Sharp changes in student behaviors, priorities and expectations in recent months have forced higher education institutions to think differently. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that there is a tremendous opportunity to embrace new models and approaches in digital teaching and learning to engage students. As colleges and universities now rise to the challenge, and work to create a more sustainable and robust model, it's worth evaluating what is worth keeping and what can be applied more widely — from assessing instructional priorities and online curriculum models to defining what authentic engagement looks like in a zoom session, and the value of peer connections.

Not surprisingly, the challenges that the field of education has faced this year have been well documented. The question is — what new approaches can we turn to? How can educators embrace experimentation and reinvention? What will it take to motivate and retain students?

Looking ahead, three themes stand out to guide how institutions may want to consider the use of digital tools and technologies to navigate this new landscape:

  • Student experience will be your most valuable investment Growing competition for students will spur greater focus on student experiences, satisfaction and professional success. This will require an intentional, continuous effort to question assumptions, and create new ways to infuse value, choices and flexibility in educational offerings.
  • Experimentation as a gateway for competitive advantage To make innovation possible, it's crucial to make room for ongoing experimentation and future-focused conversations, and to also examine barriers such as outdated policies, dated infrastructure and misalignment with changing student demographics and behaviors.
  • Evolving from transactional to transformational It's encouraging to see that many high-performing colleges and universities are aiming to deliver learning in more meaningful and scalable ways.

Read the full article about higher education beyond the pandemic at Higher Education Dive.