Prominent Educational Trends in 2021
on March 15, 2021
As the world settles into its second year of the new normal, the education industry has seen something of a revolution as schools, universities, and other tertiary places of study transition to the digital sphere more permanently. Even as vaccination programs ramp up globally, it’s likely that teaching will continue to make use of digital technology for the foreseeable future. With these challenges and developments in mind, it’s useful to take a look at the projected educational trends for the year.
Just as in 2020, online learning is definitely the most popular educational trend for 2021. Recent developments in educational technology mean that deploying online learning at scale is now possible. The benefits of this are undeniable. For starters – it’s extremely cost-effective. Online learning is, by and large, far cheaper than traditional learning institutes and their lofty list of costs. It’s also far more accessible to a wider range of learners. By eliminating location as a barrier to entry, more people in remote areas can receive the same standard of education as those who live in close proximity to physical colleges.
It’s no secret that attention spans are rapidly shortening. Because of the tidal wave of information that our brains are constantly bombarded by on a daily basis, it’s harder than ever to pay attention. As a result, people are finding it physically difficult to concentrate and process large amounts of information.
Nano-learning is a response to this phenomenon. It approaches education from a bite-sized perspective, providing students with small amounts of information over smaller chunks of time so that they might better retain it. It’s used to deliver condensed information in an engaging format and allows students to retain more information, concentrate more easily, be more productive and learn more effectively.
Artificial intelligence offers a more personalized learning experience for students. AI systems can be put to use to quickly and effectively tailor content to a student’s learning style. It can be leveraged to allow students to consume educational content in a form they find more manageable. It also aids educators who can make use of education software and AI technology to more readily distribute knowledge to their students. With new features like smart content and virtual global conferences, artificial intelligence is something that will soon find its way to classrooms everywhere.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology gets more sophisticated, both are finding their way into classrooms. VR, through an interface with a VR-headset like the Oculus Rift, allows students to immerse themselves in a virtual world for an unparalleled learning experience. Imagine teaching your students about Ancient Egypt and then letting them stand before the Pyramid of Giza right in your classroom.
While some worry that the costs of VR equipment are prohibitively expensive, there are some low-cost alternatives such as Google Cardboard that require only a smartphone to use and can still offer a fairly immersive experience.
Augmented reality doesn’t have the same barrier of entry as VR, as it can be used on most smartphones and tablets. AR works by projecting images, sound, and video and layering them over a screen’s display. While not as immersive as VR, it is extremely interactive, and a great tool for overlaying your display with any number of useful educational aids.
Project-based learning is a methodology that supplements academic learning with hands-on experience. Through this method, students are encouraged to participate in real-life projects and learn by doing while under the supervision of the teacher. An example of a project might be brainstorming how recycling can be better implemented in everyday living, and then proposing that students put forward solutions.
The goal is to give students some autonomy while they engage in complex problem-solving about real-life issues. Through this process, they will learn how to critically assess and think about problems, be creative, collaborate, and communicate efficiently.