Principal Thoughts: How globalisation is changing higher education

Posted on: 19 December, 2017

Why 24/7 access to continually relevant education has never been more invaluable

Welcome to the latest edition of Ashley Wheaton’s ‘Principal Thoughts’. This time, Ashley explores the effects of globalisation on all industries, and how education is already changing – and needs to adapt – in response.  

We live in an ever-closer, world due to rapidly increasing technological developments in communications; consequently, there’s more and more access to both ideas and knowledge and goods and services from across the globe. And the ensuing forces of global competition mean that businesses within a domestic national economy have to meet standards of quality and costs of production that are set globally.

Therefore, organisations are not only demanding more industry knowledge and more highly skilled workers – but they’re also looking for a deeper understanding of global cultures and business methods. So, in 2017, whether a prospective student is looking to study surveying, mathematics or Chinese with German, one factor they will need to consider is how well the programme they select will develop their international outlook.

The grounding for this shift in education is already here. More and more, educational communities are operating in today’s digital, borderless and always ‘on’ world. And, the introduction of advanced technology into certain schools, colleges and universities is beginning to change how education is delivered to students.

online learning

Teachers and lecturers are preparing materials electronically, and students are generating assignments and taking exams online. Furthermore, discussion forums, video conferencing and chat rooms are helping students – from all over the globe – to assess and advise on each other’s contributions, issues and ideas at any time. These new studying methods not only encourage knowledge through inquiry and experimentation, rather than memorising facts, they also help develop communication and interpersonal skills. The barriers of distance are being broken down at a rapid rate.

The advantages of borderless education also benefit continued learning in the workplace. For instance, if someone is studying while working and they need to move abroad to work on a project – if the programme is online they can just carry on from the new location with no break in learning. Globalisation is helping overcome many of the unique challenges for vocational education.

These changes in learning methods also mean more responsibility is being placed on the individual for their education, instead of solely on the education provider. And employers are beginning to see advantages in hiring students who have studied in this way, due to the dedication and commitment they prove in taking this route. While, for institutions, online learning and collaboration enables them to grow, diversify, and reach people who previously might not have been able to study with them.

The future of all industries now lies within the ability to compete in a global market – and a broad range of knowledge and skills will be needed to meet the challenges of accelerated change. Today’s younger generations need to become ‘global citizens’: educated but also open-minded and adaptive, with a wide range of skills and insights to apply to this competitive, information-based society.

In the 21st century, all education institutions must take on the challenge of equipping students with the tools to achieve this – 24/7 access to continually relevant education has never been more invaluable.

At UCEM, we are committed to contributing to a better Built Environment sector through supported online learning. For more on developments in higher education from UCEM, make sure you’re following us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for all the latest news.