Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, post-graduate teaching and learning methods became increasingly digital. Here are the top #5 digital trends that Master’s programmes worldwide are willing to adopt.

A brave new digital world

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted industries worldwide, with the academic sector one of the main targets of the novel coronavirus. From nursery schools to business universities, students, teachers, and facilities were taken by surprise when Covid-19 struck. Consequently, the experiences of more than 1.4 billion students worldwide changed drastically, reported UNESCO.

Emergency remote teaching and learning practices began to establish themselves as the norm. Now, such practices are widely adopted even by skeptics. In higher education settings, both students and providers are willing to increase the use of online teaching and learning strategies to create a new digital environment. The quality of online courses, virtual classrooms, and online faculty development is rising even among institutions that had previously lagged behind, as per the latest Educause Horizon Report.

New hybrid teaching and learning models

While the need for better online programmes and trained staff is evident, new hybrid models will also be required to provide unique academic experiences. Interestingly, only 10% of international students are willing to embrace an entirely online teaching and learning environment, reports IDP Education.

Therefore, hybrid academic models – a blending learning environment supported by tech innovations – will be required in higher education, reveals EdTech. Hybrid models can also be implemented to bridge the digital divide that has emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, 65% of faculty members and 77% of administrators admitted that the digital divide had cut off many students from equal educational opportunities, reports Educause.

Post-pandemic changes in academic culture

It’s not only digital teaching and learning models that have changed but academic cultures across the globe. With traditional methods and rigid testing proven ineffective, a shift in values will erase old practices. Collaboration between learners and teachers will become the determining factor in creating better institutional cultures in a post-Covid post-graduate world. Dashboards and analytics to improve collaboration mechanisms will be implemented further.

As Wendy Colby, CEO of AccelerEd, stated, “Leaders must fundamentally rethink the way in which instruction is delivered – moving beyond the notion that teaching is about covering content and managing the classroom. Student-centered learning is becoming a catalyst for developing the knowledge, skills and dispositions most relevant to student needs and aspirations. We can leverage technology in ways that allow for self-directed student progress, whether it culminates in a new skill, a degree or a micro-credential.”

Tech-savvy staff becoming crucial

With online education becoming the norm across higher education institutions, new partnerships will be established. Interestingly, during the pandemic, three-quarters of instructors received help from instructional technology staff, according to Inside Higher Ed. Instructional Design and Technology specialists will be further involved to support the implementation of platforms, such as Canvas, D2L, and Zoom, in accordance with quality standards such as the metrics from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

Additionally, a report by Goodwin University (US) reveals some interesting trends regarding student partnerships. To provide an example, experts believe that AI chatbots and VR simulations will be implemented by higher education institutions to help students and their families get familiar with the institution of their choice.

From grading to caring

The pandemic taught instructors that one factor overrides even admission criteria, fees, and grading: health. Higher education institutions are now focusing on mHealth tools, students’ well-being, and sustainability to meet the needs of our post-pandemic future.

As revealed by Times Higher Education, based on 130 interviews with the EU-funded Vision project and CERN’s Challenge Based Innovation (CBI) program, researchers identified the need for open learning spaces, flexible disciplinary boundaries, collaborative learning, and challenge-based courses. For instance, many schools might focus on increasing their real-life impact. Instead of delivering traditional course material, teachers and learners will embrace coaching and creativity (e.g., building prototypes).

In the end, enhanced by the use of digital tools and machines, paradoxically, we may witness a more human-centred approach to teaching and learning.

Will we, however, learn from the pandemic and establish these five digital trends as the norm? Only a post-pandemic post-graduate future will tell.