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Symposium 2014

Transforming Education in the Digital Age

The Challenge

The promise and peril of digital technology is currently the most debated issue on the international education scene. The emergence of so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from world-renowned universities reaching out to hundreds and thousands of people has set the stage for a period of fundamental transformation in education. Besides constant technological progress and digital natives entering the education system, this transformation is fueled by the main driving forces of cost and access. While particularly in the US, skyrocketing tuition fees for traditional on-campus settings have created a new market for innovative learning scenarios, it is rather the prospect of democratizing access to educational opportunities that makes technology-supported education a hot issue in many developing countries. Beyond lowering the existing barriers of cost and access, the smart use of technology and big data could also be a means to design and adapt personalized learning paths suited to each individual’s learning preference, pace and style.

Massification combined with personalization would tap the potential for infinitely scalable learning opportunities—and thus be a real disruptive revolution in education. Critics, however, consider the current MOOC-induced movement to be hype without significant long-term effects. They argue that there is neither a reliable stock of research on the effectiveness of ICT-based learning nor a sufficiently broad spectrum of sustainable business models. Not least, the US-dominance in the field of technology-supported education is said to lead to a “new wave of digital colonization.”

This session will explore the following core questions: What are strategic options for both higher-education institutions and corporate employers beyond catching the omnipresent MOOC bandwagon? How would sustainable business models in the field of digital education look like? What is the responsibility of leading brand actors from the Western world when providing their services in developing countries? How can personalized education formats be developed and scaled up globally? What role should policy makers play in preparing our education systems for the digital age?

This session is organized in cooperation with Bertelsmann Stiftung.

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2014

    Transforming Education in the Digital Age

    The promise and peril of digital technology is currently the most debated issue in international education. The emergence of so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from world- renowned universi ...

    The promise and peril of digital technology is currently the most debated issue in international education. The emergence of so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from world- renowned universities, which hundreds and thousands of people have used as a learning resource, has marked the starting point of a period of fundamental transformation in education. There are both external and internal drivers that are transforming the way people around the world learn. External drivers for technology in education include constant technological progress, the growing dissemination of social media and big data application, a significant boost in venture capital in the US and, not least, the entry of digital natives into the education system.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society