California, US (BBN)-Classrooms across the world are becoming more connected, reshaping how we teach and shaking up the fundamental business model of the education industry.
The disruptive potential is evident in the flow of capital investment. Venture funding to education tech companies jumped 55 per cent last year to $1.87 billion, with several firms closing in on $1 billion valuations, according to venture capital research firm CB Insights, reports Forbes.
HERE ARE FIVE TECH TRENDS THAT COULD RESHAPE THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY BY 2025:
1. LEARN FROM ANYWHERE
Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, in which faculty leads a course with a large number of students via online video lectures, have probably been the biggest story of higher education over the last few years.
Glenda Morgan, research director at Gartner and co-author of a recent report on MOOCs, expects them to reshape many aspects of the education industry.
“They might not have lived up to the initial hype when they were expected to put many education institutes out of business. But they are creating a big change,” she said.
MOOCs have renewed interest in online learning and have driven colleges to adopt new technology to keep pace.
Several elite universities and selective colleges such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford are adding MOOCs to their traditional offerings.
As a result, chief information officers in higher education often need to expand learning management systems to support MOOC-like functions.
“A less expensive and lower risk option could be to leverage a cloud solution,” she suggested.
As traditional institutions offer more courses online, startups are attracting investment and students.
Coursera has more than 14 million registered users and has received $85 million in funding. Udemy raised $65 million this year.
2. REIMAGINED CLASSROOMS
As MOOCs expand virtual education, other trends are focused on modernizing traditional classrooms.
“Flipped” classrooms—where students watch lectures at home so they can do homework-like exercises during class time—are catching on at Harvard, the University of Michigan and the University of California.
The idea is to encourage students to learn at their own pace at home so they can spend more quality time with teachers. Early results have shown that flipped classrooms can enhance outcomes.
Augmented and virtual reality technology will change the classroom even further.
The SCARLET project, for example, gives students digital access to original materials like medieval manuscripts. And the Center for Online Learning at Penn State University is investigating virtual reality systems that give distance learners a tactile experience.
3. PEER-TO-PEER LEARNING
For centuries, education has worked on the principal of experts driving learning.
But today, social media and collaboration tools are encouraging schools—both virtual and physical—to tap into a learning community’s collective brain.
And some are experimenting with ways to study with very little or no expert help.
Harvard Business School, for instance, allowed students in its online HBX Core program to answer each other’s questions.
They found that students were able to precisely and accurately answer 90 per cent of the questions asked by their peer group when no expert was available.
“Students learn much better from each other than somebody else,” said Morgan. “Peer learning can also help cut costs and scale things in an online environment.”
Several collaborative tools like Piazza, an online study room where students can anonymously ask questions, also encourage peer-to-peer learning, helping to alter the student-teacher relationship.
4. DIGITAL CREDIT
Online education companies can’t succeed without giving “graduates” credentials to show potential employers.
And for this tech problem, there are tech solutions.
Virtual badges, like those offered by Mozilla Open Badges and Credly, link to websites that show course content and how it was earned.
Traditional schools like Michigan State and the University of Illinois are experimenting with these. Online schools like Coursera and EdX, meanwhile, offer verified certificates.
“Over time, we could move to more granular credentials. Instead of a four-year or two-year degrees, people might go for smaller bursts of two or six months of focused training, especially when they want to learn specific skills,” predicted Morgan.
New ways to manage credentials across issuers and platforms may emerge, too.
“Trusted brokers will hold all university degrees, certifications and will provide credentials to employers,” said Morgan, pointing out the possibility of a big change from the current system of university transcripts.
5. ADAPTIVE LEARNING
The traditional education system was built under the premise that students learn at the same pace.
Adaptive learning tools, made possible by data science and artificial intelligence, may reset that expectation, by altering material and how it’s presented based on student performance.
Under this approach, students are given resources based on how they perform on assessments.
This process continues as students become more proficient.
Pearson has teamed up with Knewton to create Pearson MyLab to offer digital courses that adapt to each student’s needs as a course progresses.
The algorithms, it claims, can categorize each student’s strengths, weaknesses, learning preferences and learning style to tailor course content.
“Adaptive learning is likely to grow big, especially at lower level courses. There will be a much greater use of analytics to check what’s working and what’s not,” predicted Morgan.
The rise of new formats and technologies could alter the fundamentals of education business by 2025.
“The experimentation around MOOCs and the search for new business models have given rise to a wide array of new products and technologies that will have an impact on learning in higher education for many years,” Morgan said.