5 min read.Updated: 15 Feb 2019, 11:03 AM ISTByju Raveendran
Students will be able to decide ‘what’ they learn, ‘how’ they learn and ‘when’ they learn, charting their own path to achieve excellence
The use of tech will bring down the cost of delivering and accessing quality education, and create an equitable education system
Tech-led innovations have disrupted every industry that we can think of today and the education sector is no exception. This sector too has witnessed remarkable changes with students and teachers rapidly embracing the opportunities offered by technology. With increased internet penetration, smartphone adoption, and screens becoming the primary mode of content consumption amongst children, it’s only natural to imagine a future where learning will be characterized by tech-enabled hyper-personalized learning experiences.
I get a lot of letters and emails from students across the country, especially from smaller towns and cities, sharing their learning experiences with me. The common point is: how technology has made it possible for them to access quality and personalized education. Ubiquity of technology in education levels the playing field for every type of learner.
Integrating technology in education can truly help address the core issues, such as lack of access to quality content, lack of personalization and rote memorization, in the Indian education system.
While adoption of technology has been far and wide, especially among the younger generation, we cannot force fit technology into education. It needs to be effectively used to create solutions that will contribute to creating better, immersive and active learning experiences for students.
What does the future of education entail? The future of learning and education is going to be about how children are positively impacted and the means through which it happens. With technology as the backbone, we can create the ‘real global classroom’, where students irrespective of their geographical location, school infrastructure and proficiency levels will be able to access quality education through integrated learning platforms. It is only through tech-enabled education that we can address issues like access to quality content and teachers at scale.
The proliferation of smart devices coupled with the democratization of the internet will lead to blended-learning that will bring the best from traditional and virtual classroom. In future, learning environments will come in many shapes and sizes with its core focus on hyper-personalized education that adapts to an individual student’s learning needs. The use of technology will also bring down the cost of delivering and accessing quality education, no matter where the students are located. This will also allow for the creation of a more equitable education system.
While recent advancements in education technology have made their mark and are helping educators create engaging learning experiences, a big push towards a widespread adoption of a tech-enabled learning approach is required. The current education system often leads to inconsistent outcomes since learning is mainly driven by the fear of exams or scoring high marks. Barring the outliers—the top performers and the laggards—all other children are treated as a cohort and tend to fall through the cracks because of standardized testing and grading. Hence, we need to transform our education system through technology to accommodate conceptual and personalized learning.
The classrooms of tomorrow will have technology at the core, empowering students to cross over from passive to active learning. Active learning is the key to preparing youth for the unseen jobs of tomorrow. Studies show that 65% of students currently in school will have job profiles that do not even exist today.
With technology as an enabler, we can create a learning ecosystem that fosters self-initiated and lifelong learning, which in turn will contribute towards creating a powerful and productive young workforce.
Gamification of education will be an integral part of the classrooms of tomorrow, as it will drive students more effectively towards various goals, behaviours and positive learning outcomes. Gamification ensures that the learning experience is fun, engaging and effective at the same time. A combination of gamification techniques in learning ensures that students stay motivated. It directs a student’s learning interactions, offers a sense of progress and achievement, and further drives engagement. In the coming years, we will also see classrooms use game design principles that are based on fundamental human psychology and behaviour that drives certain reactions and success outcomes. With gamification, the learning process can be crafted as adventurous journeys, sprinkled with learning, challenges, fun facts and personal insights. Technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality have shown adoption signs when it comes to creating fun and engaging learning experiences. But it is too early to comment on how far it can be scaled and if these technologies will become popular and mainstream. There are several companies working on technological innovations in this space, and that is a good sign of things to come.
Today, machine learning in education is used extensively to identify and understand student learning patterns and other strong data points. Implementing data-driven decisions that are free from human bias and judgement will lead to an efficient education system. The students and teachers alike would get personalized feedback for their performance and areas of improvement. Charting a learning path that is strategically viable for the students to embark on and matching mentors who will help them achieve their goals becomes a planned process.
CLASSROOM AS PLAYGROUND
Overall, the future of education will essentially see technology create an integrated learning platform that will be a one-stop solution for all students, educators and parents. The future will see us take a leap from the traditional one-to-many approach to one-on-one learning experiences, providing students the best of what both physical and digital worlds can offer. The classrooms of tomorrow will be a witness to the revolution that technology has brought to the education ecosystem. The schools will be playgrounds of knowledge dissemination where students would learn and come to share, exchange and ideate.
The learners of the future will impact more than just their own lives. They will become change agents who transform the world around them. Students will become creators and consumers of learning content, thereby allowing them to define not just their own experiences but also that of their peers. They will be in a position to decide ‘what’ they learn, ‘how’ they learn and ‘when’ they learn, charting their own path to achieve excellence and evaluate progress. The nature of the learning experience will also transform into one that is collaborative, game-based and interactive. The future of education will promote lifelong learning through an optimal use of technology.
The writer is founder of Byju’s, a Bengaluru-based educational technology and online tutoring firm.