By Sahra-Josephine Hjorth
Whether you are a teacher, school administrator, or work in HR, it is crucial to understand the new digital learning trends to help your students and colleagues beat the competition.
When I asked my son Elliott what he wanted for Christmas, there was only one wish: An axolotl. I stared back at him in disbelief. What was he talking about? An Axolotl, he explained, is a real animal he has come to know and love through playing Minecraft. National Geographic describes the Axolotl as follows:
As legend has it, the axolotl is the Aztec god of fire and lightning, Xolotl, which disguised himself as a salamander to avoid being sacrificed. But these Mexican amphibians are impressive enough on their own, with the ability to regenerate lost limbs and stay “young” throughout their lives.
So it’s a salamander of sorts.
In October 2022, NPR reported that it wasn’t until recently, the unknown salamander from Mexico gained extreme popularity, the expert they consult “would attribute about 90% of axolotls’ popularity to Minecraft and TikTok, but mostly Minecraft”! Yikes for all of us parents who are desperately trying to get our hands on one, as they are in scarce demand.
When exploring the biggest learning trends in 2023 games like Minecraft and Roblox cannot be ignored, or the trend they tap into; Collaborative Gaming, which tops my list of learning trends to keep an eye on in 2023. Continue reading for my predictors for next year.
Collaborative gaming is anything from a board game to e-sports. Examples are Model UN, where players simulate countries and positions on topics and the game Fishbowl where players either present arguments or observe and take notes. The point is that players collaborate to solve a common problem or challenge, taking on different roles and positions working towards a common goal and learning important collaboration and strategy skills in the process. Minecraft education have even released a guide for the classroom that teachers can download free of charge here and used for guided collaboration.
players collaborate to solve a common problem or challenge, taking on different roles and positions working towards a common goal and learning important collaboration and strategy skills in the process.
Automated video and text generation
Over the span of the past 5 years, most content has switched from written to video. We prefer to consume video over text, our brain processes images faster and it is generally a more effective tool for driving traffic to websites and it has higher engagement rates. But creating videos for marketing purposes or courses is expensive and time consuming. Not all HR departments or schools specialize in video generation so AI is here to help us out.
Companies like D-ID, Synthesys, and Synthasia are AI video generation companies that specialize in creating video content based on a photo and a written script and many of them are focusing on videos for the learning industry as well. As much as the technology is advancing, it is not yet mature enough to replace videos created by humans, and it still has a “fake” feel, but the incremental improvements in performance are impressive to say the least.
While the generation of video still feels a bit synthetic, the automatic generation of text has been working well for quite some time. We started experimenting with generating automatic unit descriptions more than two years ago and over the past month we have all been blown away by the capabilities of OpenAI’s GPT3 model.
The general use of Artificial Intelligence in Learning
The use of AI is the biggest trend in learning and will continue to be so in 2023. Learning companies leverage AI in very different ways. Some focus on recommendation algorithms to personalize the course taking experience, there is an increase in the use of AI-based chatbots embedded on learning platforms and the more advanced learning systems are playing around with text, video and imagine automation, eliminating some of the most mundane parts of the course creation process. At CanopyLAB our focus has historically been on the teacher or learning designer and really understanding how we can make their job easier using AI. The European Commission released a guide in October 2022 about the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence in education, also targeting teachers and some of the misconceptions they have about AI.
Seamless offline experience
Much like personalization algorithms are inspired by Netflix and Amazon, we predict that the learning industry will borrow another trend here: the seamless offline experience. Learning on the go is only truly possible if content is available when you are offline. This is not just for learners on an airplane or a train with a spotty connection. Lifting the educational level in emerging economies will not be possible before learners can go to a location with internet, download their learning experience and have the content available to them offline for 30 days or more before they have to renew their license – just like we know it from Netflix.
Lifting the educational level in emerging economies will not be possible before learners can go to a location with internet, download their learning experience and have the content available to them offline for 30 days or more
Learning in the Metaverse
I am exploring the Metaverse with a combination of curiosity and reservation. The Metaverse combines technologies such as AR, VR, Blockchain, Tokenomics and AI. You can read more about my reflections related to learning in the Metaverse here.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
SEL is defined as follows: “Social Emotional Learning encompasses five core competencies with which most schools and districts with SEL strategies align. These are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making”. When we look at instructional materials, a strong focus on SEL will remain in the United states: “The analyst has estimated that sales of social-emotional learning (SEL) instructional materials were $1.725 billion for the 2021-2022 school year; representing an increase of 25.9% over the previous year. The analyst has also estimated that year-on-year growth will slow slightly in 2023-2024, but will remain very robust at 22.9%” experts claim. In 2022 we included Mental Health in our course catalog, a decision we are very proud of.
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