Then and now: How tech has changed the face of studying

How the education landscape has evolved with developments in technology.

There’s no denying that technology has altered the way we learn. In no time at all, the ‘paper-is-best’ model has been replaced by more interactive and accessible digital learning systems.

And trees aren’t the only ones who are thankful!

With online access to textbooks, lectures and student discussions, the classroom is now anywhere you can find an Internet connection.

So rather than having to go out into the world to quench your thirst for knowledge, the world can come to you.

And no one will ever know that you got your communications degree in your pyjamas!

Studying way back when

Even as little as 10 years ago, university learning was based around an analogue model where students attended lectures at the university, took notes in spiral notebooks and lugged around bicep-crushing textbooks.

But at least the Internet was a legitimate research tool and journal articles were available online. 

If you go back another 10 years to the early 90s, the Internet was in its infancy.

Google wasn’t even created yet and studying at home meant carefully planning your online time around your family’s phone usage.

Textbooks and encyclopaedias were still the best reference at hand for cramming and writing 2000-word essays. The library was the first (and sometimes the only) point of call around assessment time, and the only computers (if any) to be found there were a handful of Power Macintoshes – which you had to book a time for. 

All assessments were submitted in person as personal email addresses only became popular after Hotmail was founded in mid-90s.

In other words, if you wanted a degree, you always had to show up for it.

Today in the world of study

Fast-forward to today and university study is barely recognisable.

Technology has made learning so readily available for students, there’s almost no excuse for not completing or submitting course work.

Opportunities have opened up for students to study remotely, meaning they don’t have to travel for two hours just to attend one lecture. In fact, they don’t even have to travel for 10 minutes if they are unable to. 

Lectures can be streamed via smartphone, tablet or computer, and online discussion forums are available for students to chat about topics outside of class.

These advancements are particularly helpful for students studying by correspondence or juggling full-time work and study. 

From online lectures to convenient eBooks, advancements in technology have opened up an entirely new world of learning.

A shift away from face-to-face class time means students can do their course work at a time that is convenient to them, and relocating for university is no longer a necessity.

Textbooks have also changed. A move towards digital textbooks is not only more affordable on a student budget, it’s easier on the shoulders too.

Digital readers and eTextbooks allow for easy access, note taking and referencing. Simply highlight your chosen text and clever apps will store the notes and reference information for you. No post-it notes or scribbling needed!

Certain apps such as Apple's iBooks textbooks are now creating more interactive books, which include videos, clickable diagrams and 3D pictures - making learning far more immersive than ever before.

They’re available on any connected device but ipads and laptops are best.

With so many advancements in learning in such a short time, it’s hard to imagine what the next twenty years will hold. One thing’s for certain though, the classroom will be anywhere you can find an Internet connection.