The future of learning

A young male cycling past a busy street, people are blurred in the background.

Cycling into the future. (Photo by snapwire on Pexels)

Learning can take place pretty much anywhere. Our five senses are always on alert, the brain is always creating new neural networks to store new experiences. In this fast-paced world, innovators are looking for ways to make use of technology in education. The future is as predictable as it is unpredictable, news is fast becoming old, and it seems that radical change is on its way to revolutionise education… but will it? 

The Gartner hype cycle (2019) describes the maturity of specific technologies through graphical representation. The different phases of new technology are characterised by their impact. There are five phases: 

  1. Technology trigger
  2. Peak of inflated expectations 
  3. Trough of disillusionment
  4. Slope of enlightenment
  5. Plateau of productivity

Although the theory is not based on scientific research, it is a way to understand why technology doesn’t live up to its promises. So, what is the best way to predict the use of technology in education? 

Rebecca Ferguson (2019) states that ‘The innovations that grab the headlines, though, are typically the ones that are rooted in technology, rather than the ones that make innovative use of pedagogy.’ Let’s consider an example, interactive whiteboards at one point were all the rage. These days though, they are shunned:

‘Replacing blackboards with interactive whiteboards was a waste of money which did not help pupils’ learning, the Education Secretary has said.’ (The Telegraph, 2018)


There are numerous examples where the technology disappeared as soon as it became old or unfashionable. Can you think of more instances? 

For ideas on how to make innovative use of pedagogy in technology, look at this table:

A table with headlines: Learning method and Learners and Using technology, learners....

Rebecca continues to say that pedagogy developed by educational scientists is rooted in research on how memory works, how skills are developed and how humans make sense of the world. This understanding helps to support teaching and learning in the classroom or a related environment, while not rooted in technology, the pedagogy can be applied to it to widen the applications of each method. 

Last modified: Monday, 1 March 2021, 1:09 PM