Ashish Fernando, Founder and CEO, iSchoolConnect

Ashish started his career as a Software Engineer with Thomson Reuters Inc., building their flagship investment research solution – Thomson One. He then went on to take multiple executive roles in Program Management and AI before managing the Data Science and Engineering business in the Insurance vertical. Ashish is a university gold medalist in Biotechnology and later went on to study Bentley University’s flagship MBA in 2014 with a 100% scholarship. Ashish founded iSchoolConnect in 2017 to solve the pain point of many parents and children: getting unbiased, hassle-free admission in foreign colleges. After going through the same trouble of finding a college to study that fit his needs, Ashish launched iSchoolConnect with a vision to democratize the global admissions market for graduate and undergraduate programs. Through the effective use of artificial intelligence, iSchoolConnect aims at being the most cost-effective and advanced solution for connecting students and schools worldwide.

 

We live in a rapidly changing world that necessitates a diverse skill set to keep up. According to research, student demographics, cultural standards, and entrepreneurial norms all show predictable variations. The higher education landscape has evolved dramatically, and students must remain abreast so they can evolve as per future trends.

Gone are the days when getting a degree was enough to land a student their dream job. Multiple reasons have caused tectonic shifts in the higher education landscape and hiring market. Today, students require more than just a degree to stand out from the crowd. They must train themselves with marketable skills in order to survive and thrive in the current environment.

With the outbreak of the pandemic, the skill gap widened even further, requiring a better understanding of the trends that would drive future employment patterns. Many international institutions adapted to these developments to keep their students up to date. They started to equip their students with the necessary skills, technology, and experience to make it in the real world.

The first departure from the typical teaching module was the introduction of the blended learning model, which became necessary when schools and institutions closed. This approach is revolutionizing traditional learning by incorporating online resources to enhance traditional classrooms. But, this isn’t the only trend that’s shaping higher education.  Higher education is undergoing multiple major changes. Let’s take a look at a few of them to get a better sense of what lies ahead.

Joining hands with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Today, advancement in technological tools has helped bring out the creative and curious side of the human mind. AI is one such tool that helps create a personalized study schedule for each student. It fills in the gaps left by traditional learning by disseminating material in little chunks that can be customized to meet the needs of individual students. And, since the information is generated by AI, all the material produced stays updated!

Rise in Online Learning

Since the year 2020, online learning has become quite the buzzword. Online learning is a subgenre of digital learning, and it goes beyond conventional classroom settings. Students who learn online are not limited by factors such as time, distance, or location. This allows students to study whenever and however they choose.

The majority of students have progressed to this mode of learning. As for the rest, international institutions are already working to lessen the impact of education disruption for people who come from underprivileged backgrounds and aren’t tech-savvy.

Increase in Demand of Massive Open Online Courses

Massive Open Online Courses are free short-duration courses that can be accessed from anywhere at any time and are created for the mass population. 2020 saw over 180 million learners online, spread across 2800 courses, and 19 online degrees, and 360 micro-credentials. These courses offer students a great way to build their skills.

Due to the convenience of MOOCs, learning isn’t limited to those who can afford higher education. This is one major advantage of these courses, apart from their short duration lessons, which allow students to learn more in less time.

Bridging the Skill Gap

Students choose higher education because it helps build their skills and enhance their profile. Hence, many universities are offering internships where students can build their profiles and meet market demands. Despite all of this effort, the talent gap persists, and institutions are collaborating with corporations to bridge this difference. They are working towards creating Corporate Partnership Programs, which will help them build a long-term commitment with the business community.

The ongoing pandemic-induced economic crisis has widened the skill gap, mandating urgent human and digital skill upgrades. Thus, it will be crucial for institutions to help students upgrade, be market-ready, and vault over the competition.

Conclusion

With higher education constantly evolving, institutions will have to up their game to deliver more value. With emerging technologies like AI and AR/VR, learning will become accessible to anyone and everyone. This will allow students of any age to learn at their pace and create schedules that best suit them.

Although these tools and technologies are convenient, it may be difficult to bring about this change in developing countries where traditional learning is more affordable. Institutions will have to create strategies to make these facilities accessible to everyone, no matter their background.

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