Every new year brings new ideas and trends. 2016 was quite a challenging year in the education industry, but somehow very rewarding. One of the most incredible things about 2016 was that technology in education never stopped evolving.
Educators all around the world were either discovering new ways to incorporate technology in their instruction, or got better at it, regardless of the level of the institution. Whether it was through a certain teaching technique, online courses, or a blended learning environment, teachers utilised technology to deliver the best education they could.
At this point in 2017, it’s only natural to start wondering what trends have been carried over from 2016, and which new trends 2017 will continue to bring along. Regardless, one thing is for sure: education technology will not cease to evolve. But, how exactly will it evolve in 2017? And what does it mean for our students and children?
Read along as we attempt to answer these questions, assessing what has been happening so far in the education industry, what we can see around us, and taking some educated guesses on what we expect in classrooms in the near future.
Education Industry Overview
The highest amount of revenue in the education sector primarily comes from private tuition and program fees. In our personal opinion, however, this is hardly a display of the highest amount of quality. Many providers – particularly in the world of tutoring – are cutting corners, doing their job half-heartedly, or as they had always done it. At A Team Tuition, our focus is not and will never be on money and revenue. Our focus is always on students, and how to improve the education sector for this benefit; it’s for this reason that we stand out as a company.
As the major groups in the education industry continue to grow, they have come to realise various benefits. These have allowed them to increase efficiency while reducing costs. However, one major challenge has presented itself: finding the right people for the job. Finding people who are qualified, passionate, and capable is quite harder than it seems. This is an incredibly important aspect for us as a business. Prospective employees are put through a rigorous, in-depth recruitment process, wherein their passion, ability, and personality are assessed. This is followed by substantial and excellent training to completely prepare and qualify them for the job.
While online programs, training resources, and even mobile apps have generally been seen as a threat or challenge to the industry, recent years have seen successful education providers leveraging the technology to a great benefit. These tools are not only being used to help students learn in new and exciting ways, but also to help the educators manage their students, streamline their administrative functions, and to source their education materials more efficiently.
The global competitive landscape and the greater recognition of the great value of trade schools has led to a significant growth in the industry in the last couple of years. Many players in the industry have now realised that the inherent cost of college education might saddle their finances, and now opt to skip college altogether, learn a trade, and begin making money faster while avoiding much debt.
Nevertheless, the landscape of education has additionally changed to provide for those who do not seek to go down the tertiary path. There has been a significant growth in the trade schooling sector, as mainly individuals have realised the additional path open to them and chosen to walk down it. Herein, they skip university and potential costs, time, or effort connected to it; rather, they learn a trade, do an apprenticeship, and begin to make a living within their preferred time and method.
Education as a whole, therefore, is expanding exponentially, and it’s up to us as both a business and people to keep up. That brings the question – what are the new education trends of 2017?
The Top 10 Trends in Education in 2017
1. Digital Content Continues to Boost Adaptive Learning
Adaptive learning is, essentially, the personalisation of learning for every student. It allows students to take in information in a far more focused manner, at their own pace, and tailored to their personal understanding, learning languages, and so forth. Digital learning increases the possibility for this by allowing teachers to redirect some learning to the online world; this allows personal time spent between the teacher and student to be more purposeful, and fueled by their time spent online learning.
The digital world, despite the negative stigma surrounding it, is allowing teachers to teach at a more complex, higher functioning level, while focusing on synthesis, analysis, and creative thinking. Students are utilising technology in their everyday lives; utilising it in the classroom allows students to connect, and connect their personal world with that of the educational world. This places them in a position of confidence and comfort, as well as stretch both their capacity for and quality of content through the wide range of information provided online.
Within A Team Tuition, we continually seek to incorporate better, faster, and more efficient elements into tutoring. Our goal is to provide many of our main programs on an online platform within the new future; additionally, many of our tutors are utilising online programs such as Mathletics, Google Documents, or various reading libraries to assist students of all ages in their work.
2. Growing Sophistication of Video Based Learning
Over the years, the benefits of video-based learning have become clearer. The use of video in learning has easily transformed the teaching experience not only for the students, but also for educators, from flipped classrooms, to traditional or blended education platforms. We now see videos everywhere in our day to day life, particularly in our social media feeds. Therefore, crossing this element over to the education industry, once again, helps build connection and comfort within individuals – especially students. This is becoming ever-pesent in the classroom environment, as we see purposefully built applications for learning increase. Most of these utilise technologies such as peer collaboration, video assignments, and discussions via video.
