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There have been tremendous technological innovations in the past decade that have disrupted virtually every industry.
Blockchain is disrupting traditional finance, 3D printing is changing the way we build and create, and artificial intelligence is popping up practically everywhere – and increasingly working its way into our daily lives.
And now education professionals, students, and business users are starting to use modern technology to revamp the way we teach and learn – all with the aim of improving the three E's of education: efficiency, effectiveness, and entertainment.
These technologies are likely to have the greatest impact on online education in the years to come.
On-demand tutoring is growing
In the late 90s and early 2000s, online messaging boards and forums were all the rage. These quickly became hubs where individuals and companies could share information, remove each other's heads, and work together to solve problems.
But these platforms had their limits. The information was generally disorganized and finding a real expert was akin to finding a needle in a haystack. They weren't reliable, let alone efficient.
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These limitations were addressed with the advent of on-demand tutoring platforms. As with forums, many of these platforms allow users to seek help by posting their problems online. However, these questions are aimed at seasoned tutors and experts rather than being open to the masses.
In addition, experts now have the opportunity to spread their knowledge and reach the students who need their help most thanks to the increasing popularity of video tutoring. This has become especially important recently as more students and teachers study and work from home, which has resulted in a decline in student engagement and time between students and teachers.
Fortunately, a number of platforms have appeared in recent years that connect students and teachers according to their needs, experiences and disciplines, such as: B. Studypool, Tutor.com and Brainfuse.
"While this is a relatively recent innovation, on-demand tutoring platforms have become an integral part of the educational lives of tens of millions of students," said Richard Werbe, Co-Founder and CEO of Studypool. "Students now have access to a pool of knowledge that was not available a decade ago, while tutors now have the freedom and flexibility to teach what they want, when they want."
Since its launch in 2015, Studypool has expanded its user base to millions and over 50,000 verified tutors on the platform. The company achieved this growth by rethinking student and tutor collaboration, giving students access to a plethora of study notes, and helping them get expert advice easily through microtutoring and on-demand tutoring.
With such platforms, students can collect knowledge faster and more efficiently than ever before, and thus massively improve the transfer of knowledge between experts and students.
Education is being automated
Throughout history, education has been a teacher / student interaction where knowledge flows from one person to another. This is still the status quo. However, a number of technologies that are being introduced could challenge this model.
The most important of these is artificial intelligence and related technologies such as neural networks and machine learning. With these technologies, developers begin to create applications that can automatically collect, sort, and organize information. Essentially, encyclopedias of knowledge are created using publicly available information.
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These tools are also used to identify what topics students are struggling with, identify students who need additional help, and create personalized content plans with the push of a button.
Artificial intelligence is already being used in a variety of online learning platforms, including Quizlet, Duolingo, and Querium. Each of these platforms use AI to deliver tailored content to students without the need for human involvement. Many of these platforms also used spatial re-learning systems and chat bots with AI support to help with queries, ensure retention, and maximize efficiency.
The tremendous potential of AI – not just in the education industry – has led to an explosion of corporate interest, and AI (and related skills like natural language processing and machine learning) is the fourth most desirable skill for businesses in 2020.
Virtual reality takes off
Since the introduction of the Oculus Rift, the first large-scale consumer virtual reality headset, in 2016, the number of use cases for VR (virtual reality) technology has exploded – video games and sports, military and tourism applications are growing in popularity.
Related: Virtual reality offers entrepreneurs many business opportunities
But if there's one virtual reality in an industry that could really disrupt it, it's online education. By providing a medium for educators and students to come together in more engaging and active ways, virtual reality can offer learning experiences that are not easily forgotten.
According to a recent study by Statista, education is the fourth largest sector for VR investments and the VR education industry will grow to a $ 700 million market by 2025 – more than triple that in the next five years. Additionally, a whopping 97 percent of students showed interest in a VR education course.
The reasons for this expected growth? The sheer effectiveness of VR training. A recent study by Jingjie Zhao and colleagues showed that VR can be used to significantly improve learners' academic test scores. It can even be used to instill confidence in young learners, which pays off later in terms of academic aptitude.
It is not only used in the classroom. "VR events are now being used for a number of educational use cases," said Stan Liberatore, CEO of VSummits, a company that organizes virtual meetings for universities, hospitals and conferences.
"Similar to how flight simulators are used during flight training for aspiring pilots, and how dummies and models are used in surgeon training," says Liberatore. “VR provides an environment where learners can experience complex or potentially risky assignments without real assignments, risk or expense, while teachers and students can interact naturally regardless of distance. "
Related: How VR Accelerates Talent Learning and Development
As a result, educators are now using VR to help students tackle a range of disciplines, from public speaking to architectural design and everything in between. In many cases, these educators use the appealing qualities of gamification to make learning more fun.
As in many emerging industries, the VR education sector has already begun to spawn its first wave of entrepreneurs. However, with massive growth potential yet to come, it is likely that its true potential has not yet been reached.