Current and emerging trends

In reviewing the NMC Horizon Report 2013 Higher Education Edition – some of the trends outlined over the next 5 years are as follows:

  • MOOCs
  • Gamification
  • Learning Analytics
  • 3D Printing
  • Wearable Technology
  • Tablet Computing

MOOCs or Massively Open Online Courses are expected to increase over the next 12 months. Some universities already offer these courses, free, to participants with costs incurred only if you want to obtain learning credits for the topic. MOOCs open the door to quality life-long learning using the virtual platform.

Gamification takes learning to a fun level, avatars, on-line–real time communities, scenarios in which avatar interaction occurs to problem solve within the community. What a great way to learn anything in a fun and collaborative environment.

Learning analytics is about data mining.  Gathering information on what students think and feel about the content, the materials, the facilitators, or virtual delivery. Taking that data and using it to create a better learning experience.

3D printing is the way of the future – to be able build something using a printer that produces it in a 3D format is next gen. I see this technology being utilized in architectural design or engineering in a major way.

Wearable technology is already here.  We carry out iPods on little clips attached to our clothes and can listen to TED talks or down load sessions from iTunes U anywhere at anytime.

Tablet technology is here – from classroom to office to the restaurant down the road, everyone is carrying a tablet – it is everywhere and visible.

These trends are what Horizon is tracking in the next 12 months to 5 years – exciting times for education.

One topic that has recurred in my research outside the scope of this assignment and that I find relevant at the moment isn’t on the technology side of trends but on the human side: that being–emotional intelligence.

I’ve been asked to lead a team to write and deliver a workshop on stress: how you are perceived under stress, its effects and repercussions.  The session starts with identifying right brain and left brain participants, teaming them up, giving them a stressful situation to work in and then videotaping the interaction.  The group will review what they look like giving instructions under stress, talk about how others may perceive them, and then, as facilitators, we will give them tools on how to prepare before going into a stressful situation, how to reset after and damage control if it all goes horribly wrong.

As part of the toolkit we are providing participants on how to prepare for a stressful situation, is understanding how your emotions drive your actions.  My section is on emotional intelligence and the more I read about it the more interested I become.  Emotions dictate our actions.  What we feel we need or lack drives us to make decisions in a particular fashion or how something makes us feel causes us to react in a particular manner.  In a classroom situation, feelings can dictate how we perform; feeling anxious about an assignment or concept can cause us to procrastinate on completing it, or dissuade us from participating in classroom discussion or conversely, feeling unskilled in a particular area can cause us to either go back to school to learn the skill or not start at all for fear of failure.  Emotions are our driving force.

As a facilitator I think it is extremely important to understand how emotions work inside the classroom. Being emotionally intelligent and understanding how emotions drive your student’s behavior may make or break the experience for both you and the student. Being EI savvy, will ensure a better learning experience for your students if you understand the emotions that underpin their decisions.  As a student, understanding how your emotions drive you and being empathetic to others, can make or break you as a teammate or leader.

Emotional intelligence is gaining more awareness in the learning community. Its importance on how emotions affect learning is becoming more and more prevalent and facilitators are looking to gain more insight into how and what EI is. EI classes are being offered to hone your EI skills and there are numerous EI testing agents and programs out there to assist in gauging your EI quotient.

I believe that as we go forward, more and more emphasis will be placed on understanding how emotions motivate and drive not just learners, but humans in general, in both the workplace and the classroom. If facilitators can understand how our emotions motivate or alternatively, hold a participant back, we have gained a powerful tool to assist our students in bridging the gap and making the connection between the content, the message and their own life experience.


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