Mobile and other technologies will continue to intensify the competition challenging education’s conventional delivery platforms and methods.

Several years ago, many doubted the prospects of online education. The claims that a quality education could best be achieved through brick-and-mortar schools were plenty. Do you remember? This was at its peak a little over 10 years ago.

Interestingly, many of those institutions that tried to discredit those who were disrupting the serene and comfortable status quo, now offer courses and complete degree programs all online. Despite having to feel pressured to accept an unconventional paradigm, of course, the debate continued.

How else could educational institutions (and challenging entrants) decide whether to compete, invest (or not), or whether quality education could be achieved through online programs? Well, we began to see the trends and the need for change.

The market began to be disrupted. The inner workings of technology and economics began to accelerate change. The needs of adult workers began to ask for another prescription, a new way to achieve what was now necessary: life-long learning.

And the choices of a new generation widened while old paradigms began to be put to the test. Matter of fact, two significant studies into the academic achievements of students found no significant statistical difference between those who attended online programs and brick-and-mortar schools.[1]

Findings like these opened the door to evolutionary processes. For example, the evolution of the analytics and online learning experience aims at finding out what should be the next generation of online learning. We already see the early beginnings of change…again.

A recent study explored mobile-based learning as the next educational frontier. Using analytics, researchers explored students’ mobile device usage habits in Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany.

They found that study participants agreed that mobile learning would play a significant role in education in the future. The researchers also concluded that the use of smartphones or mobile devices had a positive effect on learning and cultivating the desire to learn in those countries.[2]

Taking it an evolutionary step further, how about AI-assisted learning? This is deep on its way already, and these are no longer new news either.

Case in point: The parents of a young teenager, who was having trouble in school, began to look for alternatives. A tutor was a good idea. But they could not afford the payments, so they opted for an “AutoTutor.”

Although skeptical at first, the parents gave it a try. This online AI resource was able to discover things the parents, nor teachers could find out about the “failing” student.[3]

The AI-tutor “troubleshot” the reasons why the teenager had poor retention, assessed his deficiencies in vocabulary, and tailored the teaching to his needs, ultimately helping the young teenager improve his SAT scores by 150 points.

I can’t help but to think these thoughts. They’re intriguing to me, especially as I listen to my son playing the piano or guitar. He, for example, learned to play three musical instruments (one of them, an instrument that looks like a stone—I didn’t even know something like that existed!) via online, without a teacher. How? YouTube.

How much more will our educational systems need to change? And how many of the current methods we use to instruct will disappear? What will stay?

Always motivated, lugo

The author is the senior leadership and strategic foresight consultant for LS|EG. He is also the author of several titles to include peer-reviewed academic works. His doctoral areas of research are Culture, Strategic Leadership and Foresight, and Organizational Development.

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References and notes:

[1]. He, W., Xu, G., & Kruck, S. E. (2014). Online IS education for the 21st century. Journal of Information Systems Education, 25(2), 101-105.

[2]. Bilos, A., Turkalj, D., & Kelic, I. (2017). Mobile learning usage and preferences of vocational secondary school students: The cases of Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Nase Gospodarstvo: NG, 63(1), 59-69.

[3]. Davenport, T. H. (2014). Big data @work: Dispelling the myths; discovering the opportunities. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review.