Learning doesn’t end when class does. Every student is unique. Enabling educators to understand the learning pattern of each and every student, EdTech will miraculously improve how we teach our future generations without leaving anyone behind.
Get used to the new buzz word ‘disruption’, because the word has lost its negative connotation as disturbance, interruption or annoyance in the world for EdTech. The word has now become synonymous to “a positive change” due to fast-paced changing technologies.
In light of the digital revolution, technology has been empowering students to embrace the new edge learning. With increased internet connectivity across the world, mobile/distance learning is one of the biggest trends in education. In fact, EdTech is more than just using smartphones or tablets in classrooms.
Students, despite their geographical and socio-economic boundaries, are now introduced to more adaptive, personalised and innovative teaching methods. More importantly, such curricula not only help students understand the ‘how’, but also help them understand the ‘why’.
Sensing tough competition from the modern digital distribution, even traditional universities are adopting new teaching methods besides using pedagogic lectures and textbook learning.
Let’s take a look at the trends shaping up that are going to revolutionise how students learn, and teachers teach. Here’s the taxonomy:
- Learn anywhere, any time
As we have witnessed already, with the increasing number of internet users, education has lost its geographical boundaries. Today, educators and mentors around the world, record their lectures and training sessions to ensure it reaches across boundaries. Meanwhile, parents and guardians are not far behind; they too are looking for new ways to harness technology to improve their child’s achievement at a low/minimal expense. In fact, many universities have been choosing to partner with massively open online course (MOOC) programmess to offer their students high quality and up-to-date resources with digital capabilities at low or no cost.
- LASER Focus; a tailored learning
Different people learn in different ways, hence it’s obvious that education will become more adaptive and personalised. Applying data analytics to adaptive learning, right from student’s engagement with course content to exam performance is becoming the new ideal learning style. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial intelligence (AI) play a significant role in measuring every learner’s needs and finding ways to offer learning experiences accordingly in a large classroom setting. There are several AI based applications (with predictive analytics) which can anticipate the special educational needs improving knowledge in different areas. Not only personalised and cost-effective learning, the AI powered apps leverage data capabilities to deliver instant recommendations and student-centred feedback unlike the traditional educational models.
- Closing digital skill gaps with blended learning
As the name explains, it’s a mixed-mode learning, i.e., face to face methods combined with online learning. Under this approach, students learn at the in-classroom setting, but they also complete their learning at virtual learning environment (VLE) such as video recorded sessions, live instructions, podcasts, webinars, gamified tutorials, and by using AR-based tutorials, to name a few. Some refer blended learning as hybrid learning, as it offers learners flexible environment to study and unlimited pedagogical materials. It also complements interactive activities such as group study or project-based learning, feedback and assessment activities with a dynamic application of learning.
- Beyond the classroom; A world of EduBlocks, BitDegree and Blockchain
Chalk, ruler, textbooks to PowerPoint Presentations, smartphones, video learning to now artificial intelligence, virtual reality and blockchains, making learners more and more efficient and productive, technology in the classroom is moving beyond big data and into qualitative analysis. While before, knowledge sharing was limited to classrooms only, leveraging the power of cloud computing, schools and colleges now creating a centralised repository of content and study materials.
Blockchain (the technology used by Bitcoin, the virtual coin), is pervasive and the technology is being used by many cryptocurrencies. In cryptocurrencies trading, blockchain works as a permanent ledger, in which all the trading/transactions are linked to a block and made public after verification, that can never be altered by anyone. Similarly, all learning activities, experiences and education records of an individual can be added to an incorruptible educational ledger of a decentralised platform, something like a digital portfolio.
Several institutions in the West are already providing proving grounds for such innovations. In fact, many engineering colleges in the West have started promoting more students to get enrolled to the courses with hyper relevant skills, and are incentivising them through blockchain technology upon successful course completion.
- And the ‘learning’ must go on
Like they say, “Learning is a never-ending process”. With numerous educational institutions pioneering in the EdTech space, it’s wise to look ahead at what future systems might look like. The idea of continuous and adaptive learning is equally crucial for re-skilling individuals already in the workforce.
According to research by Deloitte, the average half-life of a learned skill today is just five years, which means what you had learned a decade ago is obsolete now and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant today. In situations like this, technology can elevate our learning methods to the next level and engage us in lifelong learning.
With its learning algorithms and adaptability to variations over time, ML helps learning in real-time, multi-tasking and generating data-driven knowledge. In fact, adaptive learning is one field in which machine learning plays a huge role in increasing personalisation, interactivity and automating several manual tasks.
- Massification and collaboration
Before diving into innovative learning and flipped classrooms (a classroom used for practice exercises and discussion where students finish their learning in advance), let’s look at the some of the real challenges in education that India is facing. Inadequate facilities, equal and quality education in a country with regional disparities, maximum utilisation of the existing infrastructure and resources, and increasing cost of higher education day by day are some of the major challenges.
Massification of machine learning in education can help quality and equity education accessible to all regardless of geographical distances and social disparities. On the other hand, collaborations and partnerships can create better opportunities to connect students worldwide to an ecosystem of learning and experiences. These days several schools, colleges, educators, employers and even governments are collaborating to offer students the depth and breadth of skills, using new modes of learning.
tl;dr – Educators are integrating cutting-edge technology to their teaching to give learning an upgrade.
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Pragyan Parimita Barik
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