The future of education

With curricula in schools changing every year, people are wondering what the future of education will look like…

The future of education. 

It will be digital. It will be competency based. It will be using Open Educational Resources. Teachers will be assisting students in projects rather than holding their hand through study in class. Students will be interacting more online, they will be tested more in a digital environment, they will be able to move more quickly through content, and platforms will be smart enough to know whether they understand what they read.

But there are so many hurdles to get to that future…

The future of publishers. 

They will become software companies. The winner of market share will be the first one to successfully use big data. Step 1 is to track learning outcomes to states, schools, courses, instructors, students, and student progress. Step 2 is to provide the best UX for students and teachers. This will allow teachers to upload their content easily, allowing them to tag content to courses, schools, and outcomes. Students need to be able to then learn a particular outcome via both instructor and open resources, and be assessed on that outcome.

A publishers role then becomes that of vetted content provider. They will become a business that provides high quality narrative, multimedia, and assessments to particular learning outcomes, using instructional design to build content narratives in digestable and entertaining pieces for students.

It becomes better when you turn those outcomes into a game, videos, virtual reality,  or mobile.

Businesses are doing these things on the fringe right now. Facebook with VR, Amazon with listing and tagging learning outcomes, Apple with iTunes University. Then Kahn, Coursera, Udemy, Lynda with video tutorials. We are getting closer. We are nipping at the heels of an edtech behemoth.

The future of institutions. 

The institutions will continue as they have. They will weather the change. People will value education as much or more as before. They will just use different ways of connecting with students. Research will continue. Science will still need labs. Humanities will still need to discuss. Acting still requires speaking in front of people. Teachers will adapt to whatever content is available. What will change the most is where institutions get their content, and then, how they use it in the classroom, how much students learn and retain before class, and where they use their knowledge.

Institutions will have a larger online presence, and reach out to more people. But the need to think on your feet and interact with people will require classrooms for many years to come.

The future of students. 

Students will continue to pursue degrees and pedigrees. An MBA from Harvard will continue to be required for consulting at Bain. However looking at Google’s hiring practices shows that students will need to know the required skill-sets regardless of where or how they learned it. So what does that mean for the student in all of us? We need to know how to learn faster, and retain information longer. And it would be nice to have the tools and the systems to help us do that.

We don’t want to be told what to think, but we love to explore what fascinates us. Biologically, we get a release of serotonin every time we do something that’s pleasurable. This includes figuring out a difficult problem. We get a release of endorphins when we conquer something fearful.

So what does this mean for learning? The more we can build biological response into learning the better our engagement will be. We will remember longer and learn faster and deeper. The longer we can pursue fascination, the better we can develop focus, and in turn a desire for learning more.

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