This is how the purchase of the latest thing of a favorite band or the download of the 2020 Hits from an online store have given way to Spotify, or the Star Trek saga inhabits the Netflix and Prime Video catalogs or how In the not too distant future – we will see the large European and Asian automotive industries transform into digital operators managing the mobility of millions of people through an app and a fleet of driverless electric cars. The 7 new era educational trends.
As the world rotates at a speed that is beyond our ability to predict, education seems to be taking it easier – at least so far – sheltered from the winds of digitization. In fact, despite the countless experiences of pedagogical innovation carried out by teachers and educational experts, most of us continue to train our students in the same way as decades ago.
The crisis unleashed by the current issue has submerged the educational ecosystem – schools and universities, training centers, teachers, students, families, researchers, public administration, employers and other agents – in a situation of exceptionality and uncertainty that seems to have no end . With the arrival of the first wave of the pandemic (March 2020), overnight the network became a veritable bazaar of tools, learning resources, experiences and advice from hundreds of opinion-makers on educational technology and learning in line.
The second wave (October 2020) is being different. Now the new focus is how to adapt educational institutions to the regulations imposed by the health emergency and rethink training models so that they adapt to a social and technological scenario different from the current one. We start to wonder about tomorrow.
Obsolete practices versus new models
The evolution of the educational ecosystem from this crisis is not very predictable. Some of the learning trends envisioned for the 21st century are going to be obsolete. Others, on the other hand, will be strengthened and will become the foundations and construction materials of new educational models and practices.
Let’s see a selection with seven representative trends. They are the synthesis of an analysis of different reports and contributions from educational experts made before the pandemic. Now they are an invitation to ask ourselves which of them will be enhanced, which will lose their relevance and which will be part of the new educational ecosystem in the post-covid-19 era:
Informalization of learning. Increase in informal learning powered by the network and digital technology. It is related to the so-called lifelong learning referred to the interconnection of learning acquired in different areas (professional, social, academic, recreational, etc.). With ways of creating and distributing knowledge different from those of formal learning, it penetrates the formative activity of academic environments.
Permanent education. Training activity throughout the entire life cycle of a person. It takes place in both formal and informal settings and in different contexts (work, academic, domestic, etc.). The ability of people to design their educational trajectory throughout life and have superior skills to learn in digital contexts is considered a fundamental aspect.
Self-directed learning. The personalization of learning is one of the most recited mantras by teachers and training managers. However, true personalization must be aimed at empowering and training people to make their own decisions regarding their training process to take advantage of the countless learning opportunities offered by the network and the educational ecosystem. In a context of lifelong learning, with a growing trend towards informalization, the ability to direct and manage one’s own learning is crucial.
Social learning. Social learning is at the base of theories and movements of pedagogical renewal prior to the Internet and in numerous current emerging approaches and pedagogies such as the Flipped Classroom, the maker movement or Design Thinking. The proliferation in the professional and domestic fields of applications and tools for cloud computing, communication or project management contribute to the realization of educational experiences of a socio-constructivist nature based on collaboration.
Relocation. As with other activities, learning can no longer be referenced by space-time coordinates. The permanent connection and the cloud computing applications offered by mobile devices allow learning at any time and place, enjoying the maximum benefits in terms of access to information, communication and productivity.
Automation. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are beginning to outline educational scenarios with bots and virtual assistants playing different roles in academic and training processes. Likewise, the confluence of Learning Analytics with artificial intelligence algorithms makes it possible for teachers and educational institutions to personalize learning, dynamically designing tailor-made content and activities.
Liberalization of accreditation. The irruption of blockchain technology in the educational ecosystem opens up the possibility of having alternative systems of recognition and accreditation of competencies, skills and training experiences without the need for centralized files in specific institutions. Learning acquired in informal spaces or skills developed in corporate environments can be credited in a reliable, permanent and detailed way.
It only remains to wait and try to promote a change in education taking advantage of the moment we are living. Leaning more for one trend or another is not the important thing. What is really significant is to leave behind the approaches that have become obsolete.