Digital delivery could look completely different. However, it needs buy-in from all parties to make sure the infrastructure is in place.
For example, I think augmented reality could have a big impact on practically based vocational training such as Motor Vehicle. However, this will only work if the devices are available to the learners, the software is available to the training provider, and the technical skills to create the applications are developed among staff.
What will the children and grandchildren of Wales be seeing in colleges, classrooms and work places?
The learning environments of the future need to be more interactive. Content pinging to a device as the learner walked past, instead of a ‘passive’ poster stuck to a wall. Classrooms shouldn’t be confined to the location they are situated in, and more collaboration should be enabled via technology across towns, providers, and even countries. This could be enabled via the creation of virtual meeting rooms (maybe using services such as appear.in), set up by the Government for providers to use.
What technologies, tools and techniques will be making a difference to their learning experience? Virtual Screens could allow any wall to be an interactive canvas, allowing multiple users to write and share content between them. All content will be synced via the cloud so notes and recordings are automatically uploaded as soon as they leave the physical space. This could feed to a lifelong learning cloud, where resources are recorded and tagged; allowing for easy future retrieval. This bank of work would make up a portfolio that stayed with the learner and could be used for reference, or for evidence of competence.
What will they want and need for their learning?
Access to fast and reliable internet is going to paramount. Physical devices in the next few years will be important to access content, but hopefully, reliance on this will move away from hardware to software and services which could be provided via Welsh Government. 5G connectivity wherever possible will reduce the impact of poor fibre internet coverage, especially in rural areas.
Digital delivery in 5 years’ time: More independent learning online before and after lessons. Learning more focused to the individual’s skills needs through the use of diagnostics in both learning content and ways to learn. There may also be more specialists teaching from around the world via video conferencing etc.
I think children’s learning will continue to be based around experiential learning, which children being posed problems that they use their knowledge and skills to try and solve.
Let me introduce you to Brooke
Brooke is my Granddaughter.
Brooke hasn’t started school yet but she may well be your student in 2030.
Brooke is quite bright – she knows her colours and shapes, can count to 20 and sing the ABC song. She also has her own tablet (a Kindle Fire for Kids) and uses it to play games, solve puzzles, colour, learn songs, watch kid’s TV and much more. Mum has an iPhone and Brooke is quite comfortable with this too. Nana has an Android device and, guess what? This poses no problems either.
Brooke can already successfully engage with Artificial Intelligence by asking Alexa to play Wheels on the bus or Baby Shark.
Like most 3-year olds, she also enjoys the company of others – it’s where she gets her social skills, her human intelligence, her “moral code” etc.
So, what will Brooke expect in 2030?
Gadgets and “gizmos”
It is highly likely that Brooke will makes use of devices that haven’t been invented yet or have developed well beyond their current capabilities.
Brooke will increasingly use devices to facilitate “active learning” allowing her to collaborate with peers or AI. This means that devices, or applications, will increasingly need to become “platform agnostic”.
In 2018, around 10% of FE learners rated Google search as their number one app or tool. By 2030, artificial intelligence has the potential to feature much higher for online research.
Personalised and synchronised learning: Brooke will expect to access and store her learning on any of her devices, anywhere and at any place. She will also have compiled a suite of Apps that suit and underpin her learning activities.
Brooke will expect to be able to use her own device to support her learning. She will require high quality, robust and secure wifi connectivity at all her learning locations.
Harry is 15 and wants to become a builder. He hopes to become an apprentice and to own and run his own business one day.
Harry is very confident and able in practical terms but knows that he needs to be “digitally savvy” in order to succeed in the workplace and as an employer.
So, what would Harry expect in 2030?
In 2018 only 50% of FE students thought digital skills were important for their chosen career and only 41% felt that their course prepared them for the digital workplace.
Harry expects to access the latest, industry standard software so that his learning is current and relevant.
He expects his teachers, tutors and instructors to be able to use digital systems competently so that he can readily access high quality, engaging learning materials.
Harry expects to be able to use digital technology to collaborate with other prospective trades people so that they can learn from and support each other. He doesn’t mind if this is a VLE or other collaborative application, so long as it is safe, and it works.
Jim is 8 and is in junior school. He has been diagnosed with a visual impairment and, although he wears glasses, has trouble with traditional learning methods.
So, what will Jim expect in 2030?
By 2030, through effective course design that incorporates sound accessibility and inclusion practices as standard, Jim will be able to customise his digital learning environment and resources in the same way as other learners may wish to personalise theirs. Jim would expect his preferred “settings” to be portable and a part of his digital student ID so that whenever he logs on to any device, he is able to access his work. In addition, using data collected through his learning activities, Jim expects to be able to monitor his progress against his own targets and those set by his teachers, tutors and instructors.