What will learning look like in 2022 for students? The continued disruption to education caused by COVID means a shortage of school staff and disruption to students attendance due to isolation periods. Uninterrupted learning is becoming more challenging amongst all the chaos. What needs to happen in 2022 to ensure that students are provided with a balanced educational experience in preparation for life in the real world.
Education was initially designed to prepare students for the world of work. It might be an outdated system, but with the compulsory nature of education in the UK, alternative routes are limited or expensive. For most families, private education or homeschooling sounds a lot more appealing. But the inadequacies of today's education, systemised the widening gap between private and state schools. This gap is now being closed by non-profit organisations such as AA Educates through its PSSP program.
Following the trend from the last two years, the accelerated uptake by educational institutes to adopt and develop a meaningful online presence has led to the popularisation of buzz words such as blended and asynchronous learning. Meanwhile, big tech companies such as Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, to list a few, have shifted towards metaverse, blockchain technology and NFT's. There is a high demand for decentralised infrastructure more than ever before as we progress towards Web3.0, which has initiated a new digital skills gap. Students will need to take greater ownership over their learning by developing habits to learn more efficiently.
Why is it important to consider the digital environment first? The start of 2022 has been very challenging for both teachers and students as the new COVID variant Omicron, has sidelined many teaching staff across the country. The Northern part of the country is dropping some subjects as a precautionary measure to keep schools open. The situation is made worse as many students who fell behind in the last two years due to the digital divide haven't recovered and are now faced with reduced teaching for another school term.
The digital environment will play a key role in today's students learning. Gen Z are no strangers to the digital world. Grasping the vastness of the internet and how to access preferred information. The continuous development of how the internet is accessed will give rise to new forms of on-demand content, bitesise content creation, influencers and social media engagement. AR/VR experiences are becoming part of every companies future strategy.
One of the critical areas that need significant improvement in 2022 is personalisation. The current system in place is schools subscribing to an online educational platform that gives students access to content they should learn and are tested on the content learned.
Present educational learning system needs to progress beyond just giving students a grade based on the activity they performed but build a deeper understanding of the individual students. Similar to the recommendation algorithm prevalent across social media platforms.
In the case of educational platforms, the goal is not necessarily to keep recommending students content similar to what they excel at in the initial stage. Instead, applications focused on building a balanced student by ensuring that all the basic knowledge required to excel in the particular subject has been delivered/understood by the student. Research has shown that to have a good understanding of any topic. It's essential to have a basic framework of all the key ideas within that discipline, which is currently missing as part of today's education system.
Another flaw with the current system is its lack of instant real-world application that today's generation is accustomed to. Students can't grasp how the learning activities will affect something as simple as their grades. Making it difficult for students to stay engaged with the learning material for an extended period outside of the allocated time slot given by the teacher.
Emphasis on SoftSkills.
Soft skills were a problem pre COVID and will continue to be a problem within the education systems. As we shift away from face to face Teaching/Learning, one of the critical areas that will be affected is the development of soft skills due to the nature of online educational environments.
The current structure of educational activities and community being two separate entities creates a disconnect. A simple user case: If remote students wish to access content outside of school hours, they will be learning in isolation and won't have the same group interactions that happened simultaneously within a classroom setting that enriches and crystalise student learning. What about group interaction is very important?
One of the growing communities taking advantage of the digital world is the gaming industry. There are 3 billion gamers worldwide, which is likely to increase. What the gaming industry does well is provide players with a sense of community. Taking the four soft skills into consideration.
Autonomy: Every player will devote time to developing their skills to a level where they can compete with peers and other players online.
Collaboration: They will play alongside other skilled players to unlock more significant achievements.
Discipline: Becoming a good player will require hours of practice, which is only possible through constant play.
Emotional Intelligence: This acts as a binding force across all the soft skills as players will face countless challenges and obstacles along the way, but this doesn't derail them from a more significant goal.