Educational aspirations are influenced by the need to successfully transfer learning skills and achievements from a programme’s learning outcomes. Researchers and practitioners in the field of education have introduced numerous strategies to attain their targeted learning outcomes.
Some strategies that have existed since earlier civilisations emphasise the role of teachers as the source of knowledge and skills. The emergence of the Internet has opened up a whole new world of educational resources and created new learning opportunities. This has brought about a transformed role for teachers to facilitate the learning process in a learner-centred environment.
The learner-centred approach espouses innovative benefits from the use of technology to deliver knowledge and skills as well as the introduction of innovative learning designs. The use of technology in education has continued to evolve in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, creating interest in developing best practices and innovative designs for successful delivery of 21st century educational outcomes. The areas of interest include pedagogies, learning objects, learning platforms and learning analytics. The birth of open science has also contributed to the growth of technology-assisted education through the introduction of open educational resources (OER).
The sub-themes will explore the following concerns related to innovations and technology in education:
Educational assessment must be designed in line with the intended educational outcomes of courses in an academic programme. Educational institutions worldwide have utilised various types of assessment formats in accordance with their purpose of strengthening and enhancing education. Some of the crucial aims of assessment include creating learning opportunities as well as grading and quality assurance. Since their inception, open universities have been concerned with providing assessment structures that can lead to valuable learning opportunities.
Assessment design is a priority to scholars and practitioners for various reasons. Studies related to principles of assessment continue to provide the background for the field. As the world of education and technology evolves, new research focusing on types of assessment has also emerged. Many organisations and institutions are concerned with discovering best practices and innovative solutions as the expected educational outcomes and skills of 21st century graduates, change. The emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has introduced new types of assessment which are influenced by data mining and analysis of assessment results. With the emergence of open education, there have been changes such as the introduction of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which also create interest in distributed assessment.
The sub-themes will explore the following concerns related to assessment for the 21st century:
Open education has been adopted by governments, institutions and organisations to strengthen and enhance education and training. A major objective has been to widen access to learning opportunities. A large number of adults are unable to continue their studies at tertiary level for various reasons.
Access to education is still a worldwide problem, due to inequalities associated with gender, ethnicity, wealth and location. Many organisations and institutions are still grappling with issues of how to improve access and provide learning opportunities to those who are disadvantaged and marginalised. Open education seeks ways to alleviate the challenges of widening access to education.
Access to education coupled with enculturation of lifelong learning can change the landscape of society towards enhanced inclusiveness. Lifelong learning is defined by the Commission and the Member States within the European Employment Strategy as “all purposeful learning activity, undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence” (Source: A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, Commission of the European Communities, 2000).
The sub-themes will explore the following concerns pertaining to access to education and lifelong learning: