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As technology progresses and the Fourth Industrial Revolution begins, society and the professional world are evolving and changing rapidly. These changes are also impacting the educational sphere, resulting in various educational trends that educators must stay up-to-date on to create effective learning environments for their students. Understanding the latest developments and key factors affecting learning will be vital for them to be successful. Here are five education trends that teachers should familiarize themselves with as they prepare to implement these latest developments.

Technological advances in education and instruction

The rapid technological advancements that have occurred over the past two decades have not left the education industry behind. The rise of the internet and computers has drastically changed how students can access and even take classes. In 2017, over 6.5 million students were enrolled in degree-granting institutions’ distance learning programs. The rise of technological capabilities has allowed for the development of various learning-support tools and media. These tools allow students to receive a high-quality education.

The increasing popularity of distance learning programs has presented various advantages and disadvantages for both institutions and teachers. The emergence of online learning programs and technology-based instruction has provided teachers with numerous opportunities to improve their teaching methods, provide their students with the best possible education, and accommodate different learning styles. Many instructors immediately notice the flexibility of their schedules.

Higher education is seeing a major trend in soft skills training

The Future of Jobs report identified various skills needed in the workplace, such as creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. According to the report, employers are looking for individuals who can demonstrate their leadership abilities and knowledge of making hard decisions. Schools must provide the necessary training to help students develop these soft skills to prepare them for their future careers.

Due to the increasing popularity of online learning programs, many teachers are now faced with the challenge of balancing the demands of their students and the time they spend watching TV. Fortunately, the quality formulas that schools use to encourage the development of these soft skills will allow them to expand their market share and improve their alumni success rates. This trend will also help them attract more potential students and grant them a competitive advantage within the field.

Trends among students: shorter attention spans

A study conducted by Microsoft revealed that the increasing prevalence of technology has reduced students’ average attention span. The study revealed that the average student’s attention span decreased by about four seconds between 2000 and 2015. This phenomenon has been attributed to the constant stimulation that technology provides. The reduction in the attention span can be an indicator used to differentiate different generations. For instance, the younger generation, which has grown up with technology at their fingertips, has distinct characteristics from their elders.

According to the study, the younger generation tends to pay attention to engaging content for a longer period than their elders. However, they become the first to switch off the speaker if the content doesn’t engage them. The reduction in students’ attention spans significantly impacts how instructors teach their classes. They need to adapt their methods and course delivery to keep their students engaged. They also need to create lessons designed to catch the students’ attention. One of the most important factors that instructors should consider when creating effective courses is having a strong visual and narrative.

Teaching versus facilitating learning

The rise of technology has also changed how teachers interact with their students. With the availability of a wide variety of information, students can now easily find and analyze a vast amount of knowledge. As technology has advanced, the relationship between teacher and student in the classroom setting has shifted. Thanks to the vast array of resources available, students can now access a wealth of knowledge without relying on traditional lecture-style instruction. This shift has pushed teachers to take on a more facilitative role, helping students understand how to learn, appreciate learning, and interpret the information they find. Their ability to nurture these skills will become apparent as the students go through their lessons.

The increasing emphasis on student development is a rewarding change for teachers. They can now focus on helping their students develop the necessary skills to succeed in their studies. Teachers who learn how to engage modern students are presented with rewarding opportunities for classroom growth. It is important to remember that students have excellent potential to pay attention when the material in front of them is highly visual and engaging.

Life-long learning trend

The changes brought about by each Industrial Revolution have been remarkable, and the 4th Industrial Revolution is predicted to affect up to 50% of jobs due to rapid technological advances. Professionals who wish to stay ahead of the curve must be prepared to re-skill themselves regularly, as the knowledge and skills acquired in the first half of their career may not suffice for the remainder.

Institutions must foster a self-development mindset in students, faculty, and staff alike and create classroom opportunities for teaching self-learning skills for students to stay current and engaged in their chosen fields after earning their degrees. Since these skills can be acquired by schools that focus on these topics, they can also keep in touch with their former students. Through continual learning courses, they can provide their alumni with the necessary support and guidance to keep them engaged in their fields. This allows schools to expand their offerings as they create adult learning programs and new courses to help their alumni succeed in their chosen fields. Due to the technological advancements that have occurred over the years, the way people prepare for their careers has changed dramatically. This is why it is important that educational institutions are constantly updated to keep up with the changes.