Europe’s higher education leaders have identified new printing technologies as having a key role in syllabuses across the continent.
According to a new a new study commissioned by Ricoh Europe, 88% say that new skills learnt through the use of technologies such as digital fabrication and 3D printing are vital to educational success and preparing students for the graduate job market.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, says: “Digital fabrication and 3D printing provide the ability to illustrate complex concepts across a variety of subjects. As the way people and machines work together continues to evolve, integrating technical abilities into the learning process helps ensure the skills required of the future workforce become second nature for today’s students.”
These skills are especially crucial for prototyping concepts and expressing designs in disciplines such as textiles, medicine, automotive and engineering – for example, advanced turbines or intricate components for machines. 65% of those surveyed say 3D printing is an increasingly important component of STEM-based learning. To enable this, 84% of educational facilities have already invested or are planning to invest in ‘Maker Education’ practices – printing technologies that enable students to construct and personalise objects to support their learning – over the next two years.
Institutions are also using new printing technologies to appeal to prospective students of all backgrounds and ages through tailored courses and flexible learning options. 66% say investing in new printing technology is a key way to attract new students and improve student satisfaction with their institution and course. Many are making course content and resources easier to access by providing personalised syllabus materials (48%) and the flexibility to print on-demand from any location (43%).
Mills adds: “Rising tuition fees across much of Europe have had a fundamental impact on the role of educational institutions. Encouraged to act more like ‘service providers’, universities and colleges must continually raise the bar in both student satisfaction and accessibility. Responding to this by using print in new ways to offer increasingly diverse courses and tailored syllabus content is fast becoming essential.”