Educators from all over the world will discuss new approaches to teaching and learning at the Singapore Institute of Technology’s Applied Learning Conference on 30-31 January.

Among the headline speakers is Dr Paul LeBlanc, President of the Southern New Hampshire University, who will speak on his vision for precision learning. “Can we build a system that maybe does not yet attempt to create a singular learning path for the individual, but at least is malleable and flexible enough to conform around the needs of groups of learners?” he asks.

In the run up to the event, he shares with GovInsider two rising trends in education that you need to know and will be discussing at the conference.

1. Precision education

According to LeBlanc, there is room for educators to consider the needs of students more carefully. “Students come into the university on our terms, we take little heed of their individual profile and differences, and we give them pretty much the same experience,” he says.

However, everyone learns a little differently. “We know that the traditionally aged student, straight out of secondary school, is a far different learner than an adult coming back to retool. We know that the needs of a highly marginalised learner are far different than those of a privileged learner,” notes LeBlanc.

“Through science, we have been given insights into the very different ways that various learners best gain knowledge and skill,” says LeBlanc. And it is time to apply these insights to help students learn better.

2. Micro-credentials

Another trend that has been on the rise is micro-credentials – bite-sized forms of certification to recognise short-term periods of learning. The rate at which our world is advancing has led to a need for constant reskilling. As such, schooling and working can no longer remain two separate phases of life.

“In our industrial model, a degree earned at age 21 or so could suffice for a lifetime of work. That notion seems outdated today, and people will need to dip in and out of the higher education eco-system all of their careers,” says LeBlanc.

But not everyone will be enrolling in five-year-long postgraduate programmes. Some of these reskilling courses could span anywhere from just a couple of hours to a few months.

Schools are now coming up with systems to recognise that learning, and these could come in the form of “badges, nano-degrees, micro-masters and more”, says LeBlanc. These systems have been widely accepted by students; LeBlanc shared that “even as degree enrollments have stayed flat, enrollments in micro-credentialing programmes have dramatically increased”.

Dr Paul LeBlanc will discuss how education institutes can adopt this approach at the Applied Learning Conference 2020. Reserve your spot today!

When: 30 – 31 Jan 2020
Where: Sands Expo & Convention Centre | Marina Bay Sands Singapore