To understand how education can help children be better leaders tomorrow, Google for Education collaborated with Canvas8, a global behavioral insights consultancy, to conduct a study on the future of education.
The Google for Education report reveals global trends on the future of education relating to Self, School, and System. Under Self, there’s a rising demand for global problem solvers, a change in skill sets required for work, and a shift to a mindset of lifelong learning. Under School, there’s a need to make learning personal, and trends of reimagining learning design and elevating the teacher. For System, the trends found were upgrading learning environments, empowering educators with data, and a need to reevaluate student progress.
How will the role of education evolve to meet the needs of the future? Google and Canvas8’s research spanned 24 countries from around the world to gain insights from 94 education thought leaders, policy experts, academic researchers, principals and teachers, and edtech leaders.
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Here are some trends and insights from the report:
1. Shifting to a lifelong learning mindset
Formal education typically ends at adulthood but learning takes place across different contexts or environments beyond one’s school years.
According to Martin Henry, research coordinator at Education International in Belgium, it’s becoming clearer that people need to be able to access education throughout their lives. There is a need to develop that interest in learning and that “learning to learn” ability in students too.
“Lifelong learning is not a new concept, but it does require a shift in the collective mindset,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director, Google Philippines. “It requires to think of education not as a one-off period, but as an ongoing pursuit.
Lifelong learning as a concept is not limited to students. It applies to everyone. As lifelong learning is largely voluntary, a new learning culture must be cultivated, which instills ongoing motivation to learn.
2. Making learning personal
It’s not just about providing students with targeted, in-the-moment support, but also about making educational content feel relevant to the individual learner.
Personalization aims to increase student engagement and performance by creating responsive learning experiences that take into account each individual learner’s needs and interests. Studies show that when students better relate to what is taught in schools, it can have a positive impact on student engagement, enjoyment and performance.
“When we talk about learning, it’s good to acknowledge that learners differ in so many ways,” said Nacario. “Advances in AI now make it possible to move at a speed and scale we’ve only imagined. Today, AI is capable of giving students 1:1, in-the-moment feedback on their work. Virtual learning companions will become even more capable of delivering instruction and challenging students to think through problems. In the past, it was completely unimaginable.”
Google is optimistic about the potential for AI and other advanced technologies to empower people, benefit current and future generations, and serve the common good.
3. Re-evaluating student progress
While assessments play a pivotal role in the trajectory of a student’s life, “a lot of learners have capacities which are outside the things that we measure.”
“There’s frustration among parents because we are saying to a child, ‘you are lesser or better,’ but only judging upon a very, very, very small subset of things that are important in life,” said Claire Boonstra, founder of Operation Education in the Netherlands.
Nacario said, “At Google, we understand that assessments are a challenge. We want to give the teachers the need to effectively assess student progress.”
When teachers create assignments in Google Classroom, they have the ability to provide feedback by leaving comments on submitted assignments, or writing directly on student work. To help streamline the feedback process, Classroom automatically saves a teacher’s most-used feedback to a personalized and automated comment bank. In addition, teachers can draw or write on student work using the Classroom mobile app.
Google believes that lifelong learning should be both acceptable and accessible. Learning takes on many forms, whether a person is seeking answers to a question via Search or exploring learning content on YouTube, upskilling for a new role or pursuing a new field of work. In fact, according to the 2022 YouTube Impact Report, 93% of users report using YouTube to gather information and knowledge.
Google hopes to cultivate a society where people have the tools, resources and support that they need to pursue their personal potential — wherever they are in their learning journey.