The Future of the Education Industry
Andrey Delchev Auditorium was full of AUBG students and professors, who wanted to learn the results of the research, conducted by four AUBG students – Antoniya Dimitrova, Elena Zlatanova, Velichka Trendafilova and Dayana Panova. The research was initiated by Veneta Andonova, Associate Professor in the business department of AUBG. In their presentation they outlined the most relevant trends and developments in the educational industry. The event took place on Feb. 11.
The presenters started with the features of the current generation, attending educational institutions. As it turns out, Generation Z is impatient and with attention span of about 8 seconds. These students are empowered by technology, prefer virtual communication and self-education, and feel that they can change the world. The traditional universities, which are at the core of contemporary educational system, are trying to adapt to Generation Z and eliminate the gap between what universities offer and what students require.
One of the adaptations is a Flipped Classroom approach, based on online learning, when students prepare for lectures at home. The girls noted that suchapproach is student-centered: a professor is a coach supporting and guiding the learners. The benefit of the approach is increase in student engagement and average test score. The students’ attitude towards learning changes positively and encourages discussion and problem solving. Professors, however, are resistant to the new teaching technique because discipline and motivation is hard to maintain.
Another approach traditional universities have adapted is Gamification – applying game elements into a non-game environment. The presenters noted that, as well as flipped classroom, Gamification has led to increase in test scores,engagement, and motivation level. As a result of applying this approach, 85 per cent of the students have chosen harder tasks afterwards. This technique, on the other hand, requires strong technical improvements, which is costly and time-consuming.
One more innovation is the introduction of STEAM program instead of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The girls explained that STEAM is a combination of STEM plus Liberal Arts. It is integrated in the education system to help students transform ideas into products and satisfy the demand of the market for flexible people with hard and soft skills. The challenges to the implementation of the program are that it is time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, the combination of technology and arts leads to reduction in proficiency in each field, as opposed to direct education in one of them.
The introduction of entrepreneurship courses is another development, connected to the current demands of young people. The girls said that social entrepreneurship is the most preferred major and career choice among them. Young people also prefer to work while studying, which has aided closer university-businesses cooperation and provision of internships to students. A further identification that was mentioned was the decreased government spending on education in Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Greece, and Romania. It was increased in Germany and Turkey.
After the presentation Professor Milena Nikolova opened the floor for discussion during which different topics were addressed. The most heated conversation was about the importance of practice and theory in the process of learning.
To finish the presentation, some of the professors in the audience gave the students their advice. ”Remember that you can be successful at any level. Follow through on your potential. This is what makes the world a rich place,” Prof. Dinka Spirovska said. ”University is the right setting to try new things and not be afraid of failure. Try new things and seek our help,” Prof. Nikolova added.