Higher ed won’t ever be the same again

Covid-19 has forced colleges and universities to embrace digital learning (“Transforming Higher Ed?” The New York Times, Apr. 24). Whether the transformation will persist once the pandemic abates remains to be seen.

But strictly from a pedagogical point of view, I maintain that the change will be beneficial in the long run.  I say that because so much of traditional instruction in higher education is not effective.  I’m referring now to lecturing, where students sit passively while professors talk.

 In contrast, well-designed digital programs engage students by forcing them to make active responses followed by immediate feedback.  As a result, students move at their own speed and tend to retain what they have learned.  I’d be most interested in seeing the results of an experiment in which one group of students was taught by lecturing and a second group of students was taught digitally.

Even if the results proved that lecturing was inferior, I seriously doubt that much would change in higher education.  Tradition dies hard there.

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