Are you ready for a whole new world of education technology in the future?
Unlike the society of the past where changes were slow, today’s is a rapidly changing world. Gone are the days when people watched just one channel on black and white television sets,had only one radio channel to listen to, a single landline phone for their homes and one work place throughout their careers.The fast-changing society of today accompanied by advancements in technology will not just change the way we will work or run our day to day lives, but also the way we will learn in future.
We increasingly see how education is being transformed by technology to create new teaching models and inspire new ways of thinking, better adapted to our constantly changing society.The future of learning is predicted to be very exciting and is characterized by the following.
Cognitive and digital assistants that we use to get answers to our questions will become more intelligent. They would be able to retrieve the right answers from the wide variety of structured and unstructured data available. They are envisioned to give instant answers to questions and with greater accuracy. IBM Watson-powered Cognitoys (dinosaurs) listen to children, answer questions, tell bedtime stories and help them learn with interactive games and stories. Cognitive assistants are a part of the evolution on automation and intelligence. Dumb bots have become intelligent bots and are beginning to impact business operations.
Most people are familiar with more consumer-focused conversational assistants like Alexa and Siri that provide automated conversations. Enterprise-level cognitive assistants have learning and processing capabilities that go beyond conversational tools. More sophisticated cognitive assistants can self-learn, self-remediate, understand structured and unstructured data and use natural language processing. Advanced cognitive assistants may enable predictive decision making using real-time analytics.
The learning of the future will be blended between physical classroom learning and virtual. This will be enabled by the next-gen MOOCs and extended reality like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
We have already seen an increased usage of MOOCs and blended learning but in the future, learning will be adapted to a student’s preferences. MOOCs have undergone a journey starting from learner agnostic MOOCs that stored content for learning to adaptive MOOCs that help align learning modules based on the need of each individual learner. The future will see more conversational MOOCs that focus on user experience and improve the depth of learning.
Extended reality is no longer just for sci-fi movies. As technology becomes more affordable, several types of extended reality (xR) software are becoming accessible to learners and teachers.
Technology is again expected to play an important role in either enhancing physical spaces used for education through augmented reality or creating a totally immersive virtual reality, where learners will have the opportunity to apply what they learned ‘in the real world’. Some VR apps offer a realistic lab experience that anyone can access to perform experiments in a risk-free environment. The VR labs provide the ability to zoom in to view life science at an atomic level, to alter time and make experiments faster, or go back in time to mend a mistake. Other VR software bring the viewer directly into the area of the world they want to be in. This allows students to see exactly what the world looks like, not just through pictures.
Learning of the future will be adaptive, which means that a system can actually understand each learner, recognize where the learner is failing to grasp a concept and recommend possible learning options to aid their learning. This would help the learner reach his/her learning goal faster and with more depth of understanding. Data-driven cognitive systems will enable adaptive learning and improve outcomes.
In the physical world adaptive or personalised learning just means a one-to-one tutorship between teacher and student. In the digital world all of this is possible with data. Teachers would be aided with 360 degree view of a student’s performance and insights into where a student needs help. The system would also recommend courses or information for teachers to go through to be able to help bridge the gap for the student. These systems will also be able to predict a student’s performance in a certain subject.
Learning of the future is predicted to be associated with‘learn through practice’ and not ‘learn and remember’. This would help a learner to have a better understanding and recall of the topic he/she is learning about. There is a range of learning products that embed learning within real world contexts, including workshops, internships and project based learning through simulation technology or digital game based learning.
Simulation technologies are specifically designed to allow for ‘real-life’ training in a low risk environment. Flight simulation is a well-known example of immersive technology that relies on sophisticated hardware and software.Health Science departments will adopt more simulated human like mannequins to provide a realistic experience in patient care.
Game-based learning units are designed to help students learn about certain subjects and acquire skills during the process of playing a game. Digital game-based learning is considered to be a motivating and engaging approach to learning. These are programs that make use of computer models that replicate real world conditions and respond to decisions made by students. This method of learning defies the old school method of ‘rote memorization’ in turn helping more experiential learning for better retention. Softskills, such as leadership skills , teaming skills, design thinking are popular among the game-based learning themes today.
Every part of learning will be influenced by the use of technology including the way we meet people to learn from them. Digital tools, interactive assets, mobile phones and cognitive assistants will enhance collaboration and allow students to meet their teachers in virtual spaces, to learn at all times of the day.
A more recent trend explored in many pieces of science fiction is the concept of holographic communication, communication with a full-scale person as if you were face-to-face. The need to physically meet a person will be minimised through technology.
It is indeed exciting to see different learning models and methodologies emerging with the impact of technology. An adaptive, seamless, intelligent, blended and experiential form of learning led by experienced and talented educators backed by technology is predicated to be the basis of future learning which will have far reaching effects on the learning journey, outcome and success of each individual. This is likely to have students aspiring to learn more and innovate better, in turn, impacting many other dimensions of the future that is evolving.
— Mona Bharadwaj, Head – University Relations, IBM India.