It might seem like the linear progress aided by technology, but many scholars of humanities would argue that we have come to a full circle when it comes to education and learning. Many thousand years ago, humans started learning through observation, stories, and oral medium. Keen observers of the education technology would tell you that Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are bringing back the similar experiences to learning, albeit without the boundaries of places & geographies of the past.
From that age to the current day, changing technology, be it the advent of the printing press, or computers, and in more recent times the online education has consistently improved the face of the education. It has expanded the horizons, reduced the distances, and in turn enabled millions of people who otherwise would have no chance of getting educated to learn.
EdTech Evolution That Aligns With Business Needs
While education is not merely a tool towards materialistic success, it is the most crucial factor in helping people earn their bread and butter. With passing time, education has transformed itself from being largely theoretical to become practical and vocational skills-oriented. Especially online learning is, for the most part, focused on professional skills.
It is a rather curious phenomenon that despite the availability of so many learning resources and content, businesses find it challenging to get qualified professionals. Gartner has identified talent shortage as the biggest challenges that the organizations are facing. This phenomenon is critical to understand and deal with because the jobs of today are changing. Research from McKinsey and World Economic Forum estimates that around 800 million people will need to change their jobs by 2030.
Matching The Pace of Change
The challenge is primarily because of the fast-pace changes happening in social, economic, and technology spheres. The education needs to match the requirements of these changing environments, and the educational technology needs to enable this fast-paced change.
The industry leaders are responding to this need. Achieve3000, a partner with whom we have worked extensively and a leader in remote education space for more than 20 years, has an acceleration program that allows students to accelerate their learning 3.5X. On-demand, micro-courses are fast becoming a norm due to the needs of the fast and flexible learning ecosystem.
Learn By Doing
An extension of this trend towards professionally relevant skills is project-based learning. Through workshops, simulations, exercises, and real-life projects to complement the classroom teaching, there is increased attention towards ensuring the valuable output of learning efforts. The project-based learning also allows for better feedback by a mentor, thus making the whole learning process more meaningful. The project-based learning also provides more concrete evidence of skill acquisition. Demonstrable skills have better employability and opportunities.
Leading up to the project-based learning is interactive learning. This phase is where AR/VR technologies are making a big wave. Even when these technologies are not applicable or not feasible to use, simple interactivity and gamification are fast becoming prevalent. While AR/VR allows you to interact in an almost real-life environment and create spaces that are even physically difficult to visit, but with yet simple gamification techniques, the engagement results into increased stickiness of the learning. Smarty Ants, a product from Achieve3000 that we talked about earlier uses such interactivity to build the foundation among young children. Even classrooms are adopting interactive learning through smart boards and other classroom resources for introducing interactivity in classrooms.
The interactivity and project-based learning help learn the way we learn outside of classrooms. This emulation helps understand the concept better and remember them more effectively.
All of this is reflected in the way EdTech is shaping personalization. We have written extensively on various aspects of personalization in an earlier article, How Personalization Can Immediately Improve You EdTech Solution? Through our close interactions, we believe that the most significant impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be to accentuate the extent and effects of personalization.
Will Humans Be Relevant?
One crucial question, though in all the hype around the technology, is whether the role of a human in learning & education is relevant anymore? Or will it be the machines who will replace the teachers? While most educationists believe that complete mechanization of education will not happen, the possibility cannot be ruled out. Take social networks, for example. They were meant to bring people together, and they did, but virtually. The personal interactions are getting reduced with time. The workplaces are shifting to remote mode. A catastrophe like Covid19 has fuelled this trend out of necessity. How will this affect the human factor in education?
A New Beginning?
While we at BillionApps are technology guys and have no authority in social sciences and human psychology, we believe that the role of a teacher will undergo a massive transformation from what it is today. Teachers of tomorrow will be responsible for inducing & inculcating critical thinking skills into the student. They will teach the students to identify the right from the wrong. The students will learn resilience, patience, persistence, and many other virtues that make humans humane. They will learn compassion, empathy, and equality. If that doesn’t create a better world, what will?