Ask any teacher, student, administrator, or parent of school-aged kids, and they'll tell you that school looks a whole lot different than it did three months ago. The impact of COVID-19 on education systems around the world has been stark. Millions of students traded classrooms for Zoom chats, and educators at nearly every level are struggling to adapt to a completely new way of educating young people.
And it's not even June yet.
As this unprecedented school year winds down and (hopefully) the global pandemic does as well, educators will be left with a lot of new information to absorb about the effectiveness of online education curriculum, tools, and pedagogical theory before classes resume again in the fall.
No one knows exactly what awaits in September and in the years beyond, but there are predictions that can be made based on trends already in place leading up to school closures, and the implications of the developments over the last few months.
Brainly's Chief Business Officer, Eric Oldfield, is an expert in online education trends and a father of two school-age children himself. He's compiled five predictions for the future of learning in a post-COVID world.
"To say that these are unprecedented times is an understatement," Oldfield said. "Even as we all grapple with the only constant in this environment being change, there are some very clear trends that have the potential to fundamentally shift the way we educate people of all ages around the world."
- Online learning is here to stay: Already seen as a major trend even before the pandemic, online learning tools and tactics, while not perfectly operationalized yet, have shown to be effective at increasing lesson retention and to provide flexibility for students to learn at a pace more efficient for them on an individual basis. Look to see these practices integrated into traditional in-classroom learning in a bigger way than ever before.
- Self-directed learning: A byproduct of remote education, self-directed learning will provide students the ability to guide their own educational journeys, work at their own pace, go back and better absorb previous material, and accelerating past material they already understand well.
- Gamification of learning will increase: The challenges of maintaining a student’s attention grow significantly in a remote education setting. In order to keep students engaged, online lessons will become more interactive or gamified. This has already shown to increase engagement and motivate learning and will become more prevalent as traditional classes move online.
- Use of non-classroom resources: Embracing a hybrid on-and-offline education programs will mean introducing educational resources not available in the classroom. Online tools like Brainly and Coursera, which offer supplemental instruction options will work hand-in-hand with traditional classroom curriculum.
- Digital citizenship will become a priority subject: To fully embrace online learning, students must also learn to become good digital citizens. Much in the way we currently teach civics and social studies lessons to inform children how to be engaged citizens in the real world, so to will we have to teach them how to be engaged citizens in the digital world.