The face of the classroom is constantly changing. The 2020 pandemic peeled back the curtain on challenges educators had not yet imagined and catapulted the education paradigm into a rapidly shifting model that educators struggled to embrace. Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, we understand that these learning trends are not going away any time soon. Let’s explore some key trends emerging in the post-pandemic education environment.
Trend #1: Active Learning
The days of the lecture hall as the primary source of learning are rapidly fading into the past. Instead, educators are embracing flexible makerspaces that can adapt to individual or group needs at a moment’s notice. Students need time to engage, collaborate, and explore through a hands-on learning experience. While this is not a new idea, the evolution of technology allows a level of student engagement that was not possible even ten years ago. Thanks to the wide availability of design programs and 3D printers, students can develop a concept and print parts to bring that concept to life, often within the same class period. While there will certainly still be a need for guidance from the instructor, there will continue to be a focus on creating spaces that encourage learning through DIY, interaction, and peer engagement.
Trend #2: Connected Learning
Technology has become an integral part of the classroom environment. Connected learning integrates technology into the classroom, as early as kindergarten, and enhances the learning experience with apps and other virtual programs. Billions of hours each year are spent in games and virtual worlds, many with a learning component. This is a familiar idea; simulators are used in many industries as training for the real world. From the U.S. military, to aviation flight simulators and training for medical professionals, virtual learning is all around us. The learning institution is expected to deliver these virtual learning experiences to accommodate a blend of virtual objects, computer models, and human interaction.
Trend #3: Personalized Learning
Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. Each student can learn the same content in different applications. The future classroom will be a blended learning environment with a combination of guided learning, active learning, and ready access to digital information and technology. The goal of the institution is to provide resources and experiences to facilitate this next-generation learning experience. The physical environment should support this broad range of needs with two main types of workspaces. Interactive spaces offer space for project-based work and group or peer collaboration as well as one-on-one meetings with faculty and mentors. A quiet space or sensory room can reduce stress by offering an escape from technology and a chance for individual study or personal reflection. The physical environment should enable students to move between activities and engage in different types of learning.
- Dr. Robert Brodnick & Dr. Donald Norris. “The Learner’s Journey: 4 Learning-Space Scenarios That Reflect I3 Dynamic Trends Impacting the Future of Education.” www.ki.com, 2016.
- “How to Lead Active Learning in Your Schools.” www.paragoninc.com, 2017.
- “The Future of Learning.” Think Space Blog, HON, October 11, 2021.