Covid-19 has certainly been disruptive to many industries around the world, but the education industry has been overlooked by many. Teachers and students are suffering from a lack of motivation and the general perception of the value of education is on a decline with remote learning. This has caused many students to turn to non-traditional sources of education.
With this occurring, it begs the question: what will the future of the education industry look like once the pandemic ends? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t 100 percent clear, but there are certain signs that point towards the probable future. Regardless of the specific future of education, there will always be a need to educate the new leaders of society.
The Rise of Trade Schools
Trade schools differ from traditional sources of education in that they focus less on general education and teach students information that is more industry-specific. For perspective, trade schools such as General Assembly place an emphasis on preparing students for careers in data science, software engineering, full-stack development, and more.
In the past, people have associated trade schools with vocational schools, which isn’t entirely wrong. The only real difference is that trade schools typically focus more on tech jobs, rather than manual jobs. While there has been a stigma in the past, millions more have enrolled in trade schools over the last few years and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
As covered by The Atlantic, enrollment for trade schools is about 14 million, which rivals that of traditional colleges or universities. With the general value of education from traditional sources on a small decline, it’s possible that trade schools may soon overtake colleges or universities in terms of enrollment. If this occurs, it would be a monumental milestone and change for the educational industry.
A Potential Continuation of Online Learning
Feedback from remote learning has been a mixed bag. Some students and teachers have loved it whereas others hate it. It truly is a topic that is split right down the middle. This begs the question, what will happen to online learning when the pandemic ends? Assuming there are enough people in favor of it, it’s possible that remote learning may continue.
One large reason that in-person learning was the norm was that nobody had access to computers a few decades ago. However, a study from Statista back in 2016 found that 89.3 percent of American households had at least one computer. With access to all the tools needed to learn online, anyone from anywhere in the world can participate in classes and gain an education.
Going further, websites are now covering how to enter certain professions without attending a traditional institution. Computer Science Hero, for example, features a prominent how-to guide on becoming a software engineer, which can be done completely online. The Internet is ruling the world already and it’s completely feasible that remote learning will be the norm in a few years.
Greater Emphasis on Problem-solving and Group Thinking
Interestingly enough, the education industry has shifted more towards a problem-solving and group projects style that places a greater emphasis on critical thinking and collaboration. Your own individual work is still necessary to pass a course, but you need to also demonstrate an ability to work with your peers.
Prominent careers such as web development require this type of group work to succeed, and it seems that the education industry is finally starting to structure teaching styles in a way that reflects the top careers in the current day. It’s often been thought that schools were too focused on memorization and meaningless skills that don’t apply to the real world, but recent trends from online learning show that the industry may be moving in the opposite direction.
Nobody can completely predict the future of the education industry. Students and teachers alike have had a difficult number of months dealing with a pandemic and a new form of education all at once. How this will affect the development of the education industry is anyone’s guess. With this in mind, though, signs point to an educational future radically different than what history has shown.