. (June 2021) Technology-enabled learning at scale.
The above quote is taken from the paper, Technology-enabled learning at scale: A roadmap to 2030, produced by Emerge Education, Jisc, and LearningMate and highlights the challenges for staff as digital capability, confidence, and motivation as well as the knowledge of what works in blended formats when it comes to pedagogy and learning design.
The report provides key insights and recommendations to universities on what areas they need to focus on for their future educators. Here are just the highlights:
- Digital Fluency – must be a critical criterion for recruiting new staff. Universities should define a minimum standard for digital fluency which sits alongside and complements investment in existing professional development and recognition programmes.
- Discussions are needed to prepare staff to adopt new ways of teaching. Institutions need to go on a cultural journey to help staff commit to new ways of working, and this could be difficult if technology-enabled teaching and learning is perceived as a short-term necessity rather than a long-term strategy.
- Work with unions to reimagine workload models. Edtech is not a threat to employment; the nature of employment is changing. Universities do not want to lose subject expertise; rather, they must also bring in pedagogic and technological expertise.
- Learning design at scale. Universities need to invest in learning design and consult on the changing role of the academic. Teaching staff are used to being responsible for the design and delivery of modules, but they can’t be expected to become experts in digital pedagogies as well as their subjects.
- Investing in staff skills. During 2020/21, staff underwent an extremely fast adoption process, learning how to use new technologies and forming local communities of practice to teach each other. Universities need to invest the time and effort to continue to upskill their staff.
- Partnering supplements existing expertise. Partnering with an organisation that has the skills, knowledge, and expertise in online teaching and learning will complement and enhance the experience for both students and staff.
The future is most definitely bright, and the opportunities are plentiful for both teaching staff and their students. It’s an opportunity for tutors to learn new technical skills but also learn how to adapt their teaching for various audiences and purposes.
How we can help
And here at LearningMate, we help our clients to do just that. Our clients benefit from two decades of expertise and experience in both educational technology and online teaching and learning practices.
We support your staff with a seamless transition so they can embrace the ‘new normal.’ Merely focusing on teaching technical skills would fall short of preparing learners for the changing demands of the world of work. So instead, we expose our clients to so much more than just the technology and provide our wealth of knowledge in how to transfer and augment course content so it can be used in various formats.
We have a real opportunity to reshape the way we teach our future workforce. And we want to support our educators of the future to give them the best possible start.
For an informal chat about how we might be able to provide a solution or support you in your journey to future-proofing your teaching and learning approach, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.