Ed Talk: Machine Learning, AI and the Future of Tertiary Education

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Machine Learning, AI and the Future of Tertiary Education

“We need to be continually engaging with students”


Professor Mike Sharples, Emeritus Professor at Open University, UK is passionate about the designing of effective learning in digital technologies.

In conversation with Professor Sharples, he acknowledged the comfort level that the new generation of learners has, particularly with the likes of smartphones and personal tech. But this comfort level does not match how a next generation learner might use this technology in a learning environment.  Mike identifies how one of the strengths of the modern day learner is the ability to socialise in an online environment and bringing the thinking and methodologies associated with this into a blended an online learning experience is the key.

Professor Sharpless is excited about the likes of Machine Learning and how it will aid in predictive analytics, a technology that can begin to identify students who are potentially at risk or may need support in an area. These technologies can begin to create dynamic feedback loops to craft unique and tailored learning experiences for students.

“It’s not the case that students are going go into a single workplace they are going to change their careers every five to 10 years and we need to be continually engaging with students as they do”

Finally the conversation shifts to talk about the future of the tertiary education system, Professor Mike Sharples identifies the upcoming student, the “the lifelong learner” who may look to a university for unbundled education experience where a student may want a just in time option or “top-up” option like a short course or micro credential.