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.
Online tutoring has become a crucial form of education in India. It has expanded the traditional and confined boundaries of learning which never provided enough opportunities to the students. The traditional education system had limited syllabus and thereby, a finite scope for the students in their career. However, with the latest trend, the whole country is witnessing the emergence of digital classrooms, all thanks to the internet.
In the past, the role of a teacher was restricted to distributing knowledge but it is through online education that we know a teacher could do more. The assessment feedback that is provided via online teaching is a great example that defines the true role of a teacher.
Not only is he/she able to teach and cover the syllabus but can also review the child’s learning capacity, behavioral pattern and emotional stability. In short, online education has become a window to the character and well-being of the child.
Education Technology Trends
Education technology can help to eliminate current barriers of providing quality education to all across the world. Education technology will provide a chance to widen the imagination of the students and help them grasp better. The education sector and the entities such as students, teachers, management, parents, etc. will benefit a lot from the latest and upcoming trends in education technology. For this reason, we have compiled some of the key trends and technologies that can define trends for the coming year.
In the coming year, we would see a considerable growth in online education and its aligned services. Online education is useful to remove barriers caused due to classroom based learning. Students will be able to easily go through the same class repeatedly and revise key subject/ topics. Online education will give them the freedom to learn at their own pace and thus understand the topics well.
Internet penetration in rural India is increasing as we move forward. Mobile app based services like WhatsApp and YouTube are becoming popular in the rural areas. But the scarcity of quality teachers in rural parts of India still persists. Rural students are looking forward to consume digital education in the form of videos, documents. They are dependent on the online mode of education to create a better future.
Barriers of Digital Education
Currently online education is not regulated by government to the large extent. Most of the times, the students or professionals are looking to complete courses from some certified / Government approved education entity. It can help them to get job after completion of the course.
There are many institutes or educational entities that provide online education courses which are autonomous and private. They also conduct assessments and provide certifications from their own institutions. Such certifications certainly help individuals to gain knowledge but its acceptability or scaling to mass market is limited due to non regulated segment.
2. Digital and Comprehensive Online Assessments
Evaluation of students is one of the key areas of academic curriculum. Success of education largely depends on type of evaluation done. Traditionally, the evaluation of the students has largely been focused on theory examinations. The students are analyzed based on their theoretical knowledge. The students usually write theory or descriptive answers in the exams and it is being evaluated by one of the examiners. Their passing or failure depends on their understanding of theory.
Limitations of current assessments of evaluation system
o Evaluation is human dependent
o It is biased and not standardized for all students
o It is prone to error
o It does not take into consideration practical aspects of the knowledge
In the coming years there would be more focus on practical and hands-on aspect of studies. The evaluation of student would also be based on their practical knowledge which they have acquired of particular topic. Proportion of theory exams would be reduced while the amount of experimental, on the field or non-theoretical education would increase.
3. Inheriting Blockchain mechanism to Education Technology
Blockchain technology helps to copy and transfer data but does not allow modification. This technology is extremely useful as it can prevent hacking of the system. This has made Blockchain an emerging technology. It is going to dominate innovation across many businesses in the coming decade.
Many articles are being written about Block-chain technology. They are useful when there is a need of collaboration or distribution of database/ information. Block-chain is useful in many areas of education including examination management, student credentials verification, certificate verification etc.
Maintaining Student Academic Records
In the current scenario, mark sheet of the individual students are maintained by respective universities. No third party authority or any person is appointed to validate the marks or degree obtained by the student as per records of the university. If the universities decide to verify each student’s mark sheet or certificate then entire process will have to be carried out manually.
Block chain technology can help to eliminate such issues by offering features such as information collaboration and validation which can help to validate the student degree or marks obtained. We can see more new concepts and ideas related to collaboration oriented processes in block chain especially developed for education sector.
Storage of Certificates of Students
Block chain technology allows duplication of data. Thus it can help to store digital copies of the student certificates in the distributed and collaborated environment. Each university can act as node or Validator where any person in authority can validate student documents by requesting for verified information from the students.
Such collaborative approach can help solve many issues like loss of original degree certificates or mark sheets, illegal duplication or modification of documents, authentication of student education records etc. This will also help universities to cut down the costs involved in making infrastructure available for storage of students’ important educational documents.
4. Personalized Learning
Traditional classroom-based learning involves a standard theory based syllabus taught by teachers physically. The syllabus, classrooms and teachers are same for all the students’ in spite of the differences in their interests and grasping capacity. As the traditional classroom-based learning is not customized pertaining to the needs of every individual student, it is becoming an old and obsolete.
Let us consider examples of online or on demand streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. These platforms provide us with personalized and on demand television experience. They are removing location, device and timing constraints. Television shows, sports events are being streamed in the personalized manner with the help of these platforms.
