The world changed significantly in 2020, and children, school-leavers, employees, and employers have to approach education and training in different ways to seek optimal results. The educational trends of 2021 will see adults and teenagers choosing alternative pathways to knowledge and skills, while training and education institutions will need to make adjustments to their course offerings. Other changes will include how people choose their education, how they access it, and who they will choose to help them on the way.
The World is Changing
2020 saw significant changes in the way things work. Remote working, virtual and online access to almost everything, shrinking office space requirements, tech solutions, they all had a massive boost in 2020. Implementing contact-free systems to allow countries to maintain functionality has required many new hires to build and remodel technology to fit their current needs.
This accelerated rate of change brings the increased need for qualified people to develop, build, and maintain the new way of doing things. Significant alteration to the way things work means equally substantial changes in the skills and qualifications required in the workforce, and their education and training.
2020, saw schools, colleges and universities close their doors for safety reasons. However, 2020 also saw many people lose their jobs, businesses and industries collapse, and altered career goals for many.
Upskilling & Retraining
2021 will be a massive year for educators, trainers, coaches, and course providers. Young adults are more likely to change their educational focus to a more practical and “in-demand” professional path. Entry-level staff will look to cement job security and career progression with increased knowledge and upskilling. Meanwhile, many will explore retraining in a career with long-term prospects – and less chance of the industry disappearing in a disastrous global event.
It should be the focus of all educators to ride this wave of educational trends and be the ones to provide the means, method and opportunity to their learners.
What Changes Will 2021’s Educational Trends Bring?
There are three primary areas in which educational trends will develop in 2021:
- Who is “teaching”,
- How they will teach (or “How students want to learn”)
- What students want to learn
Just as important are the technological trends that will drive diverse teaching methods.
Educational Trends in Learning Providers
There will be far more options available to learners in 2021, from FE universities to bite-sized nano-learning. The most important thing for learners is that they get professional recognition for the time and effort to improve their knowledge.
Higher and further education institutions
HE and FE businesses such as colleges and universities will need to expand their online training provision. Along with mandatory schooling, regulating bodies and governments encourage these institutions to maintain a significant online education curriculum.
Moreover, degree and diploma programs are no longer the province of the school-leaver. More and more people are taking up higher education at a later point in life when they already have some experience and an idea of where they want to go professionally.
MOOCs on the rise
MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses will partner with established educational institutions to provide accredited and recognised micro and nano-credentials more tailored to specific skills people need to learn. The traditional university/college diploma or degree course is becoming less relevant to employability, so people seek alternative learning hubs to supplement their qualifications. Also, full degree courses are expensive. Cutting the required education into small, and more affordable, chunks makes it far more accessible to everyone.
Online learning hubs like Udemy and Coursera (and the dozens more available) continue to see a significant increase in people signing up for online video courses. Some of them are interactive and tested to ensure complete understanding and the learner has taken in the information. Some of these courses are video only, others are hybrids of notes, tests and videos, while others are live-streamed, such as lectures or course additions. These online training providers are (reasonably) cheap and allow people to have a taste of the
Another brand of training that is likely to hit this year is people taking their knowledge and expertise and creating courses themselves—potentially using these courses as an additional income channel, with the right marketing behind them.
EdTech Innovation Trends
Tech developments will feed the different educational trends that will open up this year. With more people wanting more diverse access to education and learning techniques, there will be massive investment in this new tech.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Gaming industries have the highest investment in AR and VR technology. The education sector has the second-highest investment in AR and VR. Immersive technologies for learning are the newest way for learners to have a full learning experience. Moreover, it allows for experiential learning in a safe environment, and it can even happen remotely.
5G is the development that will become mainstream this year and will facilitate the AR & VR trend for immersive learning. Moreover, 5G is the driving force behind dozens of emerging technologies, making it another 2021 educational trend.
