The Future – Education in 2030

21 Jun The Future – Education in 2030

I read a fascinating report from the people at HolonIQ the other day, entitled “Education in 2030: Five Scenarios for the Future of Learning and TalentEducation in 2030: Five Scenarios for the Future of Learning and Talent”. It aims to answer the question as to what education may look like in 2030 and I was clearly intrigued by what their answer may be….

First, we should probably acknowledge that there’s something genuinely interesting about what HolonIQ do: they are the first platform to harness the power of machine learning and AI to crunch pretty hefty data sources on all aspects of education, from start-ups through to policy; research institutions and job market outlook for graduates.

How do they do it? I have no idea. HolonIQ states that it draws on the “power of the global crowd, augmented by advanced technology, to find out what the world thinks about the future of education”. I know I was born in the wrong age (I studied Latin and Ancient Greek!!), so wouldn’t even be able to understand even if I tried. It’s sufficient, for me, to believe that they know what they’re talking about for the purposes of this post (with the obvious caveats applicable!!)

It posits that there are 5 trends that could emerge in the future as the dominant force in global education, even as they are also at pains to state that each may materialise in different cohorts, at different times and in different regions. A synergy then perhaps of each, drawing on elements of all to paint a rather different picture of what education may look like in the future. So what are they?

1. “Education-As-Usual”

First is the status quo, or what they refer to as “Education-As-Usual”, wherein Universities and traditional centres of learning continue to dominate. The government remains the primary source of funding and jobs boards spring up from the swelling graduate talent pool that springs forth from these learned institutions. Sound familiar? With 40% of school leavers now signing up to and getting into University, this seems plausible.

2. “Regional Uprising”

Second is a dramatically named “Regional Uprising”, in which regional educational powerhouses emerge to collaborate with one another, establishing networks of talent flow and research streams that connect us all in an edutopia. We’ve seen movement here too – China’s Belt & Road Initiative was recently expanded to include educational partnerships, some of which have been launched in Europe and British Universities, notably UCL’s Global Partnership Program, have worked hard in developing further ties around the world.

3. “Global Giants”

The third is “Global Giants”, a pro-market forecast on allowing those already dominant to further their brand positioning and RnD strengths by reaching far and wide to the global market-place, utilising online learning methodologies and communities to further their reach, revenue stream and RnD budgets accordingly. Consolidation would be king, the levels of which of this nature would see a number of mega educational brands emerge, many of which we are already familiar.

4. Peer 2 Peer learning

The fourth prophesies a future of Peer 2 Peer learning – a democratisation and personalisation of learning and education away from centralised institutional formats to one that is more practically aligned, based on one’s interests, intuitions and individuality. Notably this potential model, in their view, would be systemised through the blockchain with the output of “unlocking the collective creativity of teachers”. Interesting. Sounds fun and, in a way, what we already do in the early years where a child’s individual interests and capabilities take priority above all else.

5. “Robo Revolution”

The last is the “Robo Revolution”, one in which we see the Judgement Day arriving in the classroom and the T1000 becomes your teacher. Hyperbole aside, this future is one that sees an almost entirely mechanised educational delivery – AI built into all aspects of content curation; assessment and instruction. Human / personal interactions are minimised for required and specific intervention for better value-added involvement. Certainly “lightens” the workload for our teachers but I’m unsure how they would feel playing second fiddle to Arnold and the Educatatrons.  

The report, as expected, is rather light on what the above scenarios mean for early years education, the focus being, as is usually so depressingly the case, on what people perceive to be “proper” education i.e. K12 and beyond. Either way, if there is truth to the claim that there will be some synergy of all of the above, at different levels from region to region, I think that it is safe(ish) to assume that things will change even in our pre-school provision.

But returning to my previous post on how the drive is and should be towards better social skills and creativity, then I firmly believe that we will never truly divorce ourselves from the human dimension to teaching. On the contrary, I think it is and will be fundamental. Technology, if it has a part to play – as it surely does – must be in aiding our educators: to lighten their load; address the “homework question” and help them become guides, mentors and role models for our children; people who can invest time in developing their characters and their capabilities. That I can get behind. Because that is what we already do in the early years.

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