Recently, I weighed in on what I see as a critical choice for higher educationEither, universities can slowly abandon hybrid learning as the threat of COVID-19 wanes, or doubledown on technology infrastructure – moving boldly into the future of higher education.  

Of course, my recommendation is the latter, believing that institutions that embrace tech transformation will thrive in the coming decadesAnd the closer we move toward the reality of a post-pandemic world, the more the gravity of that choice comes home.  

Seeing the Future of Hybrid Learning  

It’s not often that leaders of an industry are given this much foresight – and thus power – to enact changeWhile the hardships COVID-19 inflicted on students, faculty, and administration can’t be understated, neither can the impact of the transformation campuses have undergone in the last yearIn the shadow of a worldwide pandemic, decision makers have been shown the bright, technology-focused future of higher education 

 They’ve experienced the wins. Weathered the short-comings. And, hopefully, jotted down a few lessons learned. Higher learning leaders are now well-positioned to create the inclusive and technology-enabled learning environments that students and faculty will demand. With the momentum of 2020 behind themcampuses have the tools and stakeholders to make secure, connected, and engaging education reality. 

Or not. Academia is known to be steeped in tradition. Some institutions may choose to return unchanged to their hallowed halls, or at least stem the tide of technology integration into them. I certainly hope that it is a small minority. Because, as they return to what they see as “normal,” the world will move on. As will students and faculty, in their turn.   

Moving Forward  

While COVID-19 remains top-of-mind, months of vaccine administration begins to provide a glimpse of what will be. This can – and should be – a time of embracing possibilities and “what’s next.” Higher education was given the key to the hybrid learning exam. The question is: will they decide to pass the test? 

You can read more from The Guardianexamining the possibilities for hybrid learning in the coming months and years. And if you’re ready for more, check out our #EducationNow blog series for timely thought-leadership around education and education technology.


Renee Patton

Former Global Director of Education and Healthcare

Global Industry Solutions Group