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The future of learning

The very nature of higher education is evolving at a tremendous pace. Both the local and global competition amongst universities for students, academics and funding is fierce. It is therefore crucial for universities to rise as digital leaders, or at the very least remain relevant by differentiating themselves with the right strategies and useful tools that complement today’s connected era.

The secret to attaining and demonstrating the ideal digital student experience involves a two-fold approach: it boils down to creating a digital environment that is both so efficient and seamless that it goes unnoticed, and one that is personalised and adaptable to each student’s unique preferences. With video specifically, the Holy Grail lies in the delivery of high-quality content to any screen across any network, regardless of device and location. However, high-quality video distribution needs to be combined with four additional digital elements to be the most effective for students:

Digital Signage

Digital signage can distribute content that effectively enhances campus communications, especially when incorporated with video. Live TV channels, complemented by university news and information, can be displayed on screens in reception areas, cafeterias, lecture halls, libraries, labs, hallways and everywhere in-between, where it is important – and oftentimes critical – to share information quickly and accurately. This technology is particularly paramount for broadcasting emergency messaging across campus, and is equally effective for a wider range of content, including campus sport events, student club and association initiatives, menu boards, campus news from the dean’s office, course registration information, exam timetables and more. With the ability to integrate seamlessly with existing campus networks, school administrators can centrally control the information on display, with the flexibility to change content on the go and in real-time.

Video on Demand (VoD)

Video on Demand is becoming a content consumption platform of choice, creating opportunities for new ways of delivering and engaging with educational content. From college news channels to course material and entertainment options, VoD systems serve as a resourceful digital content library available for students and faculty to access when they choose, rather than a mandated time – creating more flexible learning and teaching opportunities. For example, City of Glasgow College recently implemented a flexible and scalable IP-based system that delivers a range of high quality, live and on-demand content across its growing campuses, including a VoD system to digitise video content for lecturers – one that has demonstrated to be a key component to this technological overhaul.

Mobile delivery / Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The rise in popularity of connected mobile devices – particularly smartphones and tablets – is expected to see the same high levels of growth on university campuses as experienced in our everyday lives. Last year for example, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge identified an increased demand of 70 percent on their networks, with the average number of devices per person rising from one to three. Many universities have not only come to accept this change, but have welcomed it as a core business objective. With world-class education driven by ubiquitous access to online services, it’s vital that universities can offer that same ease of access to mobile video academic resources. Extending the reach and availability of relevant educational and entertaining content supports students with the means to complete projects and assignments, obtain study material and participate in online courses.

Personalised and remote learning

“Accessibility for all” is a driving factor for the future of education – a major insight from Polycom’s recent Education in 2025: Technology Innovation survey. From geographic accessibility to on-campus convenience of access, the need to offer resources in personalised and remote learning environments is crucial. Investments into Virtual Learning Environments, real-time video collaboration tools, cloud-based platforms and mobile devices – which 53% of Polycom survey respondents believe will be a primary way students engage with content – will help universities deliver a learning environment that breaks free from the traditional lecture hall. Content packaged and available to suit individual learning styles and conditions also paves the way to better accommodate more types of students – from overseas students and those with learning disabilities, to working professionals studying remotely.

It is undeniable that video is an increasingly promising gateway for the future of education. Being aware of emerging digital trends, quick to recognise what that could mean for universities and swiftly turning them into actionable tactics to enhance the digital student experience can bring exciting opportunities to attract, engage and retain the students of today and create the digital citizens of tomorrow. 

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