2020 has been a wild and unexpected ride thus far due mostly to the novel coronavirus outbreak. However, despite numerous industries grinding to a world-changing halt, educational technology is experiencing a boom. While we are used to technology disrupting the way we approach life, few could have expected the major disruption that a global health concern could cause. During this time of lockdowns, quarantines, working and learning from home, and new digital experiences, more people than ever have adjusted their educational lives to conform to Skype, Zoom, and online education platforms.
In this article, we are going to speak about some of the digital transformation trends in education for 2020, touching on how a global shift due to COVID-19 has affected them.
AI has already had an immense impact on education at all levels, from primary right up to PhD level, and this year was expected to see ever further leaps in the field.
Here are some popular applications of AI:
- Virtual student advisory services – thanks to chatbot technology, students in some facilities or on some online platforms can communicate with an AI virtual advisor to answer many of their questions, help them with assignments, or walk them through paperwork like student finance. This helps free up human advisors to tackle more different issues.
- Personalized learning – we will cover this in a later section, but essentially personalized learning with AI has made it easier for educators to customize content for the immediate needs of each student based on their performance. This could also come in the form of Intelligent Tutoring Systems which provide personalized electronic tutoring to students based on their desired learning style or speed.
- Curriculum and content evaluation – AI tools can assess how well a topic is covered by looking at the curriculum and it’s content, assigning different weights and values and suggesting changes if needed.
Business simulations & gamification
Most educators have switched on to the fact that when a virtual world experience and learning collide everyone benefits. This creates wonderful energy, a huge engagement, and an all-round improved atmosphere in the classroom or wherever the instruction is held. As far as digital transformation trends in education for 2020 go, gamification could be the one that gets the biggest boost. With hundreds of millions of students at all levels tasked to learn directly from their computers, finding educational opportunities through games is going to be key for a large percentage of those who already see their gadgets as gaming portals.
Games that offer an opportunity for students to simulate real-world issues and apply themselves towards solving problems, such as business simulation tools like ours, provide a unique and thoroughly engaging opportunity. In these games, critical thinking, obstacle identification, perspective consideration, responsiveness, and teamwork can all be pivotal to the mission at hand, but what’s even greater is that the feedback opportunities are immediate and continuous, encouraging the student to keep experiencing, testing, and learning.
Traditional models of education mean taking a topic and teaching the same thing to a group of individuals, hoping that it will resonate with them, that most will accept the information, and that they will try to engage with the topic. However, that doesn’t always work. In 2020, we expected to see more student-centric learning, which means tapping into the interests, passions, and personal learning goals of students and then building content, skills development, and knowledge building around them. This way, it’s less ‘hit and hope’. As a result of this style, we could envision more engaged and dedicated learners.
The coronavirus may actually be a positive thing for this trend. With so many students at different levels of education cut off from their facilities, they now have time to ask themselves many questions about what they want to learn and achieve. They have the time to pursue more knowledge for themselves, as their learning style will be even more digital. Lecturers and educators can also take the opportunity to use the unconventional video teaching style to say to their students, ‘Ok, we have an hour a week, what do you want to know about?’.
As we mentioned before, personalized learning has allowed the relationship between the needs of each individual student and their respective teachers to flourish. In many classrooms, some students fly ahead while others get left behind, but personalized learning aims to prevent that and put students on a more even keel. Students are also taught to rely less on the direct instruction of their teachers, and to embrace discovery-based learning, giving them more autonomy over their studies.
Personalized learning tools continuously adapt to the information they’re given in real-time, making successive decisions that will benefit the students based on their performance. These tools suggest a mixture of learning styles and methods to suit the developmental needs of the student, often offering a mix of questions, videos, images, memory challenges, flashcards, repetition, team activities, games, and more. As students engage, systems learn what has been a success, and students get to choose more of how they learn, if not what they learn.
Experiential and immersive learning
Ultimately, what all of the previous sections have in common is that we will most likely see students move away from a traditional method of learning by memorization.
In 2020 and beyond, we will see education adjust to empower and enable students to get the skills they need to tackle real daily challenges in their industries by creating immersive learning environments that give them legitimate experience. Only by attempting to do this can we envision a way to support the industries that currently have growing talent gaps. Industry challenges will evolve and shift in the time between a student starting a course and finishing it, so it’s vital that educators bare this in mind and use all of the tools available to make sure their student evolve with those changes too.