Current Education Trends

Change is the only constant. And the education sector is now exception. A recent article titled “5 Trends in Education to watch out for in 2020” provided a point of view regarding imminent changes in the education sector. Let us review their predictions.

1. “Technological trends in teaching and learning”. The author postulates that ‘the growth of technological capabilities means that a variety of media and learning-support tools now exist to help students receive a high-quality education through the Internet.’

Sure, technology capabilities are great enablers, but that does not directly translate to high-quality education in a remote learning environment. Resources have indeed become more accessible, and classes have turned into virtual classrooms. The transition has been made easier with technology, but reliance on technology alone may negatively impact the future of education. Teachers must adapt to change and modify their teaching style. Students must embrace a more distant less collegial environment. Soft skills acquired by interpersonal engagement will fall by the wayside, and imagination and creativity will be subdued in the virtual world. Technology alone cannot overcome these obstacles.

2. “Soft skills training: a major trend in higher education”. The author states, ‘In an effort to prepare students for their future careers, schools must have the training in place to help students nurture and grow in these skill areas.’ Training soft skills in a remote environment is quite challenging, when skills such as “executive presence” and “being in the zone” are hard to define even when individuals are interacting face to face. The institutions that can teach soft skills will better prepare their students for career success.

3. “Student trend: decreasing attention spans”. The author suggests, ‘To keep the attention of Millennials, the content presented to them must have excellent visuals and dialogue along with an interesting storyline that will hold their attention. This younger group cares more about the narrative and the visual nature of the content that interests them than other age groups.’ It’s interesting that the author places the onus on holding a student’s attention on the teacher. In a 300-student lecture hall, was the onus placed on the teacher to hold a student’s attention. Reportedly, studies show that the younger generation can pay attention to longer period than generations but only if they find the content interesting and engaging. So, engaging teachers with potentially interactive activities may enhance learning. Such will be challenging in a remote environment. And truth be told, a motivated learner, will discipline themselves to pay attention.

4. “Facilitating learning versus teaching”. The author states, ‘The best teachers will be those who can help students take ownership of their learning.’ Technology have grown so much that information is readily available. Students do not require a top to down lecture of regurgitate information but rather instruction that focuses on student development and problem-solving skills. Simply knowledge delivery in not a best practice in the current age.

5. “Life-long learning trend”. The author concludes with, ‘This [technology] offers chances for schools to grow as they create new programs and adult learning opportunities to help their alumni thrive within the changing professional space.’ Change is enabling greater interaction and learning with alumni. And given the pace of change, students and alumni are becoming aware of the need for regular retooling and continued networking. Institutions can provide short-term in-depth courses for their former students to help them stay current and forward thinking in their profession.

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