Start of German study on higher ed in a digital world

International team under the leadership of a FiBS/HIS-HE Consortium investigates the demands on higher education in the digital world and develops scenarios for 2030.

Announcing a new study “International Horizon Scanning: Trend Analysis on the Digitalisation of Higher Education”, which start in February 2018 and is carried out by the FiBS Research Institute for the Economics of Education and Social Affairs in cooperation with the HIS-HE Institute for Higher Education Development. The study is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The FiBS/HIS-HE Consortium headed by Dr. Dominic Orr and Dr. Klaus Wannemacher includes researchers from Graz University of Technology (Dr. Martin Ebner) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Philipp Schmidt, MIT Media Lab). The project duration of the study is one year.

German higher education is growing and diversifying. The composition of students is changing, the expectations of higher education are rising, and the digitization of people’s lives is making new learning environments possible. The new study examines which new models of higher education will emerge to meet the challenges by 2030. The objective of the study thus echoes some of the aims in the draft coalition agreement of the German government, which speaks of a new ‘push for digital education’, focusing on the changes to and challenges emerging from the economy and the world of work. To meet these challenges the acquisition of new competencies through new forms of learning will be necessary. At the same time, the draft agreement emphasizes digitization as a great opportunity to improve teaching and learning for higher education institutions.

Against this background, the study will investigate likely future developments of higher education in Germany with a special focus on the changes resulting from digitization. Future scenarios will be developed using the method of horizon-scanning, which will analyse emerging trends in the following areas:

  • Knowledge and competence requirements emerging through economic and societal change
  • New learning theories that will lead to pedagogic modifications for effective teaching and learning
  • Emerging digital technologies that will enable new forms of learning and new learning environments

The study will also use innovative methods, such as a blogging festival, to discuss the first conclusions and gather further ideas with a wide range of experts.

In order to assure that the international perspective on future developments is reflected in its work, the consortium will be supported by international experts from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and South Korea, as well as the World Bank.