What does the future of personalized learning hold?
Personalized learning is not a new concept. In fact, the idea of tailoring learning to the needs of students was first documented as far back as the 19th century. However, in recent years we have seen changes in techniques that have been used by educators for over a century. Most of these changes have been driven by the surge in digital technologies, particularly machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). In this article, we’ll talk about the effects of technologies we’re already experiencing, as well as how they’re expected to shape the future of personalized learning.
How has technology already affected personalized learning?
The effects of technology on personalized learning are all around us, whether we notice them or not. Students around the world already have access to learning platforms that provide personalized data using AI algorithms. They can easily find courses that match their preferences, skill level and learning goals. Not to mention the plethora of online resources and virtual assistants to help them continue their education in their spare time. Finally, they can constantly connect with students who share similar interests, exchange information and expand their horizons.
At the same time, educators have had a lot of weight lifted off their shoulders as AI helps them with repetitive tasks such as grading and creating lessons or assessments. In addition, communication between them and their students is greatly facilitated by tools such as chats and forums. Sometimes their input is not even necessary because they can create knowledge bases that take care of the expected questions. This gives them more time to carefully craft their learning material to create an engaging and effective student experience.
What to expect next?
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, which means it’s hard to know exactly what it will look like in 5, 10, or 50 years. However, there are a few things we can expect based on what we know so far. Here are 5 predictions about the future of personalized learning in the digital world.
1. Evaluation and verification of facts
The technologies of the future, and especially advanced artificial intelligence, will have the ability to evaluate educational progress over a long period of time, giving the educator an immediate picture of the student’s knowledge gaps, acquired skills and projected development. At the same time, as more AI writing assistants emerge, a large part of the evaluation process will separate “truth” from AI-generated content. Instead of educators trying to fact-check their students’ work, in the future artificial intelligence will be equipped to quickly detect and prevent such incidents.
2. Tailored individual teaching
As digital tools that support personalized learning continue to evolve, group learning will take a back seat. Instead, AI will be able to act as a personal instructor for students, giving them all the attention they need and customizing their learning paths. However, this does not mean that personal interactions will disappear. Human instructors can still support students when needed, and peer contact will take place on learning platforms or in a virtual learning environment.
3. Virtual classroom
Speaking of virtual environments, the virtual classroom is expected to gain much more popularity in the world of education. Its purpose will be to bridge distance and strengthen a sense of teamwork and community among online students. There, digital versions (avatars) of students will be able to communicate with each other and learn together. Even in cases where students are in the same location, VR and AR tools will be used to enhance the learning experience.
4. Lifelong education
This is already a reality, but is expected to become even more prevalent in the future. With technology and global connectivity making education more accessible than ever, more and more people are making lifelong learning an important part of their lives. They begin seeking additional resources while they are still students and continue to continually enrich their knowledge base to aid their professional development.
5. Diversity and equity
Many steps have been taken to make learning accessible to all. But what is now a constant struggle will become an effortless habit in the future of personalized learning. Supporting learning through technology will allow us to reach every corner of the planet, offer instant translations of training courses into any language, and integrate features to help students with any type of disability. Finally, artificial intelligence will remove the biases that are now present in its databases so that it can always give us results that are correct and objective.
The virtual grass isn’t always greener
For many of us, all these technological advances make the future of education seem bright and impressive. However, digital tools should not be treated as a cure-all. Sure, they can help instructors and students alike save time by taking over repetitive tasks, but there are some things that still require human emotional intelligence. For example, during the first years of education, the presence of a human educator cannot be replaced by a machine. This will have a negative impact on young students who need to practice key soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving. Finally, it is important to remember that AI is not yet ready for us to fully rely on it. Fact-checking and editing the information it provides to us is still necessary to avoid misinformation and data distortion.
We have a bright future ahead of us
It’s undeniable that machine learning and artificial intelligence are here to stay, and their impact on the future of personalized learning will be hard to ignore. And to be honest, you shouldn’t want to. Technology can be a valuable tool for educators and instructors in any learning environment, helping them identify gaps in knowledge and design customized learning pathways that address them effortlessly. So find out how technology can serve the needs of your audience and use it to create better learning experiences.