In 2017, the use of video will be more sophisticated for the sole purposes of learning. Students have increasingly become demanding, especially for interaction with instructors and fellow classmates due to a previous lack of customisation within the education system. Video is not only a great way for students to customise their learning, but also an effective way to deliver content. At A Team, we are launching brand new campaigns to increase the video content present for all educational stakeholders, from students to parents to teachers and beyond.
3. Utilising Learning Analytics
In 2017, we are surrounded by different forms of data, from GPS location tracking and wearable technology, to the access of a wealth of information via devices like tablets and smartphones on a whim. Many institutions have become aware of the growing importance of data collection and analysis. Nonetheless, the big question in 2017 will be:
How smart is the data you collect?
Institutions are now utilising feedback and elements received from data to make decisions for students. In 2017, educators will continue to shift their focus from what they used to know, to collecting new learning data and improve based on what is provided. The focus, we hope, will no longer be about simply measuring completion numbers and test results, but will also involve the metrics that determine what each student has learnt, and how they practically apply their knowledge.
4. Blended Learning
The importance of the role played by the teachers cannot be overstated. One of the key elements in the learning process, regardless of age, is the dynamic relationship that is shared between the student, their peers, and the learner and the instructor. The teacher is responsible for fostering these relationships. But, considering the amount of time and effort instructors put into lesson planning, marking and evaluation students’ performance, and finding academic books, the time available to assess their learning style’s effectiveness is miniscule at best.
A Team Tuition for years has been focusing on this, providing consistent improvement methods for its staff and applying it throughout tutoring. We don’t just restrict tutoring to simply speaking and writing notes; we use out-of-the-box techniques, tailored to the student themselves. While the education sector is still attempting to catch up to this standard in a way that does not exhaust their employees, there are some improvements being made.
This comes in the form of blended classrooms, wherein conventional teaching methods
and modern education technology are nowworking side by side, instead of being mutually exclusive. This allows content delivery to be enhanced and even customised in a way that it increases the quality of face-to-face interaction, and the internet. It helps to meet certain needs of students, and to make sure that classroom time is spent on what matters most: learning. It allows some teachers to continually work on the relationships and connection within the classroom, between both students and their peers, and students with the teacher themselves.
As it evolves, the education system seems to look at extended the physical classroom into the virtual world, by allowing learners to interact with peers and teachers via online forums, social media, and blogs.
5. Gamification of Education
It has become evident that the non-traditional learner is the majority in 2017. Students are finding it increasingly more difficult to connect to an outdated method of learning, and the education system is facing more pressure to personalise learning for individuals.
As such, there are high expectations when it comes to classroom engagement, and consequently, institutions are looking to have more interactive and engaging representations of the content they have.
Gamification is one of the key solutions we have seen in 2017. Gamification is the use of video games for educational purposes. While 2016 saw some interesting use of gamification in the education sector – for instance with Minecraft Education Edition – such forays were quite minimal and more experiments.
We have begun seeing gamification work its way into more classrooms nationwide in 2017, and we believe it will become an integral part of education in all the levels. The importance of gamification is its ability to turn the otherwise routine learning experience into a fun, interactive, and creative activity that increases students’ performance and drives them to work harder. It also introduces the element of competition into education, and can give learners a sense of accomplishment when they succeed at a certain exercise.
6. Private In-Home Tutors
Tutoring is a big industry, and can be practiced based on an on-site location, or at home. The home based model typically employs a broker who acts as an intermediary between the tutors and the students who want to learn any number of subjects. On the other hand, the on-site location based model typically involves having a dedicated centre where kids can go and take classes and learn a variety of subjects. Aside from the basic subjects like Maths and English, these institutions will offer standardised test preparation.
Some of these models are specifically geared towards the younger children, and they provide additional child care and education services. Millions of children under 5 years of age spend over 35 hours per week in childcare facilities, and there has been a growing recognition that this form of early childhood care is very important as it provides lifelong benefits. In 2017, this industry will continue to grow, and will provide more after-school programs as the lack of customisation of learning in schools continues to place pressure on the education system.
