Research Sponsored by Ricoh Finds: The Education Sector is the Most Optimistic About the Impact of Technology Led Change

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The education sector is more optimistic than its peers in Financial Services, Healthcare and the Public Sector when it comes to the impacts of technology.

The rewards for those that are able to keep up with the pace of technology-led change are high.

90 per cent of education leaders, the highest of those surveyed, believe that technology has made them more imaginative and creative at work, with 80 per cent saying that it has also made them more productive. The insights are from a study called Humans and Machines, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh, which investigates the impacts of technology on human creativity and intuition across major industry sectors.

The majority (71 per cent) of education leaders also say that technology has helped them to make good decisions. A further 72 per cent, again the highest of any other sector surveyed, said they believe that the interaction between professionals and technology will be hugely beneficial for the economy as a whole.

However when converting its optimism into results, the biggest challenge for education leaders is that technology is evolving more quickly than its processes or ways to use it – more than half (52 per cent) said this was the case. Nearly 9 in 10 sector respondents (88%) agree that human-technology interaction will only add value if humans are more creative with the processes developed to connect the two.

“The positivity from global education leaders is uplifting, as the sector focuses on transforming for the future,” says Paul Braham, Director - IT Services and Professional Services, Ricoh UK. “But the pace of change is fast, driven by technology and the students’ who are entering the education system. It is also driving the need for administration and learning environments to review and change the way they work. More efficient and innovative processes are required across a range of functions from attracting new students to enrolment and student services.”

The rewards for those that are able to keep up with the pace of technology-led change are high. For example, higher education can use big data and analytics to improve student processes and remain competitive. By adopting a digitised application process and data analytics, universities can feature personalised information about an individual’s studies and interests. The process will also help to reduce overall marketing and production costs too, as on-demand production will reduce the overall volume of information created and reduce storage costs.

Further efficiencies can be gained by managing all data via a cloud service. Such optimised processes will increase agility, allowing education establishments to adapt more quickly to further technology led change. Improved efficiency will also support establishments seeking funding from the European Commission who has called for the investment of an additional €150 million each year at European level. According to the European Commission, universities should first try to ensure that existing resources are efficiently used in order to obtain funding.

The need to remain efficient and competitive is also essential as the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) increases. This model offers the appealing vision of democratised education, bringing learning to millions of people who would never have the opportunity to attend university. So far they are mostly from the US, and they have the potential to change the face of tertiary and even secondary education.

And future competition may even come from business - Wim Westera, a Dutch physicist and educational technologist at the Open University of the Netherlands is quoted in the report by the Economist Intelligence Unit he says, “If higher education remains the way it is, with its 19th-century model of lectures, then within ten years we will have Google University and Walt Disney University taking it over.”

However, survey respondents believe the interaction with a real human being will remain essential in education in the future. When asked where human intuition was most critical the most popular response was teaching itself, (34 per cent) closely following by the development of new teaching materials (27 per cent). It is most likely that technology-enabled learning will mean that the role of teachers and lecturers in the classroom will change rather than disappear.

Braham says, “The respondents of the survey are positively embracing the benefits technology can bring to the education system in the future. However by accelerating the pace of change and transforming the traditional ways of working are essential if they are to continue to boost the knowledge economy and support the needs and demands of the next generation.”

See more insights at: http://imagine.change.co.uk/2013/04/humans-and-machines-in-education-infographic/

| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services.

Under its corporate tagline, imagine.change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit http://www.ricoh.co.uk

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For further information, please contact Anna Powell, Proof Digital on behalf of Ricoh UK Ltd [e] anna(at)itsproof(dot)co(dot)uk.

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