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The Future of Education, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Much of the education of the near future is clearly going to be provided in new and different ways than the education norms of the 20th Century.  Many of the most profound changes will be linked to increasing reliance on computer technology, both in and out of the classroom.  Technology will eventually deliver learning at a speed and level of intensity commensurate with each student’s ability (“adaptive learning”).  While a growing number of students will receive a very significant portion of their educations (and in some cases, all of their schooling) online, a “blended” learning model will be tested, refined and broadly applied—one that mixes computerized teaching tools and online lessons with personal instruction by teachers, mentors and professors.
The flipped classroom idea, pioneered by fans of the Khan Academy, will gain speed.  In this format, students get formalized instruction from online tutorials, often as homework, and then come to the classroom to form teams to discuss and apply what they learned from the tutorials, with guidance and aid from a teacher on an as-needed basis (as opposed to learning in the traditional manner via classroom lectures).  A variation on this theme has been used by the world’s best graduate schools of business for decades, where students plow through case studies of actual business challenges and solutions on their own and then analyze and discuss those case studies in the class room with careful guidance by the professor.
A successful evolution of education is going to require flexibility and cooperation on the part of teachers, administrators, government, students and parents alike, which won’t be easy to achieve.  However, increasingly high costs and increasingly compelling new technologies that can reduce costs should make this bitter pill easier to swallow over the long term.  While the comments above are generally based on education in America, many of them apply to various aspects of education worldwide.  Technologies will eventually enable educational systems around the world to meet many of their direst challenges in a more cost-effective manner.
State-funded universities have been under tremendous financial pressure and have been seeking ways to cut costs while maintaining academic integrity.  At the same time, digital-native students will be ever-more reliant on studying via their laptops and mobile devices, on their own schedules and in locations of their own convenience.  Online courses appear to be well-suited to foster convenience for the students while cutting costs for the schools.  Hybrid online/physical classroom models will no doubt evolve to the degree that they provide good quality along with cost savings.  New methods for honest online exams are being developed.
Advancing technologies will be a tremendous boost to online learning.  The ability to incorporate adaptive learning into MOOCs can have tremendous results by tailoring and timing each course to a student’s individual ability and learning speed.
People who are considering the future of education should be prepared for twists, turns and surprises.  Massive demand for quality education worldwide, combined with the need to control costs and harness the potential of cloud-based computing, mobile devices, ultrafast internet access and artificial intelligence, will lead to unexpected changes and advancements.  For example, Google’s free Google Classroom apps are taking public schools by storm.  One of the biggest surprises of all was that world-class Purdue University, long a leader in fine education with its advanced schools of engineering, science, business and aerospace, acquired the for-profit education business of Kaplan university, picking up 32,000 students in the process.  Kaplan owned a very well-developed online learning platform, and the acquisition enables Purdue to rapidly expand its offerings to remote students, including working adult learners.  The Kaplan campuses have been renamed Purdue Global.

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