Today’s education is expanding in every aspect and coming to a turning point in its long-standing history. Sophisticated technologies are becoming a part of our everyday life to make it completely different from what it used to be 5 or 10 years ago and, likewise, the way we teach and learn is changing drastically as well.
There are plenty of interesting trends in modern education including video based learning, personalization, gamification, mobile learning, microlearning, acceleration and contextualization of learning, crowdsourced learning, and much more. However, if you would have to express it all in one word, you could say that digitalization is the main trend that is going to transform the world of education once and for all.
Indeed, the majority of impactful changes in the industry are in one way or another related to digital technologies. In this article, we are going to highlight the most interesting and influential trends in today’s learning and teaching and imagine what education is going to look like in the years to come.
1. Online Education
In a physical classroom, the efficiency of learning depends on such things as the standardized course structure, learning abilities of one’s classmates, media available in the classroom, and skills and knowledge of the only one tutor.
All these factors can significantly restrict the student’s opportunities to grasp the material and succeed in the learning process. Online education allows to break these limitations and restrict one’s learning pace and efficiency only by one’s own desire and natural gift – this is sometimes called the student-led model.
Online learning platforms are becoming more and more individually oriented. Now they are able to immediately identify the reason for any problem you may have in the learning process and then offer you a string of lessons to help you get over it. You do not depend on other participants of the learning process and are not restricted in time. As a result, you can comprehend each learning block at a pace comfortable for you, neither slowing down other students nor being slowed down by them.
2. Video Based Learning
Video instructions are getting more and more popular because they suit learners with any learning style preferences and include audio material (listening), text (reading), images (watching), and even kinaesthetic elements (practical exercises and video pause/repeat).
Every day people make new videos devoted to science, education, history, art, business, farming practices, exam preparations, cooking, learning foreign languages, and much more. Nowadays, video production is cheap and, in contrast to the past decades, requires neither a big professional team nor expensive technical equipment.
In addition to that, video material features a highly viral nature and spreads quickly among millions of Internet users across the globe. As a result, video based learning is quite likely to dominate online as well as many types of offline education. Pico mobile projectors, wireless Bluetooth speakers, and solar panels make it possible to show educational videos even in remote places without Internet access and good electricity facilities.
3. Mobile Learning
Our world is turning faster and faster and, with this breakneck pace of life, virtually nobody feels they have enough time for sufficient self-improvement and proficiency enhancement. Time is priceless as never before. That is why mobile technologies have effortlessly made their way into every aspect of our life.
Learners want a quick and easy access to information and mobile learning allows to shorten lessons and focus on the most significant points in the learning process. Microlearning modules can include 5-10 minute videos, small documents, or even just a couple of phrases that introduce or remind some essential data without burdening the learner with too much reading.
Thanks to mobile devices and microlearning applications, training courses and classes become more accessible. Combining deeper training sessions with microlearning episodes helps to really get outside of the subject and at the same time accentuate particular aspects with due regularity, making the learning process more efficacious and goal-oriented.
4. Personalized Teaching
An individual approach means more pleasure, engagement, and efficiency in the educational process. Each year, developers create and update a plethora of applications and platforms for students as well as teachers to make the learning process more customizable and, therefore, more personal.
With the help of such software, modern tutors and educators can easily share content with manually formed groups of learners or even individually and get feedback in the form of messages, images, and polls. On the other hand, students themselves can personalize the learning process by choosing topics, exercises, difficulty level, schedule, etc. in applications they use for their studies.
Gamification is learning through play. This method is mainly used in preschool and elementary education allowing young students to learn something without even realizing it. It also helps to keep students motivated by making the learning content more attractive and giving immediate satisfaction during each lesson.
In fact, gamification can be a highly efficient learning technique at any age and many adults learn effectively through play as well (only through different games). An experienced teacher can choose or create an educational gaming tool in accordance with the student’s age and interests to make the learning process more smooth, rewarding, and efficacious.
