In early 1913, the first Autobahn was created in Germany- a disruptive innovation for its time. But it was only in the 1940s that the role of Autobahns in the transportation of World War II equipment took on a pivotal, almost indispensable role.
Global events may not always create technological advancement, but they certainly accelerate it. With hybrid work becoming a norm across large organizations and small ones alike, how much technology will be used to balance face-to-face learning events in the future?
With companies such as The New York Times, Salesforce, and others announcing a major investment in education this year, the possibilities are exciting. Imagine students receiving educational opportunities via hologram or participating in digital educational experiences that incorporate simulations and artificial intelligence.
When it comes to EdTech trends, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: blended learning is king.
Technology has been increasingly integrated into workplace learning across industries, and it is taking center stage in the field of education. Colleges and universities now use traditional corporate training applications to deliver videos, manage user compliance, and capture performance data. Students are using LMS systems to create social networks, collaborate on projects, and complete group assignments. In this article, we look into a few trends that could potentially shape the future of EdTech.
Gaps In EdTech’s Role In Education Will Continue To Close
According to a PwC report from July 2021, there are 25 areas where EdTech can have a tremendous impact on education, including learning analytics platforms, online tutoring media, communications tools, and virtual school systems but these areas have not yet been addressed by current market solutions.
As was the case with technology in the late nineties, EdTech will eventually undergo a period of consolidation where several small players with complementing offerings will be bought out by one large player offering a suite of tools at the disposal of an L&D team or an educational institution.
As a result, we will be using fewer tools to do more, and this in turn can make EdTech more accessible to the institutions that need them in order to teach hundreds and thousands of young learners. Think tools that allow users to interact with content, provide completion reports at the back-end, allow users to submit and review peer assignments, and even allow them to sit for proctored exams, all from a single dashboard.
Such a technology framework can remove siloes, streamline learning, and make it easy for even non-technical stakeholders to access the full potential of the solution.
EdTech Tools Will Be Simpler Rather Than More Complex
The near-term future of EdTech solutions will be in their ease and simplicity, not in their power or sophistication. Solutions and tools that are easy to understand, simple to operate, and that actually work dominate the market now and will continue to do far into the future. Those solutions that require little to no development, training or new hardware or systems will find eager audiences.
The reality is that many of those who work within our education system are quite busy. They have students and parents to educate, test scores to raise, funds to raise, grants to write, reports to file and administrative tasks to run. Adapting to a new tool may not top their list of priorities.
Instead, solutions that work as soon as they are implemented will be picked up and used widely. In a very rudimentary example, we have seen this happen with Google Classroom at the beginning of the pandemic. We have reason to believe that this will be true even in corporate L&D environments.
Teachers And Educators Will Begin To Adapt To Technology
Several teachers have begun to realize that the “one size fits all” approach does not work for students anymore and they are beginning to look at alternatives such as personalized learning programs that suit their student’s needs.
The new breed of teachers will be more tech-savvy and will have a better understanding of how technology can be used as a tool for efficiency rather than a barrier.
The change won’t be overnight and not everyone will adapt to it at the same pace. But as this happens, many teachers would start adopting technology to make their lives easier and also make learning more engaging for students. Technologies which help teachers in automating repetitive tasks, enabling remote collaboration and help in planning lessons are going to be most popular among educators.
The Largest Group Of Learners Will Be Adults
With the rapid advancement of technology and complex process automation comes the challenge of skills shortage. Some learning experts are of the opinion that it takes workplace skills just six years to lose their relevance, which creates a massive skill gap in most industries today.
A 2021 report from McKinsey is quite alarming in this regard- 87% of surveyed executives felt that their company was experiencing a skill shortage, or would experience a skill shortage in the near future.
Interestingly, however, only 6% of respondents are looking to contracting as a way to address these gaps, and nearly 60% of them would prefer to initiate a companywide reskilling policy instead.
As a result, several learners may look outside of the conventional education system to hone and pick up new skills, irrespective of whether their companies offer reskilling initiatives or not.
EdTech startups are basking in this sunshine. Everyone from a famous NYU professor to a group of Y Combinator graduates has their own EdTech venture today, created to fill out this glaring gap between what companies want and what people can offer today.
Traditional education systems would do well to follow suit and offer smaller cohorts of their more famous courses through a hybrid delivery model enabled, of course, by technology.
Geo-Political And Global Economic Instability Will Accelerate Remote Learning
The schools of the future must prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist with technologies that haven’t been invented using tools we can’t predict, to solve problems we can’t conceive. Moreover, they must do this in the context of political uncertainty, war, and transmigration. As more children begin to be displaced, the need for low-bandwidth media streaming and virtual classrooms will only continue to grow.
Technology has been the great equalizer of the past four decades, evolving faster than any of us could have predicted. It is now education’s turn to experience technology-enabled disruption, and that’s a good thing. If we learn from the past and ensure equal access, equal opportunity, and seamless learning for everyone involved, technology may just become the force for good that can amplify the effect of these good choices and make education accessible for all, whether that is at the workplace, or outside of it.