Universities and colleges will have to create new learning environments to make the most of information technology, according to a study out this week by oil company BP and the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside.
Roger Lewis, BP professor of learning development at the university and co-author of the paper, believes that the availability of new technology has fuelled the trend to independent and lifelong learning.
But a "clearer vision" in institutions and in government is needed to support it, he says. Priorities include changes to how the curriculum is conceived, organised and presented to students, how best to deploy staff and develop learning materials.
The paper recommends that policy makers and funding agencies identify competencies and standards in the use of information technology for teachers and lecturers. It also suggests the launch of annual innovation awards for teachers to recognise initiatives aimed at increasing the use of technology in support of learning.
It also suggests research on the changing role of the learner and teacher under the influence of new technology and the impact of technology on the management of learning and assessment.
Professor Lewis also wants much stronger links between schools and further and higher education institutions and employers.