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4 Trends to Watch in Education – 2021 Version

March 17, 2021


As of January 2021, around 214 million kids worldwide were out of school due to the closures caused by COVID-19. For educational systems all around the world, this meant an acceleration of digital learning solutions that could support this new reality.

The rise in the use of applications and hybrid learning platforms has driven new trends that can make use of digital technologies—now and in the future. This article tackles five educational trends that shape the landscape of education in 2021 and beyond. 

#1 Trend: Virtual & Augmented Reality 

The classroom of the future includes advanced technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Actually, students are already engaging with digital technologies like VR to create immersive experiences that go beyond the four walls fo the classroom. 

AR and VR could prove to be extremely useful for:

  • Virtual careers – This offers the students a valuable opportunity to experience what’s like to do different jobs, thus deciding more confidently which career they would like to follow.
  • Field trips – Students are allowed to visit the best galleries, museums, and cities, without leaving the classroom. This type of VR-based experience is especially beneficial for art, geography, and history lessons.
  • Language immersion – Although this one might seem like science-fiction, it is a remarkable way of learning a new language: students are virtually placed in the middle of a virtual world where they only hear the target language. 
  • High-tech training – This type of VR experience is designed especially for military or medicine students, who will be able to perform real-life training with the help of AR and VR. 

#2 Trend: Online Learning 

Perhaps one of the most popular trends in education this year, online schooling was born out of necessity in 2020. Edtech is making this whole concept not only possible but also efficient and reliable. Online learning is cost-effective and flexible, removing the idea of ‘location’, thus providing learning opportunities for a wider range of students. 

The global online education market is projected to reach $247.46 billion by 2024, with an annual growth rate of 18%.

Although the new system of online education seems to extend and deepen their curriculum offering, many are concerned that too many students around the world don’t have access to this kind of learning. Actually, 50% of students worldwide do not have a computer for the distance learning programs brought about by COVID-19.

#3 Trend: Project-based teaching

Through this teaching method, students are actively engaged in real-life projects that have a “learn by doing” kind of approach. By following this type of learning, students are encouraged to investigate and respond to authentic and complex questions.

This approach is estimated to help students develop critical-thinking, collaborations, creativity, and communication skills that will support them in their future career endeavors. 

Popular and useful topics for project-based teaching include:

  • Looking for practical ways to solve environmental issues
  • Getting more accustomed to photography and other types of artistic practices
  • Participating in popular debates on contemporary topics

#4 Trend: Nanolearing

Effective nanolearning in the classroom looks like this:

  • Start by identifying the student’s needs
  • Decide on the primary learning objectives
  • Select the kind of content that is appropriate
  • Keep it short and concise

But what is nanolearning and how can it help students? As the attention span levels are declining rapidly due to the increased use of digital devices, students find it more and more difficult to concentrate and process large amounts of information. 

Here’s where nanolearning might prove to be beneficial. As a bite-sized learning solution, nanolearning allows students to focus on certain information in smaller amounts, in short periods of time. This is proven to boost the student’s ability to retain information, increase their productivity and their capability to learn. 


These growing technological trends in education are transforming the way students learn. Between 2020 and 2024, the US e-learning market is estimated to grow by $72.41 billion. Although online schooling might come with important advantages, some experts predict that, in the long run, there are some downsides to this type of education. We’ll have to wait and see how the development of e-learning will evolve in the future.