Principal Thoughts – November

Posted on: 2 December, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of our ‘Principal Thoughts’ blog series. In this blog, UCEM Principal, Ashley Wheaton shares his thoughts on what he thinks the future holds for online learning along with the latest updates from UCEM.  

Looking ahead to the future of online learning

As we move towards a new year, I’ve spent some time looking forward to the future of online learning and what this might hold. One of the biggest advancements in technology that’s set to transform online learning is Virtual Reality (VR). Although not often associated with education, I believe this can be a futureonlinelearning2powerful tool – particularly for distance learners. Institutions can develop virtual environments for students, from information sharing to test centres, giving students a completely immersive learning experience – providing they have access to the relevant technology. For example, in the Built Environment industry, this could mean students will soon be able to put on a VR headset and step onto a construction site where they can ‘walk’ around and identify problems or solutions.

Another asset that will change online learning is live streaming. This is fast becoming a part of everyday life thanks to platforms such as Periscope. And many institutions are making use of webinars, which allow tutors to broadcast a feed and students to stream and comment live. However, in the future, I can see this becoming a multi-way channel. It provides a brilliant platform for students to deliver live presentations or talk through their ideas to a live audience of limitless size – from anywhere in the world. It also opens up plenty more opportunities for guest speakers to address large numbers of students, as they don’t have to travel to a fixed institution to reach the audience.

The strategy and functionality behind online learning have changed significantly in the past few years, and there’s no doubt that it will grow and evolve as society and technology advances. Our task as education leaders is not only to keep up but also to be one step ahead!

Introducing our Online Academy

This month I am very pleased to share our all-new Online Academy. This is a central content hub that can be used by students, alumni, those working in the industry or anyone wanting to get a flavour for the Built Environment. It hosts a number of short courses and videos on a variety of topics and means you can meet your RICS CPD requirements completely online. Content is being continually developed for the Academy, so stay tuned for more to come in the near future.

The Learning Technologies Awards

The Learning Technologies Awards – formerly the eLearning Awards – are the online learning industry’s most prestigious accolades, which recognise excellence in online learning technology and strategy. Categories span from ‘Best learning game’ to ‘Best enterprise learning platform implementation’. Last year we were proud to receive bronze for ‘best online distance-learning programme’, and this year we were delighted to be shortlisted for ‘Best blended learning project – public & non-profit sector’ for our Surveying Technician Diploma. We’re so pleased to have one of our newest programmes recognised for its success in the shortlist. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful team that worked so hard to develop and deliver this programme.

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