Top 7 trends in education technology for 2021

Technology is rapidly changing the way we live and interact. It is changing the face of every field and every sector in the best way possible. But the field of education is lagging in terms of technology adoption. Considering the fact that education is something that can change the world in positive way, introduction of technology in education has become even more essential.

Education technology can help to eliminate current barriers of providing quality education to all across the world. Education technology will provide a chance to widen the imagination of the students and help them grasp better. The education sector and the entities such as students, teachers, management, parents, etc. will benefit a lot from the latest and upcoming trends in education technology. For this reason, we have compiled some of the key trends and technologies that can define trends for the coming year.

Here are top 7 upcoming trends in education technology.

1.Online Education

Trends of Online Education In India

Even when things like ticket booking, watching TV shows, ordering food is becoming online, education is still behind in terms of online education delivery. Due to the easy availability of internet, the number of internet users is increasing rapidly. The increasing number of Smartphone users is providing a good opportunity to deliver education online.

Online education which includes online courses and online examinations are slowly and surely becoming popular due to the interest shown by the working professionals to learn new things and expand their knowledge about technology. More number of organizations like Byju’s is emerging to target online education for students.

Here are a few statistical points which can provide insights about education technology in the year 2021.

    • According to credible reports from KPMG and Google study, it is predicted that online education in India is likely to be 2 Billion USD industry by 2021.
    • Around 28 Crore students are going to be enrolled to schools by 2021
    • More than 75 Crore Indians would be using internet ( second Highest behind China)

In the coming year, we would see a considerable growth in online education and its aligned services. Online education is useful to remove barriers caused due to classroom based learning. Students will be able to easily go through the same class repeatedly and revise key subject/ topics. Online education will give them the freedom to learn at their own pace and thus understand the topics well.

Internet penetration in rural India is increasing as we move forward. Mobile app based services like WhatsApp and YouTube are becoming popular in the rural areas. But the scarcity of quality teachers in rural parts of India still persists. Rural students are looking forward to consume digital education in the form of videos, documents. They are dependent on the online mode of education to create a better future.

There are three key segments for digital education which are as follows:

i.K-12 Digital Education

K-12 combines technology with education to create high quality and customised learning syllabus for the students from kindergarten to 12th class. K-12 powered online schools are slowly gaining acceptance as it creates a beautiful blend between traditional education with modern technology and tools for digital learning.

ii.Higher Education

Higher education is also slowly adopting the digital era. Online certifications or the certifications which add value to their degree are becoming popular among the college students. Most of such courses are targeted to improve employability of the students. Availability of many more such courses can help to make online education popular in India.

iii.Professional Education

Adaptability for professional education such as executivemanagement courses is on the higher side. This is because many working professionals are opting for courses which would enable them to easily enrol, learn, give assessment and acquire certification from any location such as office or home.

Barriers of Digital Education

Currently online education is not regulated by government to the large extent. Most of the times, the students or professionals are looking to complete courses from some certified / Government approved education entity. It can help them to get job after completion of the course.

 There are many institutes or educational entities that provide online education courses which are autonomous and private. They also conduct assessments and provide certifications from their own institutions. Such certifications certainly help individuals to gain knowledge but its acceptability or scaling to mass market is limited due to non regulated segment.

Service Providers like Khan Academy provide exceptional knowledge for free. Individuals are taking advantage of it to improve their knowledge. In the year 2021, we would see digital education which is regulated by government. Government would start the process of formalizing online education with rules and regulation framework.

2. Digital and Comprehensive Online Assessments

Online exam Management

Evaluation of students is one of the key areas of academic curriculum. Success of education largely depends on type of evaluation done. Traditionally, the evaluation of the students has largely been focused on theory examinations. The students are analysed based on their theoretical knowledge. The students usually write theory or descriptive answers in the exams and it is being evaluated by one of the examiners. Their passing or failure depends on their understanding of theory.

Limitations of current assessments of evaluation system

  • Evaluation is human dependent
  • It is biased and not standardized for all students
  • It is prone to error
  • It does not take into consideration practical aspects of the knowledge

In the coming years there would be more focus on practical and hands-on aspect of studies. The evaluation of student would also be based on their practical knowledge which they have acquired of particular topic. Proportion of theory exams would be reduced while the amount of experimental, on the field or non-theoretical education would increase.

Outdated Syllabus

Knowledge is becoming dynamic and changing quickly due to the era of internet. Things which are taught in the education institutions at the moment might become obsolete of outdated in no time. Here is a quick video about why Indian Education universities need to adopt dynamic syllabus with new technology.

Knowledge management and collaboration tools and features can help institutes to improve practical knowledge of the students. For example, practical conducted using Virtual Reality technology would become more useful to the students as it would create simulated three dimensional environments for the students to carry out their experiments. Therefore, many institutions are likely to adopt education technology in the coming years.

