Digital technology has dramatically and permanently altered many aspects of human activity, including communication, accumulation and analysis of information, organizational behavior, politics, and some of the very processes by which we think and learn.
The future of education will not be defined by simply transferring today’s courses and programs into a pedagogically identical form online. Rather, it will be the defined by new learning delivery systems and innovative curricula such as moving from a physical campus to a hybrid physical/virtual campus which includes technology-enhanced classrooms, digital platforms and tools for residential students, and a cornucopia of ways to engage digitally regardless of physical location.
The lives and needs of our students will mutate in a rapidly evolving digital world that blurs the lines between formal education and informal learning. Increasing value will be placed on cognitive skills, adaptability, global awareness, cultural sensitivity, and lifelong learning.
The widespread availability of too much information means that learning requires active student engagement. Schools/universities must shift from teaching to learning.
Because of its power and cost, residential experiences will be used strategically in combination with off-campus preparation, periods of site-specific immersive learning, and digitally mediated engagement with peers and mentors away from campus.
As we build plans for the future, we recognize the changing nature of the higher education landscape.
What stands out is the responsibility we have to be a generous provider of educational opportunity and facilitate efforts to share Stanford’s research knowledge and specialized expertise broadly through new models of learning and engagement.
The Learning Design Lab is a virtual place of ideation. Faculty are encouraged to pitch new ideas seeking VPTL funding, and together we move through a process of iterative experimentation. Outcomes are assessed and successful concepts are put into practice.
The Learning Design Practice hosts both a suite of services and recommended practices for a variety of topics under the umbrella of teaching and learning. The suite of recommended practices is an ever- evolving set of well-researched, well-documented approaches for reshaping the student experience.
As a part of VPTL, Stanford Online provides learning opportunities to the public in conjunction with many of the university’s schools and departments. Through free online courses, graduate and professional certificates, advanced degrees, and executive education programs, we are facilitating extended and meaningful engagement with Stanford faculty and their research, for learners of different ages, regions, and backgrounds throughout many stages of their lives and careers.