Online education is still in its infancy. The field develops every day as pioneers grapple with new technology and practices. An online course that was considered cutting-edge a year ago might now be viewed as out of date. Technology that was only available to early adopters last autumn might be deemed obsolete by the fall semester.
Despite the fast change, trends hint that the future of online education will be is not as drastically different from present models as some may believe. Nonetheless, certain important alterations like online learning and learning, in general, may be detected.
If we know where online education will lead us, we can better determine the setting in which we will live. Grasping the future allows us to become shapers of the future to a large extent.
Aspects Of Online Education That Will Change In Future
1. Future Technology.
Some people argue that technology should not drive content. However, when technology becomes the backbone of online education via which teachers must give instruction, technology, if not driving content, most definitely restricts content. Today’s online learning institutions must accept that instructional content will be transmitted over limited cables to weak machines running questionable software.
This phenomenon will change in the future. Bandwidth will be virtually limitless in the future. It’s going to change, and it’s going to happen relatively soon. Computer systems will become more dependable and will no longer resemble computers. Two factors will fuel this advancement. For starters, CPU and memory speeds and capacities will continue to rise. The current capacity increase every eighteen months or so shows no signs of abating.
Future computer applications will be function-based, which will make online education platforms relatively easy. They will respond to individual demands by running and modifying task-based apps as needed. For example, a future student will not launch an operating system, internet browser, word processor, or email application to begin working on a course. The student will launch the course, which will then launch these applications on its own.
2. New Technology in Education.
The PAD (Personal Access Device), which combines the functions of a book, notepad, and pen, will become the dominating instrument for online education. Consider the PAD to be a portable notebook computer with touchscreen capabilities and high-speed wireless internet connectivity. The PAD will resemble a modern clipboard and weigh roughly the same. Its high-resolution screen will display legible text, video, and multimedia. Voice commands, handwriting recognition, and input through a touchscreen keyboard are all options for the PAD.
Future online education software will incorporate all of the features seen in video games today and more. Look at Maxis products like Sim City or Sim Earth for an excellent illustration of the type of learning environment that will become more common in the future. The purpose of instructional software is not to provide a stream of knowledge to a student but rather to place the learner in a setting where the information required for success in that environment will be actively sought and learned.
3. Interaction and Online Conferencing.
Online conferencing will be a powerful instrument in online education and nearly every other field. As a result, virtual conferences will be utilized in education for both subject-matter discussion and teaching students how to use online conferencing. The ability to use internet video calls effectively will be as crucial in the future as the social skills taught in schools now.
Future synchronous conferencing systems will provide a primary platform from which users can choose to conference utilizing several online education tools such as video, audio, text-based chat, and whiteboard. Furthermore, such systems will allow file transmission, remote program launch and control, and other features. These systems currently exist; all that is required is the bandwidth to employ them successfully.
4. Personalized Education.
Imagine the best desktop computer you can imagine, slung over your shoulder like a slim handbag, connected to the billions of resources available on the internet, and supporting instant multimedia communications anywhere on the planet. You have a picture of the educational tool available within the next decade. The creation of such technology makes it unavoidable that future online education will become more customized.
Future education will be considerably less class-based and much more topic-based. Alternative educational approaches such as programmed learning and constructive learning are already experimenting with this paradigm. The notion is that learning is paced less by the teacher and more by the student’s ability to absorb the content. Furthermore, the topics chosen for an individual’s online education will be dependent on that student’s needs rather than the pre-selected curriculum for a certain class. Any particular student may be taking any given topic at any given moment and moving through that material at a rate suited to their learning capacity.
5. Independence Of Time And Place.
Online education is essentially distant learning, and distance learning is distinguished by its independence of time and place. While online learning is time-independent, it is not location independent since students are tethered to a computer terminal and an internet connection. All of that will change with the advent of PADs.
Because the student’s principal learning instrument, the PAD, will be very portable, online education will become truly location-independent in the future. Students of the future will be able to learn anywhere, just as they may already teleconference from anywhere using a cellular phone. Students would be seen reading Descartes or watching Macbeth beneath the covers, lazing in the park working out geometry problems or sitting in their living room practising their French.
Since the last century, education has been practised in tightly controlled, segregated buildings with standardized groups of pupils led and directed by instructors working practically alone.
Many people believe that in ten years, this model will be obsolete. A new model will emerge in which education is practised in the community as a whole by individuals studying personal curricula at their own pace, guided and assisted by community facilitators, online education and instructors, and experts from around the world.