Education has changed more in the past 10 years than it did in the prior 100. Those changes are only accelerating, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruptive nature of digital technology.
It’s no secret that technological change has taken a lot of industries by storm. As students hunker down at home during the pandemic, tech experts foresee more than a trend toward online education. Tomorrow’s education system will be more interactive, workforce-oriented, and certificate-based.
How these helpful and needed changes happen, exactly, is up for debate. Benjamin Arabov, CEO of education marketing firm Grow Enrollments, sees new platforms as just the start. “The future of learning lies in teaching institutions that will revolutionize that space, not simply turn conventional education into an online format,” he says. “Disruptive education will emphasize gamification and visual learning to engage the next generation of students.”
Arabov, a 2021 inductee to the Forbes 30 Under 30, thinks disruptive education will have a significant impact on how the majority of us learn and prepare for a career in the future. Here’s how and why that might happen:
Definitionally, disruption is the process of displacing an established technology, process, or industry in a groundbreaking, meaningful way. In the context of education, disruption refers to technology’s ability to provide students with modern education, shake up educational institutions, and revolutionize the way we think about learning.
Prominent examples of tech disruption exist in education already: Online courses, degrees, and certifications are becoming common and accepted by employers. Libraries are shifting from print books toward digital archives. Sites like Wikipedia are now respected educational institutions in their own right.
According to Arabov, those changes are just the start. In his eyes, disruptive education offers elegant solutions for the problems that plague the traditional education system.
“To this day, what traditional learning institutions struggle to deliver is student development opportunities. Schools are struggling to engage students. They’re coming up short on creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.”
What does Arabov propose? Digital programs that teach employer-desired skill sets more effectively and quickly than traditional degree programs. And he’s working with edtech entrepreneurs to bring those to fruition.
The future of education will be shaped by the edtech startups of today. It’s Arabov’s belief that these companies will get ahead by not just providing innovative learning programs, but also by solving the current problems that exist within the traditional education system.
One of those problems? The stubborn skills gap for many students who are gearing up to enter the workforce.
“To produce the sort of candidates companies want to hire, education providers have to address the issue of integrating technology with learning,” Arabov said. He points to programs like Distance Learning Systems, which offers digital courses it guarantees will transfer to accredited schools.
Distance Learning Systems makes university programs more accessible and career-oriented using technology. “With today’s increasing cost and time required for higher education, it has become extremely challenging for many to fast-track, or even obtain a college degree,” explains David Christy, the company’s president.
Distance Learning Systems delivers classes live online and records them for students. Students can earn college credit by attending just one class per week.
Another is personalization, Arabov explains. Historically, classroom education has been one size fits all. As is true elsewhere in the economy, that’s changing.
Personalized learning can take many forms. Learn-at-your-own-pace online courses are an early example. In the future, VR experiences may be tailored to the lessons each student struggles with. Expect degree programs to be tailored to each student’s desired skill set, not just the subject area they’re interested in.
Regardless, Arabov says, disruptive education companies will use technology to get there. They’ll help students get insight into their own learning habits, create personalized approaches to education, and keep up with the constant changes that will continue to rock the education industry. And frankly, it’s about time.
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