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The Future of Education - Trends to Watch in 2024

Education is evolving at a rapid pace, driven by technological advancements, changing societal needs, and new learning methodologies. As we move through 2024, several trends are set to shape the future of education, transforming how we teach and learn. Based on insights from market analysis and customer conversations, here are what we believe are the current top education trends in 2024.

1.      Online Learning & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Many students transitioned to online learning during the pandemic, and many are choosing to stay. With the growing demand for online education, new technologies are emerging to make learning more innovative, engaging, and exciting. Artificial intelligence is poised to transform education for both teachers and students.

The rise of online and blended learning offers an opportunity to make education more accessible and personalized. Providers are increasingly leveraging AI to tailor learning experiences, balancing eLearning with in-person instruction to accommodate individual learning styles.

Artificial intelligence has gained significant traction throughout 2023 with the widespread accessibility of generative AI platforms like ChatGPT.  In 2024, AI is becoming even more prominent in education, prompting changes in school policies and encouraging educators to explore new ways to integrate this rapidly advancing technology.

As students become more familiar with generative AI, teachers will need to explore various methods to incorporate this technology into the classroom. Encouraging the use of AI to support tutoring efforts, serve as a creative tool, and assist with research and planning will be essential in helping students learn to use the technology productively and ethically.

Many online programs and platforms, like Sentinel9, offer personalized learning, one-on-one attention, and instant feedback. This allows students to learn at their own pace, mastering skills as they progress toward their learning goals. This method enables the creation of individualized learning paths tailored to each student's unique style, pace, and progress. Moreover, this also benefits teachers by automating administrative tasks, freeing up their time for more meaningful interactions with students.

Generative AI assistants are becoming increasingly prevalent, aiding overwhelmed student advisors in managing their caseloads more efficiently and responding more effectively to student needs. These AI assistants enable advisors to personalize learning paths for each student, even in resource-strapped environments. They also identify students at risk of dropping out early by analyzing data such as badge-ins, class attendance, and grades. By using AI tools to identify high-risk students early, institutions can proactively engage with them, helping to keep more students on the path to graduation.

2.      Increasing Parent & Community Engagement

The trend of heightened parent and community involvement in education reflects a broader move towards integrating community participation in the learning process. For education providers, this entails recognizing the potential for enhanced family support and community acknowledgment to improve the learning environment. Additionally, there is a clear shift from traditional university education to vocational training, highlighting the increasing preference for practical skills in today's economy.

Community partnerships are also essential in education. Schools can work with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community members to enrich learning experiences, provide additional resources, and address local issues.

3.      Focus on Wellbeing

Wellbeing is increasingly becoming a central focus in education, reflecting broader trends in schools. Programs that support the emotional and social wellbeing of learners, alongside academic achievements, are gaining importance. Education providers should consider integrating wellness practices and mental health awareness into their courses and explore how vocational training experiences can be leveraged for holistic learning.

Recognizing the vital role educators play in shaping the future, educational institutions are increasingly prioritizing teacher wellbeing to combat the widespread issue of burnout. In 2024, schools are making concerted efforts to retain talented educators by fostering environments that support their mental health and professional growth. Prioritizing teacher wellbeing is essential, as it not only benefits educators individually but also enhances the overall quality of education that students receive.

4.      Tech-Enabled Immersive Learning

Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term encompassing augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the integration of these technologies with the real world.

The price of standalone VR headsets is already lower than ever and is expected to drop further to under $200 in 2024 (and even lower for mobile-based VR units). More affordable units mean that more schools can integrate them into their curriculum. Separately, the total value of AR in education reached an estimated $5.3 billion in 2023.

But how can these technologies be used for teaching? One way is by enhancing the visual learning process. With AR, students can view 3D depictions of dinosaurs, chemical elements, the human body, and more. Products like Adobe Aero are making it easy for anyone to create AR objects.

While VR may be a significant expense for many schools, it can actually save money on physical equipment. For example, Danish startup Labster provides interactive VR laboratories that allow STEM students to conduct experiments without the need for a million-dollar lab.

Google Expeditions allows classes to take virtual field trips to destinations such as Mount Everest and the Louvre.

For adults, Interplay Learning provides tradespeople with the opportunity to learn skills such as HVAC repair and solar panel installation.

VR is also benefiting special needs students. Students with disabilities can use VR to experience things they can't physically access. Additionally, autistic children can practice real-world scenarios they are likely to encounter.

5.      Gamification

Gamification garnered significant attention in education last year, with the integration of game elements making learning more engaging and enjoyable. In 2024, we can expect gamification to become even more widespread as educators incorporate game-based learning strategies into their curricula.

By leveraging the principles of game design, educators can create interactive and immersive learning experiences. Gamification motivates students through rewards, competition, and achievements, making learning fun and encouraging active participation.

Additionally, gamification promotes problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. Students learn to think strategically, work in teams, and overcome challenges, all while having fun.

Final Thoughts

The evolving trends in adult and vocational education require providers to adopt a responsive and adaptive approach. By embracing these changes, they can deliver more relevant, flexible, and supportive educational experiences, effectively preparing learners for future challenges and opportunities.

In 2024, we can anticipate a shift towards a learner-centric approach, where education is customized to meet individual needs and preferences. Technology will allow students to learn at their own pace, explore virtual worlds, and collaborate with peers globally.

However, as technology continues to shape the future of education, it’s crucial to consider its implications. We must ensure equitable access to technology, address privacy concerns, and provide proper training and support for educators to navigate the digital landscape effectively.

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