A changing educational landscape
Recently I have had the pleasure of meeting with Academics from several prominent Western Australian Universities. The meetings reinforced the changing nature of learning at tertiary level and I have found the discussions quite energising as our College commences the next phase of our Master Planning.
In schools we often talk about a ‘blended’ approach when combining traditional texts and more modern modes of technology. I was fascinated that one of the universities now allocates 98% of its library expenditure to online resources. The Vice Chancellor of another University indicated that they were not interested in spending money on new lecture theatres. Significant emphasis is being directed to ‘flipped classrooms’ where students meet in smaller spaces to engage in discussion and problem solving having previously accessed materials online. The traditional learning model is said to be ‘flipped’ upside down.
Of course, universities educate adults and schools are places of learning for younger people. However, an awareness of trends in the university sector can help guide our future planning. Pleasingly, the University staff have also been very interested in engaging with our staff on educational issues and the interaction has been mutually beneficial.
Trends in the workforce are equally pertinent. According to Deloitte, there will be a projected skills' shift in the workforce ahead: from hands to heads to hearts. The movement from manual labour (hands) to cognitive skills (head) appears relatively logical but increasingly future employees are likely to be strongly reliant on soft skills (heart). Interpersonal skills and creative roles with customer service and care for others will be highly valued. These components have always been important at our College and will continue to be reinforced in the years to come.