People are equipped with unique learning styles: some are visual learners, while some rely on their auditory capacity. Unfortunately, the traditional setting only utilizes a generic approach. Even when a student is being taught by the best teacher in the area, if the teacher fails to complement that student’s learning style, he will not be able to help his student master a certain topic.
In a technology conference held in Austin, Texas, Bill Gates, who was the keynote speaker for the occasion, campaigned for the need for “personalized education,” which caters to the student’s unique learning style. Inspiring him to do so is Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, which is perhaps the first website to provide personalized learning programs to interested participants. An advocate of education, Gates has recently taken a massive investment in online education, with his foundation along others like Carnegie Corporation donating $100 million to InBloom. This funding aims to help the company develop a program that allows the instructor to keep track of a student’s performance, so he can determine the best intervention for the learner.
Technology-enhanced Learning Approach
The power of a country’s economy is indissolubly concomitant to the strength of its education system. America’s competitiveness, in particular, all starts within its classrooms, thus its education system needs to be strengthened and reformed for it to be able to keep up with the fast-changing global market. With that said, technology visionaries Bill Gates and Salman Khan have their own insights of what the education system should turn out like in the next 10 years or so.There is no way students can absorb their lessons in a single run. Some only rely on their scribbled notes and vague recollections, most of which are unreliable ways to master the subject. In the next years or so, this problem will no longer exist.
Gates and Khan are currently promoting the use of video for open education. These videos can be paused and replayed, as required by students. Since the videos can be accessed through websites such as YouTube, a student can walk through the lesson which he failed to understand the day before, and play it over and over until he gets a good grasp of it. Unlike textbooks, these videos are engaging and highly-interactive, assuring that the learner will never get bored along the way. They motivate a student to ask questions, which is something he may hesitate to do in the classroom.
More Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)[wp_ad_camp_2] One of the foremost concerns why high school graduates do not go to college, or why college students drop out in the middle of the semester, is the lack of funds for tuition. With college tuition averaging more than $28,000 a year, dropout rates all around the world continue to soar.
MOOCs can address the rising costs and inaccessibility of higher education. They are free courses that can be accessed by almost anyone with the use of internet connection. Learners from all over the world can now obtain a bird’s eye view of the courses being taught in prestigious universities just by accessing MOOC websites like MIT Open Course Ware, Coursera (33 Universities) and edX (Harvard and Berkeley). With the emergence of MOOC websites, students won’t have to pay costly fees to get decent-quality education in the near future.
More Adaptive Learning Platforms
Apart from Moocs, adaptive learning platforms such as the Khan Academy and Knewton can help reshape the face of education in the next number of years. These websites provide online materials based on the person’s learning style in order to help him grasp lessons immediately. This is what Gates calls “personalized education.”
In these websites, students get to create an account – watch videos, view instructional manuals and answer virtual exams. Coaches or teachers can keep track of the learners’ progress on the website, and intervene as needed. For example, a coach can help learner A once he sees that he has been stuck with algebraic equations for 4 days now.
With their numerous benefits, these adaptive learning platforms can help students with different learning styles improve their knowledge in the future. As people get to see the benefits of such platforms, more are expected to be built in the years to come.
New Feedback Systems = Improved Teaching Approach
Another issue in education is the lack of feedback channels for instructors, which keeps them in the dark since they do not know whether they are doing a good job or not. Teachers need to assess which areas of their approach they need to improve on so they can be much more effective at what they do.
With Gates’ massive investment in online education and technological programs, teachers will soon be able to receive comprehensive feedback. In fact, there’s already one currently being developed by InBloom Company. With the help of this improved feedback system, instructors can customize their methods, so they can help students learn more and excel in school.
Lower Education Costs = Free More Funds for Research[wp_ad_camp_3] Lack of research is one of the most pressing concerns in the world of education. Research is vital for seeking solutions to questions raised, but many researchers are beset with limited funding and government support. But this could change 10 years from now, with Gates’ vision of open education.As students can take massive online open courses, the cost of education can be lowered. The reshaped system may cut costs associated with building schools or hiring more instructors as the students would no longer be confined with the usual setup of traditional education system. This can free some funds to go into research instead, for the discovery and formulation of new and better solutions that can further enhance the education system in many parts of the world.
With the many issues besetting the education system today, the development of more technologies for personalized programs can provide immense opportunities for underprivileged students or those who do not have the capacity to acquire good-quality education in the traditional system. These innovations are seen to revolutionize the education system in the next 10 years or maybe sooner, who knows?