The need for higher and further education and training in South Africa is intensifying in the face of an extremely competitive job market and a national unemployment rate of 25%. However, a number of challenges affect the provision of education, from limited resources to continuing technological developments, the growth of niche education and distance learning, the relationships between employers and education providers, and the need for qualifications to be relevant to the workplace.
A range of key factors will shape the provision of higher education and training in South Africa in the future:
1. Social media will play an even bigger role
Social media has made its way into most sectors, from advertising to sports to the entertainment industry. So naturally, it was bound to become popular in the education field sooner or later. From student-created YouTube videos to SMS marketing to professors creating classroom focused blogs and Facebook pages, both teachers and students will continue to benefit from social media inside the classroom. Although social media has become increasingly popular in the past year or two, in 2013 we’re expecting it to make an even bigger splash in the classroom.
2. More universities will offer online learning
From free podcasts and online learning tutorials, the internet has made it possible for people to push their educational boundaries and access some of the best resources from the comfort of their own home. Now in addition to paid online classes and degree programs, some universities are even offering free non-credit online courses. Top schools like University of California – Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University are currently offering free courses, and we only expect to see this trend grow in the coming year.
3. The MOOC trend will carry on
What’s a MOOC you might ask? No it’s not a character from Dr. Seuss. It actually stands for “Massive Open Online Course” and has been all the rage in the ed tech sector since the term was coined in 2008. MOOCs are revolutionizing the way students learn, and this trend is making its impact across the globe. These courses are typically free, and only require a computer and, of course, the internet. There is talk that MOOCs will become a mechanism for students to receive official college credit. Currently the MOOC methods reach nearly 200 countries in 44 different languages, and have 4,500 testing centres around the world.
4. A better job market for college graduates
The recession might not be completely over, but upcoming college graduates can (hopefully) look forward to a less stressful job hunt than their predecessors. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers said they expect to hire 9.5% more graduates from the class of 2012 than they did from the previous graduating class. And students getting their degree in one of the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), will be especially valuable to employers hiring in the new year. So to the class of 2013, take this as a sign to brush up on your interview skills, update your LinkedIn profile and score your dream job in 2013!
5. Game-based learning will gain popularity
Who doesn’t love a good game? Game-based learning (GBL) is becoming increasingly popular inside classroom walls, as teachers become more and more familiar with the process and its many benefits. GBL can be anything from learning simulations, to serious games, to using video games in the classroom. It’s understandable that parents might be skeptical (“Video games at school? Seriously?”) But GBL is designed to balance gameplay with subject matter, and help students retain and apply what they’ve learned in the real world. Although it’s still in the early phases, in 2013 we’re sure to see games being used more frequently in the learning process.
This article originally appeared on Noodle.org