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Trends in the education industry to look out for in 2021

Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19

mLearning and eLearning will further grow in popularity The soft skills of creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, and leadership do not go out of date The demand for studying STEM fields is estimated to make up the largest group of students studying abroad

By Ozhan Toktas, Managing Director – Middle East & Africa, Pearson Middle East

With the sudden shift away from the classroom, teaching and learning changed dramatically at an unprecedented speed, and education technology (EdTech) was forced to up its game quickly. 

Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.

There will be even more changes in the future. 

The rise of online learning 

The pandemic has accelerated digital disruption in the 246 billion Dirham ($67 bn) education sector of the GCC region. EdTech is growing at 16.3% and will grow 2.5 times from 2019 to 2025, reaching $404 bn in total global expenditure. 

The benefits of this model of learning far exceed the traditional one. The use of digital materials supplemented with AR/VR software in the classroom, the use of classroom management tools designed to keep students on task, limit distractions, and improve concentration, are all benefits.

For 2021, we believe mLearning and eLearning will further grow in popularity as it helps students learn at their own pace and time and fit with current moves from teacher-led to student-led learning. 

In this approach, when students team up together to work on a project or solve a problem, it helps build their collaborative skills. 

According to the Global Learner Survey 2020, 88% of individuals worldwide believe that education should take advantage of technology to maximize the learning experience for students of all ages.

Nano degree – should you get one?

An exploratory study conducted recently on the skills gap in the market revealed 75% of HR professionals report difficulty recruiting in the past 12 months due to skills gaps in job candidates. 

52% of them say the skills shortage has worsened in the past 2 years, with the gap being most visible in the trades, middle-skilled jobs, and high-skilled STEM jobs. 

To address this gap, business leaders are now looking to invest in skills planning which ensures the skills align with the needs of the workforce. 

HR heads and market specialists are set to revolutionize the world of training and access to cutting-edge jobs on a global scale with Nanodegrees. These 6-12-month extended programs done in collaboration with renowned education partners will allow individuals to build deep enough skillset in a specific area in order to be able to successfully find jobs.

Nanodegree courses will be valuable assets on the CV. 

Career-focused skills  

Today’s generation is inclined to have many jobs and careers through their professional lives, perhaps even at the same time, with the maturing of the gig economy. The soft skills of creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, and leadership do not go out of date and remain in demand by employers. 

The combination of basic knowledge and skills may not require a degree. The future of work will not be about college degrees; it will be about job skills. The time is now to shift our focus from degrees to skills to enable a bigger workforce that represents the diversity of our populations and will help close the all too familiar opportunity and employment gaps.

Demand for international higher education will continue to grow

The global demand for international study would continue along the existing trajectory of about 6% growth per year. Some of the most attractive study destinations would include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US. 

Despite the fact that countries closed their borders to contain the spread of COVID-19, 74% of students are still nurturing their dream to study in a foreign country.

The demand for studying STEM fields is estimated to make up the largest group of students studying abroad by field, followed by business, social science, foreign languages and international studies, and fine and applied arts. 

It has been witnessed from the past models that student mobility has proven surprisingly resilient to shocks, such as the global financial crisis or commodity crashes. In fact, in some cases, and for some groups of students, participation in higher education courses increases at times of economic downturn as individuals see the slowdown in the job market as an opportunity to gain new qualifications.

Upskilling, Reskilling, and Preparing for the Future

The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs Report predicts that by 2022, 75 million jobs across 20 major economies will be displaced by emerging technologies. The same report highlights that 133 million new roles are expected to be created by these very same technological advances.

With employees looking for a sharp growth curve and organizations facing continuous change triggered by ongoing digital transformation, it’s important for companies to rethink learning and development in the workplace.

In the near future, we will be looking at upskilling and reskilling as business models change and technology gains more prominence.

Employees with both hard and soft skills can steer organizational success in the right direction while learning opportunities and on-the-job coaching for career development will become a significant need for the future workforce and an employer branding advantage.