The year 2020 will be unlike any other in recent memory in terms of global education upheaval. COVID-19 generated a slew of issues, but it also provided new opportunities and paved the way for educational innovation.

The silver lining in this upheaval is that we did not follow the "dogmas of the past" as a sector. Instead, the whole education industry banded together to think and act differently. School leaders, administrators, and instructors all stepped up to the plate and responded to the situation.

Innovative approaches and distance learning solutions were thought of and implemented like never before. Practices, which were previously considered impossible have now become possible due to the quick and concerted efforts by educationists who seized the opportunity to find new ways to make learning possible and managing to keep children and parents positively motivated and engaged all through the year.

As we look back at this turbulent year, it’s now time to look forward and focus on the trends that will shape the future of education. This pandemic has given the education sector a golden opportunity to pilot changes that would have otherwise taken many more years to implement.

Let’s take a look at some of the emerging trends which will shape education in the year 2021

Education technology

Digital platforms came to the rescue as schools migrated to online learning as the new way of teaching-learning due to the pandemic.

A combination of synchronous and asynchronous methodologies using digital platforms and video-assisted learning has made online learning fun and collaborative for learners faced with challenging times and this trend is likely to continue ruling in 2021.

Personalised learning

Due to remote learning, students are now learning individually. This has led to increased instances of personalized learning allowing educators to customize and personalize learning basis the needs of each student.

Hybrid schooling

With countries deciding to open schools in a phased manner, the possibility of Hybrid Schooling seems to be an option that most schools across the globe are likely to opt for.

Hybrid schooling provides an opportunity to strike a balance between online learning and traditional classroom learning, thus making it more interesting and innovative. This fast-growing trend in education seems to be in tandem with the evolving situation across the globe.

Project-based learning

For those schools that value and promote Project Based Learning (PBL), increased use of Edtech tools due to remote learning has provided the right platform for children to collaborate and work on projects in a group. It gave an opportunity to students to stay connected with each other and helped the teachers to facilitate curriculum delivery in a meaningful manner.

Although 2021 will see schools opening physically, flipped classroom methodology will come in handy in imparting PBL wherein the students work individually on a project and then brainstorm and ideate either in small groups in a classroom or during online learning.

Presenting the projects to brainstorm by using technology while working on the projects remotely, will make the entire teaching-learning process interactive and more meaningful.

Professional development of teachers

COVID -19 saw teachers stepping up their game and adapting to newer ways of imparting education by embracing technology. The learning curve has been pretty steep for teachers across the globe.

They have worked creatively, coming up with solutions to ensure that “Learning Never Stops”. Although they have done a marvelous job, they will need to be supported with a sound understanding of technology and its wide range to plug in the gaps that have been identified during the remote learning year of 2020.

COVID -19 crisis has stirred transformation in the education system and this is just the beginning.

(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in India Today. The original article can be found at https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/5-things-to-expect-from-education-sector-in-2021-1766261-2021-02-05)