The education sector is facing a transition away from traditional education models to an environment in which connected learning is dominant. This is not to say that classrooms are disappearing and lecture halls are irrelevant. Instead, teachers have new methods at their disposal and students can learn more independently without being as dependent on the classroom experience.
All of this innovation comes at a cost though, and that is often a need to continually innovate and potentially take on technical debt. Strategic investments in IT service management solutions can go a long way toward overcoming these issues and helping academic institutions embrace connected learning.
Looking at the Rise of Connected Learning
A recent Computerworld report explained that connected learning got its start in the mid-1990s when government initiatives began to encourage network installations that would provide increased connectivity in schools, libraries and other public institutions of learning. These early efforts have led to significant results as the country is now in a situation in which most schools and public learning facilities don't just have Internet access in a few computer labs, but in classrooms and common areas too.
Increased network access has led to new ways to learn. The news source pointed out that teachers have access to videos, content and applications that would be inaccessible if they didn't have Web access in their classrooms. At the same time, students can easily login to a computer and use various Internet tools to learn at their own pace. The result is an opportunity for individuals to pursue their own educational goals, learn about whatever they are interested in and explore new knowledge in an accessible way.
According to Computerworld, connected learning isn't just about enhancing the classroom experience or letting students go online, the core advance is really about empowering students. The connected learning methodology didn't really get its start with faculty or administrators. Instead, it started to become popular among motivated students who wanted to learn more than what they were getting in the classroom. These students starting leveraging Web functionality to enhance their learning experience and connect to key information any time, anywhere, letting them learn at their own pace.
Responding to Connected Learning
Technical debt is the result of rushed projects or efforts that are not designed well. In many cases, this happens when IT teams are either understaffed, given unrealistic deadlines or otherwise tasked with completing projects in a way that forces them to take shortcuts in how they design and develop solutions. IT teams in the education sector often face these types of conditions, especially now that connected learning is on the rise.
Academic institutions, school districts and other entities often need to complete projects quickly to make sure they are ready for students. Sometimes this urgency comes because of academic schedules, in other cases it could be because of limited budgets, excessive workloads or regulations that mandate programs are completed by a certain deadline. For example, transitioning to supporting Web-based standardized tests may need to be handled before a certain date. These pressures can cause IT teams to push through projects taking on technical debt because they know they will need to work harder later to fix these problems and support users that are running into glitches because of flaws created as a result of rushed development.
Strategic IT service desk solutions can play a key part in helping academic institutions either avoid technical debt or deal with debt that has been incurred. Advanced service desk solutions enable IT teams to automate repeatable processes, streamline operations and otherwise drive innovation. As such, making effective service management investments helps IT teams in academia embrace connected learning.