(An Australian perspective with thanks to Dave Phillips of UTS and Mal Chia formerly of University of Adelaide)

In idyllic hobart, Tasmania the Australian higher education technology community gathered to hear the latest advances in the sector.  I took away a couple of things from the conference:

there is an amazing revolution taking place in open learning due to the convergence of cloud, mobile and social technologies and librarians these days, kinda kick-ass

While we may expect students to arrive at university with nothing but a notebook and open minds, the reality is that students see themselves as highly connected and capable. The rise in consumer expectations means students expect to consume information on-demand and be able to create their own learning pathways using a selection of available course materials.

The Education Experience Gap

The traditional student lifecycle and the processes universities have created to service students may no longer be relevant. Student contact hours are slowly decreasing in favour of self paced online video and in person workshops where key skills such as team collaboration and decision making can be fostered.

The Student Journey

Unfortunately some campus technology has failed to keep pace with this new demand for self directed learning. Whats needed is a renewed emphasis on user experience and persona based design.

Technology Gap

However for institutions the complexity of stakeholders slows progress, many decisions require wide consensus or voluntary adoption. This means a university technologist spends a lot of time educating and lobbying peers to use the available technologies and process advancements.

The Institutional EnvironmentWhen I think about my own learning, I initially started a creative arts degree (I wanted to be on stage), switched to Marketing and then combined Information Systems after interning at a friends garage software startup. Seeing the potential to self learn with support of a good mentor I completed university full time but attended minimal contact hours (2 days a week), skipping unnecessary tutorials in favour of time spent in the workplace and self learning software development online.

My RealityMy Ven diagram might look a little like the above. I’m an advocate for a university education for my kids but I feel like institutions need to adapt to support life-long learning to support the needs of the workplace and individual enlightenment.

At salesforce.com we talk a lot about the convergence of Social, Mobile, BigData, Communities, Identity, Trust and Cloud as being a customer revolution. Its clear in education this also manifests as an education revolution.

Salesforce @ Theta 2013 from Derek Laney