Thus, by the next year, the traditional methods of evaluation or assessment of the students which was based on theory knowledge will be switched to more practical-oriented methods of evaluation. This can be achieved can be with the help of introduction of technology in the education system.

Artificial Intelligence Driven Assessments
Artificial intelligence for Assessments

Personalized assessments can be created for the students using AI powered online examination systems. Along with providing some very useful features for the online examinations, AI based systems can provide useful insights of the student performance, group analysis and individual analysis for each topic / sub topic.

There are possibilities of bias been carried out by the examiners during evaluation of examinations.  As the assessment of the student is done using online tools and techniques, bias associated with manual evaluation can be eliminated. Assessment tools are developed to focus on evaluating the practical aspect of the subject rather than theory knowledge of the student.

Online examination system like Eklavvya, which is an award winning platform developed at Splashgain provides evaluation mechanisms for subjective assessments as well. The students can write their answers directly or use the feature of speech-to-text where they would speak the answers and the system will type them on the screen. The feature of a timer is also provided for each question or exam.

Certain features of Eklavvya such as secure browser disallow students to switch to other applications during active online exam or different techniques of remote invigilation prevent students from cheating or carrying out any malpractice. There is also a facility of auto authentication of the student using photo capture facility with the help of web camera. Eklavvya offers a few other features such as audit logging, live video streaming, live chats, etc to help maintain the integrity of online exams.

For objective exams results are instantly generated. This has helped to eliminate the barrier of manual evaluation of the student performance.

In the coming year assessment of the knowledge would be based on new factors as listed below:

  • Practical Implementation
  • Ability of innovation
  • Problem Solving using knowledge
  • Conceptual Application of the knowledge

Digital assessment can ensure unbiased and error free analysis of individual performance. It will help save the costs invested on exam centres as also the cost invested on manual travel and evaluation work. It would also be able to provide personalized feedback for each student. Such feedback would be able to set right path for the student to progress further in terms of knowledge acquisition.

3. Inheriting BlockChain mechanism to Education Technology

Blockchain technology helps to copy and transfer data but does not allow modification. This technology is extremely useful as it can prevent hacking of the system. This has made Blockchain an emerging technology. It is going to dominate innovation across many businesses in the coming decade.
Many articles are being written about Block-chain technology. They are useful when there is a need of collaboration or distribution of database/ information. Block-chain is useful in many areas of education including examination management, student credentials verification, certificate verification etc.

Maintaining Student Academic Records

In the current scenario, mark sheet of the individual students are maintained by respective universities. No third party authority or any person is appointed to validate the marks or degree obtained by the student as per records of the university. If the universities decide to verify each student’s mark sheet or certificate then entire process will have to be carried out manually.

Block chain technology can help to eliminate such issues by offering features such as information collaboration and validation which can help to validate the student degree or marks obtained. We can see more new concepts and ideas related to collaboration oriented processes in block chain especially developed for education sector.

Storage of Certificates of Students

Block chain technology allows duplication of data. Thus it can help to store digital copies of the student certificates in the distributed and collaborated environment. Each university can act as node or Validator where any person in authority can validate student documents by requesting for verified information from the students.

Such collaborative approach can help solve many issues like loss of original degree certificates or mark sheets, illegal duplication or modification of documents, authentication of student education records etc. This will also help universities to cut down the costs involved in making infrastructure available for storage of students’ important educational documents.

4. Personalised Learning

Traditional classroom based learning involves a standard theory based syllabus taught by teachers physically. The syllabus, classrooms and teachers are same for all the students’ in spite of the differences in their interests and grasping capacity. As the traditional classroom based learning is not customised pertaining to the needs of every individual student, it is becoming an old and obsolete.

Let us consider examples of online or on demand streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. These platforms provide us with personalized and on demand television experience. They are removing location, device and timing constraints. Television shows, sports events are being streamed in the personalized manner with the help of these platforms.

Similarly, education delivery or learning process must be personalized. Traditional classroom based lecture process may not be helpful for each individual. Every individual has some strengths, weaknesses and pace of understanding a particular topic. Different students would also have liking or interest in different subjects. These things are different for each individual. Due to these reasons, different students excel in different subjects. Some students also lag behind as theoretical learning is not their strongest suit.

But traditional classroom based learning ignores these facts and assesses students based on the marks they receive in each and every subject. When students acquire fewer marks in a particular subject, they tend to compare themselves with the ones who have received good marks. This leads to unhealthy competition among them which might affect their self-confidence in the long run. These are a few drawbacks of the traditional classroom based education which need to be addressed soon.

Personalized learning using technology is the only way which would help create syllabus or learning activities after considering every student’s strong and weak areas. Thus this is one of the trends that would dominate in the coming year.

