The NUS Education and Learning Blog

Month: February 2019

The Year Ahead in Education


2019 is set to be a monumental year in many ways. K Pop is set to go truly global, the elections in Thailand will be monumentally significant and we eagerly await to see whether Trump will win another year in office. 5G will soon be upon us, Alibaba will lose Jack Ma and KNK will supposedly make a comeback. In the field of education, especially online education, prepare to be hit by a wave of trends that will upend the industry and way education is delivered globally, largely as the result of evolving technologies. Here are a just a few that industry experts anticipate in 2019:


Artificial intelligence-based assessment will allow teachers the ability to be provided with consistent feedback, enabling them to better support students in reaching their goals through customised feedback and learning approaches.


New virtual systems designed specifically to accommodate remote exam proctoring will allow students to appear for exams from any location, using high-tech video, image and audio streaming to ensure students are not cheating during examinations. This is biggie, especially for students in the developing world or those living in remote communities who struggle to access schools and universities due to economic or physical reasons.


In a similar vein, consistent improvements in virtual technology including the development of 5G networks in North America will allow virtual classrooms to at last become a high-definition reality. No matter what subject or course students wish to study, be it ancient Latin or Asian study courses, they will hopefully soon be able to access such a course online from wherever they are located in the world, enabling equal access to education for possibly the first time ever. Mobile learning, live webinars and online web training sessions are just examples of how we will see this play out in reality.


In the working environment, technology will continue to support the consistent upskilling of those employees who seek to do so for career development. With more courses online than ever supporting hybrid skills and personalised learning, together with huge growth in modular learning, employees will be able to find courses in an instant that will suit their individualised needs and career goals.


No longer will this only refer to kids playing computer games but to the wider world of education. As the gamification of education becomes increasingly sophisticated and we see games similar to Nintendo Labo cropping up in stores worldwide, we will also see their use grow in the classroom. It comes as no surprise really, how better to engage young students in learning than through the pretense of game playing?


Improvement in learning management systems will see more teachers adopt such systems into their teaching strategies in 2019, particularly due to LMS’s ability to assess and track student progress. Bespoke LMS packages will continue to be developed which can cater to the needs of any educational organization.

There you have it – the classroom of 2019, upon us already.



Choosing the Appropriate IELTs and Its Application in Today’s World


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests for pursuing higher studies and migrating to the United States, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. There are 3 types of IELTS tests, i.e. IELTS Academic test, IELTS General Training and IELTS Life Skills.

IELTS Academic test is a must for admission to institutions of higher learning with English as the medium of instruction. People who intend to join professional associations in medicine, law and engineering in an English-speaking country also need to pass the IELTS Academic exam.

IELTS General Training is a necessity for enrolling at a secondary school and migrating to an English-speaking country. The USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK accept IELTS General Training scores as criteria of language competency for issuing immigration and school-level study visas. Some English-speaking countries insist on IELTS General Training qualification for native English speakers as well.

IELTS Life Skills, which is also known as UK Visas and Immigration, is a pre-requisite to gain immigration and citizenship of United Kingdom. The Life Skills test only assesses the speaking and listening English skills, so as to determine the capacity to communicate in everyday English. IELTS Life Skills A1 paves the way to UK Visas and Immigration family, spouse or partner visa, while IELTS Life Skills B1 opens the doors to permanent residence and citizenship.

The duration of an IELTS test is 2 hours and 44 minutes. The test is divided into 30 minutes for the Listening section, 60 minutes for the Reading section, 60 minutes for the Writing section and 11-14 minutes for the Speaking section. The Speaking section usually takes place on a different day. Each section not only tests the pertinent language skills, but also a variety of life skills, and the assessment is done on a band of 1-10.

In the IELTS Listening test, an examinee has to read the instructions, listen to the listening material and write down the relevant answers all at the same time. In the IELTS Speaking test, the candidate must listen to the questions and respond immediately after the examiner stops speaking. The candidate can use filler phrases or rephrase the question so as to gain some extra thinking time to formulate a response and demonstrate linguistic fluency. In the IELTS Writing test, effective time management is of paramount importance for a good score. The candidate should spend the right amount of time on each task by reading the question carefully, writing the answer and doing the final check within a limited span of time. The IELTS Reading test also places immense importance on timing. The test taker should first skim the text to arrive at a general understanding, read the questions, scan the text for apt answers and then re-read the text carefully to confirm the answer.

To conclude, every IELTS aspirant should understand dynamics of the test, choose the appropriate test and work hard at it.

How to Pursue a Graduate Degree While on a Budget


Expenses in undergraduate add up and will continue to do so in undergraduate programs. You can take control of your budget effectively and make the most out of it with some key tips in mind. Don’t allow yourself to succumb to massive debt when it can be avoided with these tips:

Take Out the Smallest Amount of Loans if Possible

Only take out the loans you need. This might mean taking out loans for classes and school, but not living expenses like rent. If you can score a bartending job, that can help you pay for your expenses that aren’t school-involved. You will thank yourself for this later. Student loans in graduate school can pile up pretty quickly if you aren’t careful.

Establish Good Credit As Soon as You Can  

If you don’t already have a credit card, get one. You should definitely get a rewards credit card. This can save you a lot of money through cash back programs and other benefits. When using a credit card, make sure you are buying things you can pay off at the end of the month. This seems like a no-brainer, but you want to avoid credit card debt at all costs. Use your credit card to elevate your financial standpoint, not worsen it.

Save Money by Shopping Online and at Discount Stores

Buy your books and school supplies online at used books shops. There are good deals on Ebay and Amazon. A lot of people just want to get rid of their books and will make them pretty cheap on these sites. This is way better than paying full price for new books.

Buy your clothes second-hand if possible as well. You can also shop at inexpensive e-commerce sites. Try to not pay full price for anything while in graduate school. Not only can you save money on clothes by shopping cheaply, but there are discount grocery stores all over. Scope out the local grocery stores and find the ones with the lowest prices. Figure out which day of the week is the cheapest to shop during as well—this can save you a bunch of money.

Open a High Interest Savings Account 

 There are a ton of online banks out there that offer high interest savings accounts. Put any leftover money into these accounts to save up for when you have to pay off your loans. It might not feel like a lot of money, but it will be worth it in the long run. Any fraction of savings will help your financial standing.

Stick to Your Budget

Hold yourself accountable and stick to your budget. You don’t want to increase your stress of school by not having enough money. Decide what you can spend every month, and track your expenses.

Set a budget before you get busy with classes. This will be a skill you will use throughout graduate school and after. You can’t be too smart about money while in school—your future bank account will thank you.

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