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Teaching trends in the year ahead

From spaced learning to humanistic knowledge-building communities, these are the five areas tipped to transform education in 2019

Shaped by technology, new advances and alternative ways of thinking, the way we learn is changing. Teachingabroaddirect.co.uk has scoured ‘Trends in Learning 2018, a report by the Open University, and identified five trends it says will transform education 2019.

1. Spaced learning

In terms of memory (both short- and long-term) we learn best in a series of short learning sessions. This is the reason why spaced learning is popular. Typically, individuals are encouraged to study for a 20 minute period, followed by a 10 minute break during which the learner will put their learning into practice. The focus is on recall, where the learner will apply their learnt knowledge.

This technique is particularly useful in breaking down technical or uninspiring subject matter into small, manageable pieces. The process of learning, reflection, repetition and application can help people rapidly learn new skills and retain information.

Tip: Gamification is an effective way to introduce the concept of spaced learning

2. Post-truth learning

To combat the fake news epidemic, people are seeking out information reported responsibly and accurately. How do we know what information or sources to trust? The questions we are beginning to ask fall under the umbrella of epistemic cognition, which basically means knowledge about knowledge.

Epistemic cognition refers to knowledge about important, fundamental concerns around objectivity, subjectivity, rationality and, of course, truth. At its root, it is about encouraging people to question, rather than blindly accept, what is fed to them.

This is important in the current world because people get their information from endless sources, be they traditional media, social networks, blogs or apps. It is essential learners begin to take a critical, analytical approach to information gathering.

Tip: Make challenging assumptions a positive in the learning environment

3. Immersive learning

Using innovative technologies – such as augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality – the concept of immersive learning allows individuals to experience realistic scenarios which make for an interactive and memorable learning experience.

Immersive learning is about experience and exploration. It enables people to put into practice existing skills and knowledge in a dynamic environment, while creating a safe space to try out new skills and knowledge. However, due to cost and lack of understanding, implementation is still in its preliminary stages.

Tip: Identify where you think an immersive experience will help individuals to learn most

4. Learner-led analytics

Using algorithms to determine the best, most targeted path for individuals to learn, learner-led analytics are a far more personalised route to learning. By using data to identify goals and ambitions, learners can monitor their own performance and gain a deeper understanding of how and why they learn.

Learner-led analytics is effective in creating a learner engaged and confident in what they are trying to achieve. It can also be used to identify an individual’s key skills and where they may need help and further teaching.

Tip: Be prepared to put learning in the hands of the individual

5. Humanistic knowledge-building communities

Humanistic knowledge-building communities promote the development of knowledge, both individually and collectively. The humanistic element focuses on helping people to be creative, self-directed and open to experience; the knowledge-building element, meanwhile, focuses on enhancing and sharing knowledge.

Research suggests this combined approach will enable learners to develop their knowledge and themselves in a way that is transformative.

In terms of learning, practices such as ‘show your work’ initiatives are a fantastic way to start building your own community and to support and encourage individuals to be visible in sharing what they know.

Tip: Create a nurturing environment to give people the confidence to share what they know