Advantages of Personalised Learning

  • Ability to absorb topic and understanding increases due to personalized learning
  • Personalized learning can help student to learn, understand topics as per individual speed
  • It can be done from any location
  • It is classroom independent.
5. AI-based Personalised Analysis of Individual

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is latest buzzword in the world today. Not only technology sector but all sectors including finance, manufacturing and healthcare are going to be revolutionized due to implementation of AI. Education sector is also likely to get more ideas and implementations using AI in the upcoming years.

Feedback from teachers (human) has some limitations in terms of ability to comprehend student performance while taking into considerations historical performance. AI can help providing detailed analysis of student performance in the examinations. AI can be developed to analyse a candidate’s responses while evaluating psychometric tests. AI can take algorithm-based decisions which would prove very helpful to analyse a candidate’s responses and in turn understand the candidate’s mindset and behaviour patterns. It can also help to make predictions about the candidate’s behaviour in future.

Thus, personalized learning and analysis of the learning is possible using AI driven assessments of the students.

6. Revolution in Exam Management with Education Technology

Exams in Education

Exams are still conducted in traditional manner which includes exam centres, manual exam invigilation, manual answer sheet evaluation etc. The traditional examination system is not only tedious but it is also risky due to a lot of manual work and human intervention.

But, introduction of AI in the examination management system can bring in a lot of transformative changes in current exam management. AI based proctoring or auto remote proctoring can enable institutions to conduct exam without any need of infrastructure or logistic.

Introductory video of Remote Proctoring to invigilate Online Exams

Remote Proctoring technology can enable students to appear for exam sitting at any location by using any internet based device and a stable internet connection. System can track or monitor activity of remote user using technologically advanced video, image and audio streaming. Artificial intelligence can analyse the students to verify if they are appearing for the exam in fair manner.

Currently this service has been successfully adopted and implemented by higher education institutes and universities for conducting entrance exams. It has helped them to remove infrastructural requirements and save huge administrative costs involved in managing such exams.

AI based Remote Proctoring is undoubtedly going to be in demand in the coming days.

7. Virtual Reality (VR) in Education Technology

Virtual reality is a computer generated technology which can create a virtual environment which is immersive and interactive. It can create a world which is similar to the real world yet very different. No wonder, virtual reality has gained tremendous popularity in the gaming industry.

Virtual Reality in Education Technology

Concept of VR is becoming cost effective. Many other sectors have started using VR for many critical things. Education is also a field which can avail the benefits of this technology. Consider below analysis of information retention. When it comes to classroom based lectures, knowledge retention is the lowest. Knowledge retention improves drastically when it is given in the form of audios, videos, visuals, etc.

There is scientific reason behind it. When a human mind is able to see something in action its retention is better. VR not only provides opportunity to see something but also experience it as if it was real. A pair of 3D glasses or a VR headset is the minimum basic requirement to experience something. The experience is so real that he/she can feel as if a real person is standing in front of that event or scene. As this technology requires very less equipments, it can help to reduce a great deal of expenses incurred in making infrastructure available.

VR implementations which targets quality education and trainings would see good growth in the coming years. As an educator, you should put your focus on this technology for sure.

Checkout the above video. You may get feeling as if you are also climbing the hill. You can get 360 degree view of the surrounding.

Traditional class room based lectures have lowest knowledge retention rate whereas technology like VR can increase knowledge retention to significant level. VR technology can help students to understand particular topic easily. Complex concepts and things which are taught using Virtual Reality can prove beneficial for the students to grasp and retain for longer time.

Knowledge Retention Rate in Education

Thus, from the above 7 points we can conclude that the education technology is buzzword which can help Indian universities with adoption of new things or solutions.

Impact of COVID-19 and Education Technology

The recent COVID19 outbreak has badly impacted the education sector. Due to the strict measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus, there is forceful adoption of technology with live classes, learning, proctored exams taking off in a big way. This has actually helped the education system to commence its journey towards digitisation.

Thus, the education sector is likely to change drastically in the coming year due to the large scale adoption of technology for schools, colleges, and universities. This would not just enhance the education standards but also increase knowledge gained by the students which would brighten up their own as well as the country’s future.

About the Author

Swapnil Dharmadhikari

Swapnil Dharmadhikari

Swapnil has more than 15 years of experience in the Information Technology sector. He has been working on digital platforms in the education sector. Swapnil is an avid reader and writes articles on technology and leading developments in the education and IT sectors. 

Swapnil is the founder of Splashgain, an Education Technology company from India working on various innovative EdTech platforms for examinations, proctoring solutions, digital admission process and more. Splashgain has been working with many educational institutes and universities for AI-powered innovations and solutions to transform the education sector.

Splashgain has also filed a patent for an innovative product based on AI.