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Bracing for the 2018 Education Roller Coaster

New Britannica CEO, Karthik Krishnan, lends his expertise and speaks about the future of education, and upcoming trends for 2018.

2018 is already shaping up to be an exciting yet excruciating year for the education world. Exciting because the number of new emerging and available technologies that can enhance student learning in engaging ways is exploding. Excruciating because schools are grappling with how to take advantage of new digital tools in a resource-challenged environment and integrate those with traditional teaching models that can’t be easily tossed away.

Sequencing the changes, cementing early wins and developing confidence at each school are key to the success of transformation efforts worldwide. Without active change-management efforts, the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of every student across the globe will go unrealized despite the plethora of groundbreaking learning technologies and solutions.

Interesting trendsImmersive and experiential learning: Learning couldn’t be more exciting thanks to the experiences that can be shaped by technologies including virtual and augmented realties, digital voice assistants that can engage in learning conversations and maker labs that can quickly help one move from learning to building.

  • Mass Personalization: Understanding student learning styles, creating a successive series of challenging assignments, and providing immediate feedback are critical to engaging students particularly in a limited attention span world. Thanks to technology, cost-effective mass personalization is a reality and can be the silver bullet for teachers who are left with few options today but to teach to the low or middle (learning ability) of the class, which leaves a significant portion of the class disengaged.
  • Off-classroom digital learning: With schools trailing in providing the infrastructure to deliver immersive and personalized learning experiences, parents are likely to step in to bridge the gap between what is available in school and what the market offers by spending significant money on core and supplemental interactive content, learning experiences and tutors.

Challenges that limit progress

  • Teacher training and development: The fast-paced growth in learning tools and models will widen the knowledge (what to do) and skills (how to do) gaps. Schools need to plan and spend a significant amount of time and resources to help teachers learn and take advantage of new technologies in order to enhance student learning.
  • Interoperability of solutions: The limited number of robust and ubiquitous standards such as Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is likely to make the integration of various technologies more complex and difficult to extract value.
  • Rich-poor school divide: A number of schools are grappling with declining budgets and increasing costs. Against this backdrop, it will be hard to drive consistent learning experiences. Richer schools are more likely to experiment and bring in the right consultants to bring these new technologies to life and enhance learning. Out–of-the-box solutions such as public-private partnerships will be needed to ensure universal access to enhanced learning options.

Given the personal and transformative nature of education, each of us can play a role in accelerating the transformation and shaping the future.
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The author

Karthik believes in the transformative power of education and is passionate about enabling lifelong learning. As the global CEO of the Britannica group of companies (Encylopaedia Britannica, Britannica Digital Learning, Britannica Knowledge Systems, Merriam-Webster and Melingo), he is focused on value creation for customers and unlocking the true potential of their trusted brands. The goal is to establish the Britannica brands as the de-facto go-to destination for learners of all ages.

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