Students say flexibility in attending college classes and completing coursework is a critical need, and they also increasingly recognize the value of soft skills and credentialing, according to a survey detailed in a new report.
The survey and report, COLLEGE 2030: Transforming the Student Experience, from Barnes and Noble Education, Inc. (BNED), features insights from college students, faculty members and campus administrators, and provides a view of the current state of higher education and an outlook on the decade ahead.
“The pandemic did not change the path for higher education, but it did change the speed at which we’re traveling on that path,” said Michael P. Huseby, BNED CEO and chairman. “Within the next 10 years, we will see a transformation of the student experience – from admissions through graduation – that will ultimately create a better, more inclusive and smarter world.”
The rise of flexible, personalized learning
The pandemic has prompted colleges and universities to revisit traditional methods of teaching and engaging students. And though the abrupt, nationwide switch to online and hybrid learning presented many challenges, it also served to emphasize that students do not all learn in the same way or at the same pace, and that for many, online learning can offer much-needed flexibility. As one community college student explained, “Not everyone is a traditional student with the same amount of time and resources.”
While in-person learning will always maintain its value, technology will allow the future of higher education to become more accessible, and more desirable, to students. In fact, 69 percent of students said more flexibility for attending classes and completing coursework was a key need.