The eminent futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once said “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across sectors but has also exacerbated learning gaps, which risks impacting economic outcomes for future generations. In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world battling a climate crisis, disruptive innovations in education will be key to developing leaders who can steer change. Those who fail to adapt risk being left behind.
Fundamentally, the purpose of K-12, university and college education will need to change. Developing a habit of lifelong learning and microlearning will be key to fostering agility and adaptability in students. The rise of 6G networks, AI, XR, AR and neural interfaces will transform how we deliver, adopt, and measure the outcomes of education.
The next wave of high-impact companies may well be in education. "Education as a Service" platforms that enable personalized microlearning could emerge as a robust new sector. While education models like Finland's project-based learning are promising, they have yet to be implemented at scale due to their context-specific nature.
K-12 and university education may need to be reimagined to address challenges like student debt, skills mismatches, and technological change.
Schools of the future may function more as incubators for learning, research and experimentation, as well as crucibles for developing social relationships and networks.
The most resilient education companies could emerge as "unicorns" in this space. Edtech companies may pivot into more immersive learning via AR, XR and a "Netflix model" of high-quality learning content provided through subscription.
The traditional linear path from K-12 to college to work may evolve into a more fluid one, with more opportunities for work-based learning and re-skilling. Learning may become a lifelong pursuit rather than a process that ends with graduation.
Overall, significant innovations in education are on the horizon. Traditional models are poised for disruption to prepare learners for the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. Leaders who can reimagine learning will shape a more adaptable, globally-competitive and future-ready workforce.
The future is here and it is digital.
Think of the possibilities of the 3rd Iteration of the Apple vision Pro and its subsequent variations would be .
We will be going screenless, more immersive and more augmented. Education , its teachers and learners -all must catch up while addressing policy on responsibility, legality, ethics, privacy, consent and intellectual property.