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As a proof-of-concept, Emerging Futures uncovered a deeper understanding of student needs through a challenge based, virtual engagement platform.

The insight

Academics see their work as contributing positively to helping solve of the world’s largest collective problems.

Lifelong learning, unbundling, online, micro-credentials and a stronger orientation towards direct career outcomes are creating a new kind of demand for higher education

Specialised programmes will become more popular and higher valued over generic offerings.

Flexibility and affordability will be key to meet the changing demands of the future student.

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The Challenge

To test the Global Challenge concept from the Tertiary Innovation workshops and learn about future students from around the world and understand how they problem solve.

The opportunity

To engage future learners in a two-way exchange within a uniquely New Zealand learning experience.


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What we did

To understand the needs of learners and what intrinsically motivated them, we established a participatory learning platform designed to encourage conversation and knowledge exchange.

We chose to communicate and observe rather than survey.

The offer to the learners was a Global Summit experience where they had the opportunity to hear directly from NZ innovators and academics about topics that interested them in the form of online panels.

In addition to this, participants could apply to join cross-cultural, trans-discipline working groups to live problem solve and ideate solutions to global challenges through a Human Centred design weekend.   


What we discovered

  1. Global challenges connect us.

  2. Global Citizens are proactive

  3. There is a huge desire to practice 21st Century skills through collaborative learning platforms

“I loved the experience of being able to find solutions to the challenges presented with people from other cultures and professions” Dominican Republic

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The Outcomes

26 teams collaborated to uncovered a series of local problems to be solved. The proof-of-concept highlighted a range of insights into the needs of the learner and approaches to augment the student experience.