In the 21st century, we have seen changes happening at lightning speed. Technology is used in every aspect of our lives. Right from making payments to writing letters to connecting with people worldwide to doing upskilling courses to now even attending school online. As per research, the online education market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% during 2022-2026. The education space is only growing and has evolved from being limited to self-learning courses at the post-graduate or graduate level to now online schools with interactive classrooms where children can interact with each other and work together despite the distance. What this implies is there are going to be various trends that will come and go in the online education space some will stay and become the norm while some will come as a fad. Hence one needs to keep a tab on what’s happening in this space and keep up with the pace. Some of the important ones are:
1. Online schools with learning hubs:
There has been mass resistance from parents, teachers and institutions to venture into the online school space in the past, however with the pandemic we saw this was a possibility. Parents who would want to educate their children in a not-so-traditional manner will look for online schools. Educators recognise the need for physical interaction hence most of these schools will also have learning hubs where children can come in on some days to interact with their peers and teachers. It is my strong belief that online schools will be the next big trend and hence I have ventured into this space and we are shortly opening our first learning hub too.
With technology it has become easy to break large chunks of information into smaller chunks for a better learning experience, the curriculum team and teachers work on breaking down the main topic into subtopics and then developing activities and games around the same, they also make sure the subtopics are connected back to the main topic so that children build an association. Microlearning helps children understand the subject better without getting overwhelmed and children tend to remember and connect the dots better.
3. Personalised learning:
Each child is born different and they have different learning styles and interests. With learning going online it will be possible to understand a child’s learning style and their interests to personalise their academic year for them. This makes learning a fun and engaging experience for that individual and they look forward to learning and using their knowledge in the real world. It also helps children focus on their interest areas and enhance their abilities to become pros at what they love doing.
4. Adaptive learning:
Technology has advanced so much that it has become possible for children with disabilities to educate themselves too. There are immersive glasses that help deaf children read what a person is saying, there are special laptops with a brail keyboard for the blind. Mass production of this kind of invention will help children with disability to educate themselves and become earning members of their families.
5. Game-based learning:
Educative games have helped children learn better for a long time; the only difference is earlier children played games physically, now schools are moving towards online games. I knew this almost a decade ago and so I worked with my team on building a learning hub for children of all ages. This learning hub was accessible to all children from our schools. game-based learning helps children tremendously and that is because while playing a game they can always go back and play again in case they fail the level. This small activity helps them get better and understand much better. Game-based learning is currently a huge trend and will only grow in the near future.
6. Mobile apps:
Mobiles are everywhere and a whole lot of children are using tabs and mobiles for educative purposes. we can already see that there is an influx of educative mobile apps in the market. To be precise there are over 520,000 educational apps available for children and this number is going up on a daily basis. as parents and educators is it imperative that we look for apps that help children and is user friendly and in the crowded space of mobile apps finding just the right one for children is a daunting task. It is best to look at the top ten recommended apps by educators, influencers and well-known educationists, the next step would be to test them in terms of content, safety and usability, then check the purpose of the app and decide which ones are suitable for your children.
7. Online assessments:
Another big change will come about in the way we assess children. the need for assessments came about to understand whether the child has understood the concept that was being taught or not and if the child can use the same in the real world. However, the current assessment turned into a competition with other children rather than the initial essence of it all. Hence the new assessments will be done online and many schools will start allowing children to go back and take a particular test in case they do not match up to the criteria. While there are many more trends that are around currently and there will be many more trends and new patterns that will come up in the online education space. We need not get overwhelmed; all we have to do is stay focused and keep only one thing in mind and ask ourselves “Is this going to help children learn better and is it something that is expected to become the new normal?’ and if the answer is yes then one must adapt the same. At the end of the day, it is all about making a learner-friendly education model that helps children build a strong base for themselves to thrive in the future.
Lina Ashar is an educationist