Just as instant messaging replacing postcards, streaming platforms replacing cassettes and emails replacing faxes signalled a technology overhaul globally, the smart screen projector replacing chalkboards in the traditional classrooms is the harbinger of yet another revolution in technology innovation. We have ushered in the era of Generation Alpha – a generation born in the 21st century that has never known life without technology, and their current education system is a testament to this fact.
A research report by the Society for Human Resource Management stated that 85% of all jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. This is how sharply the world is progressing where learning is the name of the game and Education Technology (EdTech) is the cheat code for acing the game.
EdTech has undergone a massive transformation and comes close to offering limitless opportunities to students these days. The pandemic has necessitated the growth of the EdTech sector, so much so that its market size is expected to reach a staggering US$605.40 billion by 2027, as per a report by Research and Markets. Emerging technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have contributed substantially to this paradigm shift. These technologies have taken the traditional medium of education and revolutionized learner engagement and learning styles manifold, while expanding the pool of offerings in curriculum and its personalization, with best-in-class and quality mode of instruction.
A Shift From Traditional to Virtual
Take for example the possibilities of online classes, education, or instruction that the pandemic has opened for students across the globe. Could we have imagined attending school five years ago without having to wake up at ungodly hours in the morning only to physically drag ourselves to the classroom? Probably not! But the change is happening for the good.
While the physical proximity to classrooms has dwindled, the depth of education has only increased with the help of technology. And it’s not just about going virtual. What better way to aid the imagination of students in a classroom than by creating a visual and sensory mode of imparting information? Be it using digital elements to embellish our live surroundings (Augmented Reality) or creating a new experiential simulated environment (Virtual Reality), or even leveraging a combination of the two – Mixed Reality (MR), what matters is how institutions can make learning immersive and elevate student engagement. Whether it’s the visualization of complex chemical compounds and molecular structures, virtual visits to historic sites, or even a demonstration of geometric concepts, the applications are endless.
85% of all jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet
Deploying these new-age technologies also empower educators with valuable data on students and allow more personalized performance management. As a result of the structured data that virtual learning now produces, gamification of lessons has come to be another lucrative application of these technologies.
Essentially, gamification of lessons helps make difficult concepts more ‘fun’ by using game-design elements in non-game contexts. This theory emphasizes adding goals, targets, and achievements to the curriculum while retaining the component of entertainment. This practice can benefit by inspiring students to meet academic/non-academic objectives, overcoming barriers, creating playful competition, comparing personalized performance and progression across different levels. This can significantly improve learning outcomes by enabling superior cognitive development and memory recall for complex concepts and developing collaboration among the participants.
62.5% of the global population has access to the means to undertake eLearning
The development of the future workforce is an essential outcome of incorporating these technologies in the education system. Students get clarity in technical disciplines such as engineering, medical science, analytics, and automation through visual demonstration and simulation, which prepares them in skills essential for the future workplace, even before they become part of the workforce. Additionally, gamification also helps to inculcate soft skills, such as conflict resolution and open communication during competitive activities that aid in shaping the students more holistically for the new age skills we see coming into demand rapidly.
The Future of EdTech
However, the education sector cannot leverage these technologies in silos. A personalized approach is essential to provide differentiated instruction to each student to suit their specific needs. Especially now, when education is almost dependent on the online mode of delivery, AI and Big Data can play a big role in boosting the effectiveness of learning through personalization and customization. Careful analysis of individual scores, performances, and participation can help ascertain the strength areas and provide an accurate skill assessment, which in turn can help curate educational offerings and promote accelerated learning. It can also be leveraged to develop more comprehensive parameters of testing, in place of the traditional methods of grading students, while overhauling the wider education system.
A combination of all the above trends come into play for eLearning – perhaps one of the biggest revolutions in the education sector. An extremely scalable solution, eLearning empowers the best educators of the world to reach students anywhere, anytime (in case of pre-recorded lessons), and in any number – be they individual or masses. eLearning has made education accessible, economical, and most importantly, possible for many sections of society. According to the Digital 2022 Global Overview Report published by DataReportal, there were 4.95 billion active internet users worldwide in 2022 – 62.5% of the global population – that has access to the means to undertake eLearning. These numbers are only growing.
As EdTech continues to progress at a rapid pace, it can be safe to say that these technologies are still at a nascent stage. Digital learning is set to grow manifold, and experiential learning is just the start. As stated before, learning is the name of the game, and with the vast opportunities created by such technological advancements, we will not be wrong in assuming that the game has just started.