6. Crowdsourced Learning
The Internet has given us a wonderful opportunity not only to access millions of educational videos in all imaginable fields of activity but also to become teachers ourselves. On one hand, anybody can create an educational YouTube channel to upload one’s own video instructions or blog to write articles on a particular topic.
On the other hand, those who want to hear real people’s opinions can ask a question on a dedicated questions-and-answers portal, for example, Quora, Answerbag, Yahoo! Answers, Answers, etc. Now anyone can share their knowledge or opinions and information circulates at the speed of light.
7. Accelerated Learning
Digital technology has made access to information quick and easy and now online learners are able to obtain the same skills and knowledge many times faster than earlier. Most of information, research, and expert advice are instantly available on the Internet, allowing students to acquire new knowledge and professional skills as rapidly as just in a couple of hours. Sometimes it is a matter of several months or even weeks to acquire a new profession.
8. Contextualized Learning
Current educational programs are often generic in nature and they start to give way to highly contextualized learning. That means new learning models will be custom-designed with consideration for the student’s level (beginner, intermediate, advanced), location (climate, culture, existing laws), professional status (staff, supervisor, senior management), company type (corporate, SME, startup, government, non-profit), and industry (energy, materials, transportation, consumer services, retailing, food and beverage, banks, real estate, software, health care, media and entertainment, etc. – most likely in accordance with the existing industry classifications). Such customization will help to focus on those aspects in an educational program that are more relevant for this particular specialist in his/her particular field of expertise.
9. More Focus on Career Skills
While millions of students all across the globe are ready to spend their best years to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree this does not mean they will actually become sought-after competent specialists in the labor market.
Diplomas and certificates can be proof of your education but they do not prove you have specific skills that are useful for a particular job. Quite often certified specialists have to continue their education in the form of online courses to acquire up-to-date information and master the skills required.
Fortunately, online learning is getting easier and cheaper each year. Google has already started to provide professional accreditation to online learners in various fields of expertise and employers have increasingly accepted such “nanodegrees” as sufficient proof of employees’ professional competence. You can read more about Google AdWords or Google Cloud Certification.
10. World-Class Experts for Everybody
For 99% of students, it has been virtually impossible to learn things from world-class experts in their business sector, and no wonder. If you are a sought-after expert with unique knowledge and experience, probably you are pretty busy working in your field. Top-ranked specialists do not have time to visit every school around the world to share their professional knowledge with everyone interested.
Nevertheless, they are perfectly able to sometimes broadcast workshops and courses or make video instructions, which will be available to an unlimited quantity of learners from China to Peru. Some famous examples of experts who already do that on a regular basis are Gary Vaynerchuk, Aaron Patterson, Dan Abramov, and Seth Godin.
11. Digital Collaboration
While teachers always encourage their students to collaborate in class and at home, they themselves seldom do the same. As you know, in the world of education, practices and concepts are often divided between different subject areas, departments, or even schools.
However, lately educators and trainers have increasingly collaborated using various digital tools. Thanks to modern technology, they can effortlessly come together for double efficiency of their learning sessions. They can also learn from each other in the process. Sharing skills and knowledge has become easier than ever before, which is true for tutors to the same degree as for students.
In addition to that, an opportunity to use collaborative efforts of the “best on planet” tutors will drastically increase the overall quality of education in different corners of the world.
Thanks to the above mentioned methods and technologies, modern learning has become a good mix of meaningful content, social learning, and engaging learning strategies. Effective education delivers the right content at the right time and in the right medium and digitalization of the teaching/learning process helps to improve all of the three components. Online education democratizes the spread of knowledge allowing anybody with Internet connection learn virtually anything.
Probably the best pedagogic approach would be mixing up traditional and innovative teaching techniques, which many schools and teachers already do – for example, by alternating digital and classical live training sessions, or combining emerging video instructions with standardized text materials, or alternating classical one-person teaching with digital collaboration lessons.
Obviously, the world of education will continue to transform with the use of new technologies, making the learning process even easier, quicker, and more personal than it has already become.