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The Case for Change: Technology as an Enabler for Student-Centred Learning

In education, change can be difficult to justify. Traditional education models provide certainty—teachers know how to lead traditional rote learning; it shaped their own education, and it provides benchmarks against which to easily track progress. And wholesale pedagogical change requires investment and time, which can be difficult to justify in a cash-strapped, time-poor education system.

However, perhaps more so than in any other industry, educators are being pressed to change the way they deliver teaching and learning. To provide a more valuable education in the face of dwindling budgets, increasing populations and an unknown employment market, change is not just attractive, it's imperative.

The Employment Challenge

Education experts suggest that successful change comes only when institutions have clear objectives in place. And in higher education, that objective is clear: to help students gain employment at the end of their studies.

Our own research showed that 60% of undergraduates said they don't think the current curriculum is relevant to employers, and more than half (54%) have had to supplement their university course with skills-based courses to make sure they are more attractive to employers.

A New Approach to Learning

Forward-looking institutions recognise that highly structured and almost exclusively teacher-directed learning at school and university creates a dichotomy with what students experience when they enter the workforce. The world outside of school requires students to be able to self-direct their work in low-structure environments that seasoned experts thrive in.

This is a compelling reason to make fundamental changes to pedagogy. The institutions we work with are embracing a new teaching model that promotes student-centered learning as a path that continually gives students more choice, control and responsibility in the learning process.

Technology as a Driver for Student-Centred Learning

At Canvas, we're working with institutions in ANZ and around the world to provide technology that will enable this approach, where the student helps to drive their own learning outcomes and experience.

Teachers tell us that technology is the foundation of helping young people learn to live together and form communication skills that will influence every aspect of their lives. It provides pupils with the ability to learn on their own terms, in their own way, and it gives teachers a better view of their pupils' progress, allowing timely intervention and the ability to adapt.

And crucially, it calls for students to take on quite a different role. Students are no longer passive participants in their education. Instead they must be empowered, confident and self-directed. And as such, they'll become ready to thrive in a new and unpredictable employment market.

If you're interested in hearing how institutions are "doing things differently" and you're attending the The Higher Education Technology Agenda (THETA) conference in Auckland, 7-10 May 2017, come visit us at booth 7 & 8.

And don't just take our word for it, listen to our customers' experience.