The education sector has been among the worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. In general, the pandemic has exposed the slow adoption of technology by the education sector, despite the sustained emergence of edTech over recent years. Now, faced with an emergency, most institutions are using online resources adequately.
According to forecasts, the global education software market cap will be $7.9 billion in 2020, reaching $8.3 billion by 2023. Thus, we can assert that edTech solutions will transform the future of education. (Source: Statista)
The Major Shortcomings of the Education Sector
The COVID-19 outbreak has dealt a near-fatal blow to an education sector that was already failing along several flanks.
Although most K-12 schools run on government funding — accrued through sales and income taxes — the overall spending on public education hasn’t been optimally proportional to changing demands. To add, some of the other general issues involve rising concerns regarding students’ safety, low salaries for teachers, minimal or no parental engagement, overcrowded classrooms, etc.
Unequal access to education is still one of the most significant issues with the education sector. According to NCES, in 2017, 2.1 million Americans aged 16-24 years either didn’t enroll in schools or didn’t earn a high school credential.
High costs, especially for higher education, and the consequent unaffordability for many is one of the most pertinent reasons for the high dropout number. It not only hampers the learners’ performance but also compels them to discontinue formal education and move either into vocational courses or into low-skilled employment opportunities. (Source: Stanford)
Standardized Courses and Low Learners’ Engagement
Backed by the sanctions of the Common Core State Standards, 2009, the traditional education sector follows a one-size-fits-all approach to education. This is a problem, given the fact that most of the other aspects of a learner’s life are becoming choice-based and personalized. This approach is also ineffective in taking in to account the differential learning curve of individual students.
Further, while most students grow up in a highly digitized, tech-driven environment, the education sector is still debating the integration of technology into education. However, pandemics like COVID-19 have highlighted the significance of tech-enabled education, and the majority of education institutes will invest more in tools that enable them to deliver the courses remotely.
Liberating the Learners — Top Trends in Remote Learning
There has been a steady innovation in edTech and remote learning — a major factor that’s protecting the education sector from going into complete disarray post the COVID-19 outbreak.
Virtual & Smart Classrooms
Also known as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), such holistic innovations in remote learning are breaking physical barriers to access education, thus extending its scope beyond the walls of institutional buildings.
VLEs aren’t merely about giving classes over online platforms. They enable full-fledged evaluations, assignments, tests, progress records, instant feedback, and more. While students and teachers can personalize their accounts on such platforms, parents/guardians can receive regular updates regarding their child’s progress over email, text messages, or other channels.
Even on school premises, tech-driven smart classrooms can enhance learners’ experience through active, advanced audio-visual learning. Further, the use of AI and analytics can help teachers monitor their students better, giving them an accurate idea about the strength and weaknesses of every student in the class.
Customized Curriculum for Specialized Needs
Every learner is unique, with specific interests and demands. Contrary to traditional models where all students are made to follow the same curriculum — often getting most of them disinterested — tech-driven educational models foster specialization.
Rather than enabling mediocrity through average-based evaluations, most online learning solutions prioritize mastery of skills. Continuously evaluating learners on the courses/subjects that they choose for themselves, these models shy away from producing “jack of all trades.”
Learning Through Action
Education is more than rote learning facts and information. Modern approaches to learning prioritize action, making students learn in more practical, hands-on ways. For instance, 3D printing technology allows students to bring objects that they are studying in class out of the 2-dimensional space of textbooks or computer screens and into the physical world for better inspection and analysis. Further, several IoT and cloud-based solutions allow students to run simulations that they can access off-premises, extending the learning experience beyond the classroom.
This promotes a more comprehensive learning environment, where students become adept at factual information as well as problem-solving, collaboration, team-work, thus learning more about life than otherwise.
Digitized Learning — Innovations in Education Technology
Numerous disruptive innovations in education technology are driving a new era in remote learning. These solutions enhance the overall learners’ experience while empowering educators through robust and scalable systems with simple, decluttered infrastructure. They reduce costs for learners and educators alike, make the process seamless, widen access, and boost accuracy in evaluation.
Learning Management Systems
Using the cloud, Learning Management Systems (LMS) are used to create, store, and distribute learning material. Eliminating physical boundaries, LMS allows students and teachers to remain in touch at all times, ensuring instant feedback. Further, integrating automated educational chatbots, such systems can also allow seamless query resolution.
While unaffordability keeps many out of schools, learning apps are mostly free or have much lower overall costs. This allows institutions and organizations to reach out to a more extensive learner base, as well as make education more engaging and interactive using gamification and much more. Further, they allow personalization of the learning curve and also provide analytics for an accurate assessment.
Through active and continuous tracking of the learner’s progress, while seamlessly transferring data to the educator, wearables boost productivity in the education sector. Moreover, the data amassed can be employed for research in educational pedagogy, learning behaviors, neurosciences, and more.
Enabling a hybrid system that uses both online and on-premise methods to learning, interactive displays ensure that learners perform with optimal engagement in physical classrooms as well. They can be used to include trivia, quizzes, puzzles, and more into the day-to-day curriculum.
Traditional methods of learning are flawed, thus leading to widespread disengagements and dropouts among students in the US alone. Now, compelled by social distancing needs due to COVID-19, learners and educators are heavily relying upon remote learning. This trend is expected to stay even after the pandemic subsides.
Unthinkable offers e-Learning and Smart Classroom solutions that allow educators to tap into future trends, transforming the learning experience at 2x hyper-speed, enhancing flexibility, and maximizing outreach using reusable code blocks and advanced technology. These solutions offer hyper scalability and intuitiveness to meet the increasing demand quickly. Reach out today and strengthen your foothold in this new era of remote learning.
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