Forecast of Education in 2020 and 2025

Introduction

In this paper, I strive to predict future changes in the dynamic education sector. By reviewing the impact of technology on education and analyzing the changing teaching and learning modules in the sector, I attempt to predict how faculty will teach, mentor, and interact with students in 2020 and 2025. My first prediction is that there would be an increased reliance on technology. I explain this point below.

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More Reliance on Technology

Technology has consistently been the basis for the evolution of teaching and learning modules in the education sector in the past two decades (Al-Azawei & Lundqvist, 2015). Although technology has progressed throughout the years, change has been the only constant variable (Lichtman, 2014; Selingo, 2013). To understand the past and future impacts of technology on the sector, it is important to highlight the principles of Moore’s law, which show that, since the 1960s, technology has led to the multiplicity of productivity in education (Levin, 2012; Clark & Barbour, 2015). This trend has led to an order of magnitude improvement in the sector for the past five years (PIXEL, 2014). I believe that in the next decade, the power of technology in influencing how faculties teach, mentor, and interact with students will be 10,000 fold. To get a better context of this argument, Levin (2012) and Garthwait (2014) say everybody who wears a digital watch today has the computing power of a “modern” computer of the 1960s. Similarly, people who own laptops today have the same power as the supercomputer of the 1980s (Politis & Politis, 2016). The possibility that people would have immense technological power on their gadgets in 2025 is not likely to stop. Consequently, the power of technology in influencing how faculties teach, mentor and interact with students will be 10,000 fold.

In the next decade, technology would also enable new possibilities in teacher-student communications, in the sense that students and teachers would have better learning experiences through advanced communication formats, such as holography, where students would have a three-dimensional interaction with their instructors, without the instructors actually being physically present. Based on these assumptions, I believe communication would create new possibilities in student-learner relationships.

Changes in Physical Learning Environment

Today, the increased use of computers to impart knowledge from teachers to learners has changed the physical learning environment in most educational contexts (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2012). Typically, this statement means that each student has a computer and an instructor (in the same room) has an even bigger computer, which allows him/her to share knowledge with the students. An existing learning network supports most of such interactions (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2012). I believe that in 2025, people would start asking themselves questions like if it is possible to interact with instructors this way, without going to the physical classroom in the first place. To answer this question some experts have suggested that students and instructors should stay at home and learn through existing communication networks (Levin, 2012; Clark & Barbour, 2015). I do not believe that this trend will catch on because it is “isolated” because students would lose social interactions if they stay at home. Instead, I believe that stakeholders would have to strike a balance where communities would introduce learning centers that allow students to meet in one location and learn from a teacher who may not necessarily be in the same space. These learning centers would be better and different from the current model of schooling where students and teachers are in the same room and use technological devices to communicate. Instead, the learning centers would be smaller and closer to the residences of the students. They would also give parents an active role in their children’s education because they could play a role in organizing the activities that would go on in the learning centers.

I believe the redefinition of the physical learning environment would eliminate some of the traditional lingoes in education, such as principals, faculty members, teachers, hall passes and the likes, for friendlier terms like mentors, guiders and the likes. Additionally, there would be a smaller power distance between students, teachers, mentors, and faculty members in these learning centers because they would have a lot of activity going on, which would allow informal interactions between students and their superiors to happen (Carvalho & Goodyear, 2014). For example, I believe there would be significant cross-peer and cross-age interactions in these centers, which would allow students to learn better and more efficiently. Here, tracking the learning progress of the students would still be maintained through online platforms, but other activities would occur away from this platform.

Comprehensively, I believe there would be a merger between face-to-face interactions and virtual interactions in the learning environment with the latter mainly being for academic purposes, while the former being for social and non-classroom interactions (more like apprenticeships). I also believe that apprenticeships through technological grounds would redefine how faculty would teach, mentor, and interact with students. A deeper understanding of this fact appears below.

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Adoption of Tele-Apprenticeship

Traditionally, before the start of the formal schooling system, education used to take place, but without the institutionalization of the learning system (Popkewitz, 2013). In other words, people never had to go to school to learn new things. However, this trend changed with the institutionalization of the learning system, as students were required to go to established schools to meet teachers who would impart knowledge to them in the same setting (Passey & Kendall, 2013). Recent developments in technology have seen a redefinition of the learning system whereby students do not necessarily have to be in the same place as their teachers for learning to occur.

