Five ways higher education can use technology, including VDIs, to improve students’ experiences

Discover five ways higher education can use technology, including VDIs, to improve students’ experiences.

Are you involved in adult education? Whether you want to provide online courses for individual adult learners or you play a role in a higher education institution, it’s important to use technology effectively to improve your students’ experiences.

Here are five ways that higher education and adult education can use technology to improve students’ experiences.

1) Using a virtual desktop interface (VDI) in higher education

Large institutions, such as universities, may want to use VDI servers to allow all students to easily access applications through their own devices.

VDI stands for “Virtual Desktop Interface”. It’s a server-based software delivery technology that means that users can log in remotely to use a central operating system and apps. So, instead of all your students needing (say) a Windows device, you could run Windows applications on the virtual machine. Students can just access these as and when they need them, from whatever device they have.

VDIs have several advantages, including reduced administrative costs and a positive experience for students who want to use the devices that they’re already familiar with – rather than making use of campus computer labs.

However, a VDI probably isn’t a realistic option if you’re an online course provider. There are still lots of technologies you can use to improve your students’ experience of your course.

2) Providing online collaboration options

Are your students able to collaborate with one another? Many people learn best with the support of their peers, and with the ability to discuss course materials.

You might provide an online forum or discussion area within your course for students to engage with one another, and with you or other course convenors. Even something as simple as a private Facebook group for your course could help students to get much more from the materials.

3) Offering learning through apps

More and more people use their phone, rather than a desktop or laptop computer, to access the online world. Your course needs to be easily accessible through mobile devices – ideally through a dedicated app.

Online platforms such as Udemy offer a mobile app option to make it easy for students to access course materials at their convenience. If you know this is likely to be important for your customers, make sure you keep it in mind when planning how to launch your online course.

4) Giving feedback remotely

Students in formal institutions and students learning on their own dime all want regular feedback from course instructors. While this can sometimes be given in person, it’s also helpful to give remote feedback – this often lets students receive feedback more quickly.

Some type of remote feedback can be automated. For instance, you might create an online quiz so students can self-assess their learning whenever they’re ready.

You can also use online tools to offer direct feedback on students’ work. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as the comments feature in Google Docs could work well.

5) Using elements that suit different learning styles

Some students learn best through reading. Others prefer to watch a video. Some won’t “get” a concept when it’s explained verbally, but could grasp it instantly while looking at an infographic.

Where possible, try to make sure that your course materials are tailored to different learning styles. This is easy with technology, where you could provide video classes that are also automatically transcribed for students who prefer to read, or interactive or visual elements within predominantly written materials to help engage your students.

Of course, technology – however good it is – isn’t a replacement for good content and good teaching. Make sure your students’ experience is built on a foundation of solid material, and that you help them understand the concepts you’re teaching.

Provide opportunities for collaboration and feedback to help consolidate their learning. That way, you’ll have happy students who can’t wait to tell their friends about their great experience with you.