A Team Tuition, at its core, is a tutoring company; however, our heart is focused on transforming the education sector, for the purpose of transforming students themselves. Unlike other tutoring companies, we do not place ourselves into a box; we prize innovation and creativity, and while certain boundaries are put in place, we are continually looking to expand the possibilities when it comes to tutoring.
7. Peer to Peer Assessments
Humans are naturally social animals. Sometimes, learners learn better when they can share or explain what they have learnt to someone else. As such, when students share a piece of information or knowledge to a group, everyone benefits from it. After enough knowledge has been shared within a group, it’s means that all of the members should ideally have a similar understanding about the topics. If this is true, the members can assess each other’s knowledge and help each other out to achieve the same level of competence.
Peer to peer assessment essentially adds a learning avenue and a layer of responsibility to the students. The fact that they have to assess their own understanding first, and then compare it to that of others is quite effective in learning, and the trend will continue to thrive in 2017 and beyond.
8. Personalised Learning
The ideal learning experience is one that has been perfectly customised to meet the specific needs of each student. When an instructor fits personalised learning on both the style of teaching and the level of knowledge, the learners generally become better at retaining what they have learned, become more engaged, and are more receptive to learning. It’s what makes A Team a successful company – our employees are taught from their very first training session to be innovative and personalise their tutoring style to each specific student. While we have developed a specific program – the Creating ‘A’ Students manual (CAS) – to follow, our Academic Personal Trainers (APTs) are encouraged to tailor the CAS manual to their student, and not the other way round. APTs are further encouraged to know as much about their student as possible – their hobbies, interests, and learning language for example – so as to best personalise their tutoring style and approach.
In 2017, more institutions will continue to leverage technology to provide personalised learning experiences for their students. This will involve the enhancement of student to teacher interaction avenues, which will be expanded online. Moreover, we have seen more schools developing rules and goals engines that allow the instructors to create more personalised learning materials and outcomes for students. It’s for this same reason that APTs have been encouraging students to develop goals and ideals for themselves, within the very first session of tutoring.
9. Focus on Job Placement and Careers
Over the recent years, there have been a growing chorus over the value of education to the job market, especially with higher education institutions. In 2017, universities are now renewing their efforts to demonstrate value to their students, in both employment and earning benefits. A growing number of these institutions are investing in community projects and research institutions, to spur new business development and commercialise the student discoveries.
Moreover, higher education institutions are now revamping their career services, and are collaborating with their students to redefine and map out successful career paths for them. With programs like alumni career mentoring, and targeted initiative to offer career support to new students, universities will continue redefining their role in the career planning of their students in 2017 and beyond.
However, what about while one is studying at university? How do you support yourself, while still being focused on your academic goals? One of our main cultural goals at A Team Tuition is to be the quintessential “University Job”. The majority of our staff are current university students, and tutor subjects that are within their personal academic undertaking (for example, tutoring Biology while studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science). Our company aims to be one of the key bridging employers between high school, university, and the global employment outreach.
10. Alternate Credentialing
Learning institutions are now seeking alternative methods to assess learning, and are recognising, using the traditional form of teaching as the basis, but also recognising that learning must provide credentials. In the reality of the modern world where debt is looming and job hunts have become unrewarding, the students of today are increasingly searching for affordable ways to achieve the education they need for the jobs they want. In 2016, we saw a rise in the level of alternate credentialing programs, wherein students were provided with new ways to become qualified.
In 2017, more learners are trading in their pursuit of a traditional degree for a digital badge or certificate. As such, corporations and organisations have started designing more competitive training programs that focus more on personalised learning, and are creating an “a la carte” style of learning. Here, students are taught to focus on developing a specific skill set, rather than a list of educational traitors; this emphasises the actual skills needed for their intended job, and qualifies them far more.
As evident in these top trends for 2017, the education sector will continue to make its path towards digital transformation, adopting personalised learning, and focusing more on the actual skills needed in the learner’s career. This will allow for an enhanced learning experience, which will benefit both the students and instructors alike, and ultimately lead to better student outcomes.
Where does A Team stand with these trends?
At A Team Tuition, we are continually researching such trends, and looking to adapt them to our business as a whole. Many of the current trends showing up in education are elements that we as a business have been promoting and refining for years. It is for this reason that we can confidently see ourselves as miles ahead of the education sector, leading and paving the way to a stronger, more efficient, and higher quality state of learning.