I believe that in the next decade, apprenticeship would gain more traction in the education system as learners interact with their instructors in different work settings. Improvements in technological progress, which would emerge through tele-apprenticeship, could support this trend. It would mostly be applicable in education systems for students and instructors involved in advanced learning because, in certain professions, such as law and medicine, students undergo apprenticeship as an academic requirement (Anokye & Afrane, 2014). Through technological development and the possible adoption of tele-apprenticeship, I believe that the requirement for an apprenticeship would expand beyond the narrow focus on advanced learning. Therefore, technological advancement could eliminate one main challenge of apprenticeship, which is its high cost. Stated differently, apprentices require a lot of time input from the experts (Costley & Lange, 2016). Novices also give up a lot of their time to make it work. These challenges have made it impossible to support mass apprenticeship (Anokye & Afrane, 2014). However, tele-apprenticeship would eliminate this challenge by similarly eliminating the need for experts/mentors and students to be in the same work setting.

This advantage could allow learners to integrate with their mentors differently because they would have a broader understanding of their learning outcomes and refrain from merely thinking that apprenticeship could only happen through a contextual environment limited by the student and learners’ geographic locations (PIXEL, 2014). Through the power of tele-apprenticeships, learners would not only interact with their mentors differently, but also increase the opportunities to change their courses. Avery (2013) supports this view. I also believe there could be an emergence of network-based projects whereby diverse groups of teachers, learners, and mentors give different contributions regarding a common project. Such developments would increase the diversity of the apprenticeship program by crushing geographical and cultural barriers that often limit knowledge sharing and student/teacher participation in education (Banditvilai, 2016). Comprehensively, I believe that in the next decade, technological changes would make apprenticeship more important in the learning sector and improve the richness of student-learner interactions through the emergence of network-based projects.

Conclusion

In this paper, I argue that the basis for new changes in the education sector would hinge on technological growth and development. Indeed, key tenets of this paper show that there would be more reliance on technology in the education sector as a key interactive tool for learners and teachers alike. I believe that this development would change the physical learning environment as new learning centers would emerge to reduce the hassle that teachers and students go through to meet. I also believe that tele-apprenticeship would be a common phenomenon in 2020 and 2025. More learning disciplines would adopt it as part of their curriculum because technology would have made it simpler and easier to use. Comprehensively, the arguments presented in this paper show that there would be a simplification of the learning process, which would completely change the terms of engagement between teachers and students, as we know it today.

References

Al-Azawei, A., & Lundqvist, K. (2015). Learner differences in perceived satisfaction of an online learning: An extension to the technology acceptance model in an Arabic sample. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 13(5), 408 – 426.

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Anokye, A., & Afrane, S. (2014). Apprenticeship training system in Ghana: Processes, institutional dynamics and challenges. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(7), 130-141.

Avery, L. M. (2013). Rural science education: Valuing local knowledge. Theory into Practice, 52(1), 28–35.

Banditvilai, C. (2016). Enhancing students’ language skills through blended learning. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 14(3), 220-229.

Carvalho, L., & Goodyear, P. (2014). The architecture of productive learning networks. London, UK: Routledge.

Clark, T., & Barbour, M. K. (2015). Online, blended and distance education in schools: Building successful programs. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Costley, J., & Lange, C. (2016). The effects of instructor control of online learning environments on satisfaction and perceived learning. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 14(3), 169-180.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (2012). Preparing teachers for a changing world: what teachers should learn and be able to do. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Garthwait, A. (2014). Pilot program of online learning in three small high schools: considerations of learning styles. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 12(4), 313 – 410.

Levin, J. (2012). A 2020 Vision: Education in the next two decades. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(1), 105-114.

Lichtman, G. (2014). EdJourney: A roadmap to the future of education. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Passey, D., & Kendall, M. (2013). TelE-Learning: the challenge for the third millennium. New York, NY: Springer.

PIXEL. (2014). Conference proceedings. The future of education. Milan, IT: libreriauniversitaria.it Edizioni.

Politis, J., & Politis, D. (2016). The relationship between an online synchronous learning environment and knowledge acquisition skills and traits: the blackboard collaborate experience. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 14(3), 196-222.

Popkewitz, T. (2013). Cultural history and education: Critical essays on knowledge and schooling. London, UK: Routledge.

Selingo, J. (2013). College (Un)bound: the future of higher education and what it means for students. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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