Education 20 Years from Now: 4 Scenarios by the World Economic Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many things in the world, making us review everything to how we interact with work to how we approach self-care. And our approach to education was similarly affected.

With that in mind, the World Economic Forum put out an article looking at scenarios for what the future of education might look like. And while predictions made by exercises in futurism such as these are seldom 100% correct, they often provide a glimpse of what is to come, allowing us to prepare and adapt. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four scenarios proposed for the future of education.

1 – Schooling Extended:

Participation in formal education will continue to expand. Meanwhile, international collaboration and technological advances will provide more support for individualized learning. As a result, our current schooling system and processes will continue existing in a similar fashion, only made more effective thanks to digital learning tools.

2 – Education Outsourced

In this scenario, traditional schooling systems would break down as societies become more directly involved in educating its citizens. Schools will be replaced by more diverse, privatized, and flexible education arrangements, with digital tools at the forefront of the change.

3 – Schools as Learning Hubs

Schools as we know them today remain, but diversity and experimentation become the norm. This helps connect schools to their communities and will favor ever-changing forms of learning, civic engagement, and social innovation. In other words, the buildings and basic staff structure of schools stay intact, but what happens inside the building keeps changing and evolving.

4 – Learn-As-You-Go

In this future, education takes place anywhere, anytime. There is no longer a distinction between informal learning and formal learning. As tools of verifying what a person knows become more widespread and accessible, there is hardly a need for degrees or certificates. And the existence of AI tutors combined with powerful teaching algorithms makes human tutors obsolete in all but a few edge cases, meaning that most human learning happens guided by digital tools.

What we need to ask ourselves, as a society, is how much can we expand the current means of teaching? The people, time, technology, and location of schooling. Is modernization the answer to our education scaling needs, and will it prove to be as beneficial as it sounds?

Individual learning experiences is the route we are already heading in. COVID-19 has seen schooling become more digitized with classes taking place across Zoom calls, homework being delivered digitally, and students being able to have a more interactive one-on-one with their teachers. The presence of digital schooling means has been increasing for years, even before COVID-19. However, the current use of technology in schooling is primarily to recreate the traditional methods, rather than to innovate, re-envision, and improve.

To re-envision the future of education, we must understand that this cannot take place by simply rearranging classrooms. A thorough overhaul of the current system via employing the usage of innovative technology that utilizes body language, neural signals, and facial expressions. Education would need to take place not only in a physical space, and more than one, but also in a virtual space.