Education is evolving at a fast pace and trends in education for 2021 have solid foundations in 2020 already. Everyone schools, learners, and governments must look out for these Education trends and devise ways to take advantage of them.
Education keeps the world informed and enlightened, from the young learner in the basic school to those pursuing programmes at the university level.
Vast knowledge is at the disposal of learners at all levels in the areas of culture, history, science, mathematics, artificial intelligence, social and communication skills among others.
If an individual misses the opportunity to be educated, he or she is indirectly denied the chance to unearth his or her talents or brainpower to solve complex problems that confront our world.
Through teaching methods and pedagogies, educators improve learners ‘ acquired knowledge or skills. The methods and teaching approaches are evolving just like the knowledge itself. New knowledge areas are being created and taught using modern teaching methods.
Technology is speedily changing the face of education and dictating the pace of trends. Education evolved so fast in the face of COVID-19 and will not stop soon. There are therefore education trends to watch out for in 2021.
COVID-19 was the unexpected announcer that triggered the need for IT-enabled transformation in education. So much has changed and the education trends in 2021 can be mirrored from the competence and capabilities educational institutions and students had to acquire to remain relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The way children/pupils/students learn and absorb material is changing. The faster access to knowledge on the go, the emergency of COVID-19 thus suggests the need to review likely trends in education for 2021.
Let us take a quick glance at the trends in education that will shape teaching and learning in the year 2021. These trends are expected to produce multiple benefits for teachers and students.
#1 Artificial Intelligence in education
Today, Artificial Intelligence (IA) is not a new kid on the block. It has been around and continues to evolve rapidly. IA encompasses computer systems that have been developed based on theory to undertake tasks that ordinarily required human intelligence. Common examples of IAs today are speech recognition systems, translation of one language to the order, visual perception, and decision-making with IA support and IT infrastructure.
AI has the capability to achieve multiple results and perform several functions in education. It is foreseen that Artificial Intelligence would set the pace and trend in the classroom in 2021.
In education, IA can assist educators and students to gather results of conferences, quickly conduct a test, and make available average scores per student or class. This would save teachers time and effort, which can be channeled into support for students who need help to scale up their performance in school.
Admission processes in schools across the globe have evolved, in 2021, it is expected that Artificial Intelligence will lead to more automated student admission, administrative activities, and processes in schools. This should help schools, educators and administrators spend more time on other pressing challenges, whiles IA does the difficult task with less human effort.
Second Life is the outcome of IT and IA and has become a superhighway for education as well. This IA platform provides the needed support to deliver world-class education. It is able to afford learners access to classes and exclusive immersive programmes to learn in a virtual environment which allows students to collaborate synchronously.
“Loyalist College believes strongly that were it not for Second Life, we would not be involved in virtual worlds whatsoever. The learning in these spaces is amazing, and when we are working with 30% increases in success, there is nothing more memorable than that.”
— Ken Hudson, Managing Director, VirtualWorld Design Center, Loyalist College.
Artificial intelligence is helping make classrooms globally accessible to all, including those who speak different languages or who might have visual or hearing impairments.
Already IA is able to tell what a student knows and does not, and provides personalized learning modules based on gaps identified.
With the invasion of COVID-19 and as we enter 2021, we anticipate that this technology will be key in tailoring learning to the needs of learners to increase efficiency.
#2 Professional Development of Teachers
Teachers and lecturers need to constantly upgrade their knowledge to stay relevant and provide cutting edge education for their students. This means mastering what they teach, be part of the changing trend, and evolve with it.
Lecturers/teachers must master the act of transferring their courses online as well as teach them online to students who are not physically present.
Educational institutions are working hard to update the IT skills of educators beyond the basics. Record lessons and make them always available to learners.
Today, it is possible for students to access education from world-class universities from any part of the world.
Without lecturers mastering the act of using technology to teach, many potential students will be handicapped and teachers will become less relevant.
The professional development of teachers and lecturers would be one key trend issue in 2021.
Teachers and professors must embrace modern teaching technologies and understand their uses and capabilities inside out. This requires training and practical skills acquisition, which we anticipate will be delivered through online lectures, conferences, workshops.
#3 Digital Storing of Data
Trends in education to watch out for in 2021 also includes increased digital storing of data. Education has evolved and so, educational materials occupy less physical space in our homes and schools today as they have become digital materials stored online and on cloud platforms. This has become beneficial, as it is easy to use for both lecturers and students.
Today, lecture notes and slides are shared via google drive, E-library platforms among others. Their storage means easy access on the go and 2021 should see an increase in its usage.
This has also reduced the cost of such learning materials and textbooks since some of these materials are available virtually for free.
Electronic pocketbooks are becoming popular and should lead the trend in students’ access to books, information, and knowledge. Digital books of several pages can be stored on mobile devices, just as tutorials and guides.
With the lessons learned from COVID-19, schools will embrace this mode of making learning materials available to students in 2021 than it was before covid-19 as many schools are building IT infrastructures and capabilities.
#4 Project-Based Learning
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is yet another trend in education to watch out for in 2021. Instead of students looking for all the knowledge stuck in books, project-based learning is expected to be adopted across fields of knowledge to help students acquire the needed practical skills and understanding.
This means students do not have to sit to listen to lectures all the time, but through collaboration, take on tasks and complete them. This trend would be successful if schools collaborate with the industry to design projects relevant to the acquisition of specific skills and abilities. Such learning methods enure to the benefit of the student as professional skills and knowledge is acquired in the process instead of the usual abstract.
#5 STEM Learning
Last but not least, another trend in education to watch out for in the year 2021 is the focus on STEM learning. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math have been given the front seat in education since man discovered them due to their interrelationship and the combined effect on knowledge, skills acquisition, development among others.
The world of work is looking for persons with strong backgrounds in arts, music, humanities, languages, drama, new media since these help such employees build critical and creative thinking and problem-solving skills. They enhance productivity and business growth. In 2021, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are expected to drive changes, inventions, technological advances, and new discoveries that solve problems and create new opportunities.
STEM Learning, Project-Based Learning, Digital Storing of Data, Professional Development of Teachers, and Artificial Intelligence in education are the top five (2) trends in Education to watch out for in 2021.
Individuals, schools, colleges, universities, governments, and businesses who do not tap into these will be left behind the competition. These trends will be relevant to the education sector in 2021.
Learners at all levels need them just as school and educators, students and educators will enjoy multiple advantages if one or more of these projected trends are implemented in schools and integrated into the learning environment properly.