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EdTech boosts the accessibility of higher education

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What is EdTech?
Educational technology, often referred to as “EdTech,” is the study and practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological resources. In other words, EdTech is considered as the use of digital technology to engage learners in new and innovative ways.

How EdTech is transforming the learning landscape
The classroom of today looks markedly different to the classrooms of ten years ago; gone are the days of a single desktop computer in the corner of the classroom and teachers reliant on textbooks. Recent years have seen iPads and laptops fast becoming educational essentials with teachers turning to technology in an effort to enhance their lessons and keep students engaged. Today’s generation are digital natives who respond intuitively to technology so education is adapting to the way students learn best.

The impact of EdTech on online learning
It was inevitable, as technology has become more and more advanced, that online learning opportunities would grow. In fact, the advancements in technology have been a catalyst for improving the online learning landscape. According to a survey by the Online Learning Consortium, 77% of students believe that EdTech improves engagement with course materials. 94% of the University CIOs also agreed that digital curricular resources improve the learning experience for the student.

In what specific ways has EdTech made online university degrees more accessible? Here’s a closer look:

1. Widens access to higher education
Advancements in technology have enabled learning to move outside the classroom, which means that conventional university degrees are no longer the only way to learn. The rise of the internet means that students can learn from anywhere, whether that is at home, on the train or even on the beach. Online university degree programmes can overcome the boundaries of geography, time and money which makes higher education accessible to everyone, no matter where they are in the world.

2. Facilitates flexibility in education
The advances in remote-learning technology have made way for a change in the institutional form of university. EdTech has facilitated the learning experience; students aren’t bound to classrooms but instead have the flexibility to study on their own schedule. Some students are managing a complicated triangle of work, family, and school; new online learning methods mean they are not restricted to specific class hours, instead they can choose the day, time and place to study.

3. Overcomes financial concerns
Increasingly more students are finding it a challenge to afford the traditional university experience and with tuition fees constantly on the rise, prospective students look to be crippled by student loans debt for many years into their graduate life. The average UK graduate faces debts of £35,000 – £40,000 when they graduate from their university course; this level of expense is deterring students from following the conventional university path. Online learning degrees have become a strong alternative to face-to-face instruction as students are looking for ways to keep their tuition costs down. EdTech has played a fundamental role in relieving the financial burden associated with traditional education delivery with online learning degrees costing as little as a fifth of the price. Developments in technology have made it possible to access educational content online, which reduces the costs associated with traditional studying (including lecturers’ fees, textbooks and commuting costs).

4. Offers individualised learning
EdTech has changed the way people learn; the one-size-fits-all approach to education does not suit today’s learners. Higher education can now be tailored and personalised to accommodate the individual thanks to online learning degrees, which enable the student to progress through the course material at different speeds according to their needs.

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