The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly are still part of the incoming tide but Time will level the playing field once the dust of 20th Century marketing ploys settles and people begin to demand quality over the distracting dissatisfaction of empty, entertainment-filled promises. The masses are tired of being increasingly informed and entertained and decreasingly enabled and empowered for critical thought and deep learning.
1. Ubiquitous – The Internet has brought us a host of online education choices including everything from unscrupulous diploma mills to a myriad of so-called learning games as well as apps for nearly every subject, platform, and device. This trend will continue. The challenge to identify quality amidst the quantity will grow.
2. Social – Face it, we are social creatures and the only things we learn well in isolation are survival techniques (and even then, we wish we had some others to help us). The Internet’s social layer is solidly in place so expect to see education delivered more broadly on the social grid.
3. Mobile – The mobile generation will expect mobile access to all matters beyond mere communication and game-playing. Devices are personal links to best practices and apps will be developed to meet the ever-increasing demand.
4. Pushed – Traditional supply-side education will continue to lose ground to demand-side education where location-aware apps push just-in-time learning. Instructional design should take advantage of push technology.
5. Personalized – Learning will be personalized more and more in the way of both eportfolio content creation as well as learner-specific and contextually relevant assessment. Department of Education initiatives include plans to aggregate student achievement from cradle to grave and this data will empower apps to deliver personalized learning experiences.
6. Media rich – Whether we agree with it or not, future literacy will demand our reading of symbols that go beyond mere letters on a page. The digital landscape requires a broader skill set than previous generations learned.
7. Computer free – Web 1.0 was platform and software specific. Web 2.0 has been rather device centric. However, technology has a way of becoming invisible with wide-scale adoption. Expect the same in the education arena. The Internet of things will include more than kitchen appliances. The tools of the education trade will integrate smart technologies to seamlessly deliver interactive experiences previously relegated to traditional face-to-face settings.
8. Relevant – Thanks to gps chips, technology will afford customized delivery of learning opportunities contextually relevant to the learner.
9. Augmented – Emerging technological innovations are adding ways for learners to interact with subject matter in ways previously unavailable. Virtual field trips enable learners to transcend time and space barriers. Virtual technologies allow learner avatars to transcend identity barriers.
10. Layered – Just as the social layer has been added to the globally networked world, and just as a game layer is being constructed as I write this, watch for an education layer to be integrated where Like and Comment buttons may be accompanied by a Learn This button (Similar to Apture’s Learn More plugin but more developed).
These trends will continue while civilization continues to transition from the industrialized model of nation-state institutions to the globally networked collaborative model. Despite the fact that only half the world is Internet-worked at present, an ignorant populace can only be distracted by superficial entertainment and/or narrow cultural indoctrination for so long. Eventually, the thirst for fulfillment will drive the demand for genuine and deep learning on a global scale. Will greed give way to good?