Similarly, education delivery or learning process must be personalized. Traditional classroom-based lecture process may not be helpful for each individual. Every individual has some strengths, weaknesses and pace of understanding a particular topic. Different students would also have liking or interest in different subjects. These things are different for each individual. Due to these reasons, different students excel in different subjects. Some students also lag behind as theoretical learning is not their strongest suit.
But traditional classroom-based learning ignores these facts and assesses students based on the marks they receive in each and every subject. When students acquire fewer marks in a particular subject, they tend to compare themselves with the ones who have received good marks. This leads to unhealthy competition among them which might affect their self-confidence in the long run. These are a few drawbacks of the traditional classroom-based education which need to be addressed soon.
Personalized learning using technology is the only way which would help create syllabus or learning activities after considering every student’s strong and weak areas. Thus, this is one of the trends that would dominate in the coming year.
Advantages of Personalized Learning
• Ability to absorb topic and understanding increases due to personalized learning
• Personalized learning can help student to learn, understand topics as per individual speed
• It can be done from any location
• It is classroom independent.
5. AI-based Personalized Analysis of Individual
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is latest buzzword in the world today. Not only technology sector but all sectors including finance, manufacturing and healthcare are going to be revolutionized due to implementation of AI. Education sector is also likely to get more ideas and implementations using AI in the upcoming years.
Feedback from teachers (human) has some limitations in terms of ability to comprehend student performance while taking into considerations historical performance. AI can help providing detailed analysis of student performance in the examinations. AI can be developed to analyze a candidate’s responses while evaluating psychometric tests. AI can take algorithm-based decisions which would prove very helpful to analyze a candidate’s responses and in turn understand the candidate’s mindset and behaviour patterns. It can also help to make predictions about the candidate’s behaviour in future.
Thus, personalized learning and analysis of the learning is possible using AI driven assessments of the students.
6. Revolution in Exam Management with Education Technology
Exams are still conducted in traditional manner which includes exam centers, manual exam invigilation, manual answer sheet evaluation etc. The traditional examination system is not only tedious but it is also risky due to a lot of manual work and human intervention.
But, introduction of AI in the examination management system can bring in a lot of transformative changes in current exam management. AI based proctoring or auto remote proctoring can enable institutions to conduct exam without any need of infrastructure or logistic.
Remote Proctoring technology can enable students to appear for exam sitting at any location by using any internet-based device and a stable internet connection. System can track or monitor activity of remote user using technologically advanced video, image and audio streaming. Artificial intelligence can analyze the students to verify if they are appearing for the exam in fair manner.
Currently this service has been successfully adopted and implemented by higher education institutes and universities for conducting entrance exams. It has helped them to remove infrastructural requirements and save huge administrative costs involved in managing such exams.
AI based Remote Proctoring is undoubtedly going to be in demand in the coming days.
7. Virtual Reality (VR) in Education Technology
Virtual reality is a computer-generated technology which can create a virtual environment which is immersive and interactive. It can create a world which is similar to the real world yet very different. No wonder, virtual reality has gained tremendous popularity in the gaming industry.
Concept of VR is becoming cost effective. Many other sectors have started using VR for many critical things. Education is also a field which can avail the benefits of this technology. Consider below analysis of information retention. When it comes to classroom-based lectures, knowledge retention is the lowest. Knowledge retention improves drastically when it is given in the form of audios, videos, visuals, etc.
There is scientific reason behind it. When a human mind is able to see something in action its retention is better.
VR not only provides opportunity to see something but also experience it as if it was real. A pair of 3D glasses or a VR headset is the minimum basic requirement to experience something. The experience is so real that he/she can feel as if a real person is standing in front of that event or scene. As this technology requires very less equipments, it can help to reduce a great deal of expenses incurred in making infrastructure available.
VR implementations which targets quality education and trainings would see good growth in the coming years. As an educator, you should put your focus on this technology for sure.
Traditional class room based lectures have lowest knowledge retention rate whereas technology like VR can increase knowledge retention to significant level. VR technology can help students to understand particular topic easily. Complex concepts and things which are taught using Virtual Reality can prove beneficial for the students to grasp and retain for longer time.
Impact of COVID-19 and Education Technology
The recent COVID19 outbreak has badly impacted the education sector. Due to the strict measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus, there is forceful adoption of technology with live classes, learning, proctored exams taking off in a big way. This has actually helped the education system to commence its journey towards digitization.
Thus, the education sector is likely to change drastically in the coming year due to the large scale adoption of technology for schools, colleges, and universities. This would not just enhance the education standards but also increase knowledge gained by the students which would brighten up their own as well as the country’s future.