The global pandemic forced us to entirely re-think our models for educational content and delivery. Often instruction could be dramatically improved by having a high quality teacher in the physical classroom. This is often why you can see very different outcomes for students who are going through an educational program. With technology, there is a massive desire for scale and standardization. Using the internet as a delivery mechanism forces education providers to find out the friction within their systems and remove it.
Standardized Curriculum & Progression
Going forward, we can expect to see very well defined curriculum and progressions. This will allow parents and students to fully understand up front what students will be expected to learn and the path for how they will get there. This standardization will increase the ability to distribute high quality instruction to a larger group of people. Often, we have seen pockets of innovation in well funded schools that can create distinct competitive advantages over time. Within the next decade, this advantage will precipitously erode.
For many years, the holy grail of education has been mass personalization. The idea behind mass personalization is that everyone is able to to maximize their individual potential by the system understanding their strengths and weakness and then utilizing this information to strategically reinforce strong points and shore up areas that are not so great. The pandemic has finally forced education technology platforms to implement this functionality. And, the next generation of students will be much better because of it. As the artificial intelligence algorithms and the underlying data sets improve, you are going to see a much more measured focus on outcomes. Instead of grades, parents and students will demand to know if they are both learning how to learn and able to successfully apply their knowledge to problems.
Instructor Ratings & Evaluations
Evaluation educators has always been somewhat of a challenge. While school administrators often conduct performance reviews, that is often not visible to parents. However, the same web-based rating system that has been utilized for consumer products will begin to migrate over to instructors. This will allow market feedback to give insight into who are the quality instructors. Those who have positive reviews both historically and recently will attract a larger and larger quantity of students. In fact, in the not too distant future, quality instructors will be able to generate higher earnings by delivering their content online that they could ever make in the classroom. In the short term, this will be challenging for school districts for retaining their top instructors. However, over time, the compensation for instructors will increase as the marketplace becomes not just a competition between school districts but also between platforms (in school vs. online).
While it might seem like the past year has forced us to decide between in-person and remote learning, the reality is that underneath the entire foundation of the education infrastructure was been disrupted. The inherent desire of technology to scale forced education to become more efficient along numerous dimensions. These improvements are not going to go away once we return to in-person instruction. In fact, many of the inventions and innovations are going to accelerate. The next decade is going to be an extremely exciting time for education. And, the future generation of problem solvers is going to be well prepared to lead into a brighter tomorrow.