Blockchain for Verification & Record-Keeping
Remote learning, testing and online course completion are on the rise. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to record and verify qualifications, credentials, attendance and testing. Now that blockchain technology is maturing, it seems ideal to maintain immutable records and verify them across the internet.
Another benefit of Blockchain for education is that it allows for the digital issue of credentials and the ability to share verified certificates with third parties.
AI-Generated Learning Journeys
Machine learning is still developing, but it’s doing it at a fantastic rate. While we can’t expect it to make emotional decisions for us, AI is perfectly capable of taking input from potential students and extrapolating the best course of learning. Nothing is demanding that a student follow the AI-generated learning path precisely, but it could point an uncertain learner in the right direction.
Big data learning analytics can help outline the path to the best possible outcome. Additionally, it could show the optimal career development and the most appropriate path to achievement for specific students.
Educational Environments & Teaching Trends
Learning is coming out! Out of the classroom, lecture hall, and lab. It’s spreading into the home, the coffee shop, and even on the morning run. Educational trends are also seeing different processes for self-improvement.
Social Media in Learning
Learning communities that have come out of the classroom have spread far and wide. Now that lessons have come out of the school, the social media communities that exist to support those widespread learners are becoming learning experiences all on their own. It’s great to have public social media pages so that people can find your training institution. However, it’s just as essential to make your students feel safe and valued by having a private group for enrolled learners. Finding ideas from disparate class members leads to the next trend.
Collaborating in groups of people, whether on social media or a discussion board for a course (DailyOm has discussion boards on all of their online courses), means that anyone following the course can chat and talk about what they’ve learned. When you combine people from different experience and educational backgrounds, some learners have said they’ve learned more about practical applications of what they are learning from other class members than they did from the course itself.
Autonomy over how and what we learn and the speed we learn it is specific to each of us. One of the major complaints about mandatory schooling is that it assumes a “one-size-fits-all” approach. And that’s all fine when you have to teach 30 children the same thing AND have them all understand it. Teachers can’t tailor their teaching to every individual, so it has to be a case of averages. Letting students learn at their own pace will always have better outcomes. Moreover, letting students learn when they’re most receptive or with tools that suit them best allows them to learn more easily.
Self-scheduling is all good with online and video-assisted learning. However, live-streaming AND recording a 9:00 am lecture means the student has a better chance of a) learning from it and b) fit their education around a job. The same thing applies to AR & VR technologies. Suppose clashing schedules put an appointment or different lecture during a lab session. What’s wrong with doing a virtual lab session?
Online Classroom Streaming
It’s not just for kids stuck at home, with a harried teacher who’s attempting to educate 30 8-year-olds 60 minutes. Online classrooms are just as valid and relevant for classes learning together. While social media and discussion boards are great collaborative tools, sometimes there is no alternative to immediate conversation and debate.
People often like to discuss the class topic to gain a deeper understanding. The online classroom will become more widespread than ever.
STEM becomes STEAM
STEM education is gaining ground quicker than ever as technology takes over and manages more elements of our lives. Statistics show STEM subjects are more highly valued at degree level. Moreover, it seems people actually have more respect for people with science-related qualifications.
And yet the tide is changing. Not only do potential employers want STEM credentials; they want a touch of artistry and humanity in their hires.
If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.–Albert Einstein
If one of the most famous scientists in our history thinks we need more fairy tales to make us intelligent, there must be something to it. At the rate technology is developing; if you want someone to develop or create something new, they need a touch of imagination in their make-up. So STEM becomes STEAM, and rounded education and understanding are desirable.
To Summarise 2021 Education Trends
Students will be more diverse than ever. From old to young and everywhere in between, people will look for a way to cement their knowledge, gain a qualification or retrain in a more stable industry.
The learning trends of 2021 have been shaped by the circumstances of 2020. Online is essential, but so are multi-channel access and flexibility. New modes of learning will have to be part of your 2021 strategy.
There is no single fix for your education, coaching or training business, but hopefully, now you know what’s coming you can implement the ones that will appeal to your students and trainees.