The age of all things connected; the age of the ‘instant’ generation
The English alphabet has all but lent its last letter to name a generation. The baton has passed on to the Greeks. Gen Z has made way for Gen Alpha. To demystify, members of Gen Z are ‘digital natives’ , while Gen Alpha cohorts are ‘screenagers’  – two terms that unambiguously sum up the digital dependency of these generations. The future soldiers of the global workforce are growing up on a diet of mobiles, smartphones, tablets, and AI-powered voice technology to communicate, surf for information and find entertainment. Self-directed, tech-empowered, and digitally-integrated, these generations are characterized by the “instant” syndrome – instant information, instant interactions, and instant solutions . However, it would appear, that the orbit of this thrilling new world just about, if at all, passes through the portals of higher education that the digital natives must, by a rite of passage, transit. It begs the question, what are higher education institutes (HEI) and universities doing to remain relevant; to reclaim their power as respected seats of knowledge for generations who tend to ‘figure out stuff’ on their own?
A shake-up that universities cannot afford to ignore
Waves of technological innovations, geared towards accessibility, convenience, and engagement are driving important everyday choices. For students that translates to how they absorb new information and integrate it with their existing repertoire. Augmented reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) have disrupted traditional flows of learning and created hyper realities that stimulate learning experiences. Such advanced uses are still not a part of mainstream university education, despite being massive strides in the field, nonetheless. Therefore, as the lines between formal and informal education blur, as the need for skills-ready individuals who can bring creativity and innovation to the workplace takes precedence, the question then is: what must universities do to harness the energies of these over-stimulated minds and shape them productively? The answer lies in building a future-ready learning ecosystem.
The ABCs of a learning ecosystem
Consider a learning ecosystem like a wheel, wherein the students, content, delivery systems, and data are its cogs, connected to an axle of governance parameters. Each component is symbiotically related to the other. This is not to say that traditional classrooms lack this set-up; however, the nature of the components and how they interact, the shift in power to some components over the others is what differentiates the conventional from the future-ready.
A radical shift from the teacher-centered approach in the classroom; a re-imagining of course curriculum to purposefully engage and enable flexible learning plans to optimize a learner’s skills; integration of tools and technology to enable content creation, delivery, and learner data in real-time – in short, creating an immersive and responsive learning ecosystem is the game-changer. 
Let’s peel down the ecosystem into its essential parts :
Of the bulk of people who make up this ecosystem, the sizeable population is that of the students or the learners. If they consume quality content, the ecosystem thrives. In a future-ready ecosystem, the learner drives the car, the faculty are facilitators, mentors, and coaches who guide.
This is the core of the disruptive change that is beckoning. The content needs to mirror technologically conditioned students. Self-paced learning modules with a hands-on approach, simulations, podcasts, videos, and gamified learning are proven ways to solidify the practical application of theoretical concepts.
Technology and Data:
A learning experience platform is a robust way to curate content, create learner pathways for skill development, track a bouquet of learning activities, network students for social learning, and provide detailed data for faculty to gain insights into student development and their learning preferences.
Every university needs to establish its learning vision, strategy, the selection or retirement of learning assets, technology, and the type of data needed to optimize the usage of the ecosystem. Governance is key to the success of the learning ecosystem.
Integra’s Learning Solutions Architect, Manju Singh, shares:
“As the education industry was transitioning rapidly from a classroom-only setting to a hybrid and online environment, Integra stepped in to provide digital-first content while managing the entire transformational project. Integra did a deep dive into the current state of learning artifacts and their usability and created a project scope for required changes within a lean budget and an eye on the reusability of assets. The team recommended more robust instructional strategies and successfully delivered content upgrades and new digital assets for a new delivery platform within time and budget. 
Our studio is constantly innovating to surface the value of progressive technologies. Intending to create an immersive first-person learning module on the types of fire and their extinguishers, Integra created a proof of concept right from storyboarding to its final stage of a training module in a 3D environment with simulations and interactivities.” 
The time is now
With a generation that is likely to search for Do it Yourself (DIY) videos on YouTube or subscribe to educational apps to visually learn core concepts, or even forage Insta reels; universities have quite the mountain to climb to keep their students focused, attentive, and productive. As the demand for personalized, on-demand experiences is nowhere near abating, HEIs and universities need to accept this new reality and accelerate the evolution of their learning ecosystems to pass the ultimate litmus test – the perception of value from their students.
Integra – a reliable partner to catapult universities into the future-ready state
Integra’s suite of services is at scale to provide the building blocks of a dynamic ecosystem to HEIs and universities. An entire team of experts collaborates seamlessly to create a curriculum at par with current trends and reduce the time to launch. Transform your content and systems today with our capable team of specialists who leverage 2D/3D animation technology for enhanced learner engagement. Partner with our innovators to deploy immersive content enabled by AR, VR, Mixed Reality (MR), and 3600 video apps.