The Future of Online Education: 7 Trends to Watch

The world has never been as fast-paced as it is today, and so it’s no surprise that the field of education is moving faster than ever before. Education experts from Assignment Masters say, “Thanks to the internet, physical proximity is no longer a barrier, which is why more and more people are looking to online education.” Meanwhile, new technologies like augmented and virtual reality are making it a more attractive choice than ever. Let’s take a look at just seven of the big trends which are shaping the industry.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality technology is getting more and more accessible, and there are now plenty of rigs on the market that allow you to turn your smartphone into a VR device. When it comes to online education, VR has the potential to change the game for good. Imagine learning history by taking a VR trip to the pyramids, for example. Imagine medical students being able to experience the operating room in a safe environment. What about learning languages by visiting a foreign country and talking to real people in real time via a headset? The possibilities are almost limitless.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality differs from VR in that it takes the world we see around us and adds an extra layer on top of it. For example, you could watch a battle taking place on your tabletop or use it to unlock extra content from a traditional textbook. If the recent success of Pokémon Go is anything to go by, there’s definitely a market for exciting new uses of AR. It’s only a matter of time before the first breakaway AR education app, and it’ll be exciting to see what it looks like when it finally arrives.

Voice Assistants

When we talk about voice assistants, we’re talking about software like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant. Voice assistants are able to understand and process speech and to deliver a response, and as they get more and more sophisticated over time, they’ll be able to play a bigger and bigger part in online education. Imagine just being able to say, ‘Siri, teach me a science lesson.’

360-degree Video

360-degree video is great because it allows students to “look around” and to experience something as though they’re really there. It’s likely that as 360-degree video technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, more and more educators will use it to create content – and much of that will be used by online learners to experience learning in a whole new way.

Online Nonprofit Growth

Online nonprofits – like the Khan Academy – are already huge, but they’ll continue to get bigger and bigger over the years to come. In today’s society, information is a commodity, and there’s no shortage of qualified professionals who are more than happy to share what they know, for free, on the internet. And that’s good news for learners, of course.

Story-based Learning

The convergence of these different technologies, such as 360-degree video and virtual reality, has created an environment in which story-based learning – i.e. lessons that follow the form of a story rather than a straightforward lecture – is likely to become the new norm. If you can experience the Second World War in virtual reality, you might as well engage with the subject by following a series of missions for an army sergeant instead of just standing there and listening to a boring voiceover reeling off a set of facts and statistics.

Subject Matter Diversification

As more and more learning moves online, the number of subjects available will exponentially increase as educators specialize in different niches. Instead of plain old history teachers, we’ll have military history teachers, Russian history teachers and people who specialize in local history and other topics. This diversification will happen across the board in all sorts of traditional and non-traditional subjects, and it will also cover all education levels. That means there’ll be just as much information out there for first-graders as there will be for post-graduates.


The great thing about new technologies and the relentless pace of innovation is that we can all reap the rewards, and this is especially true when it comes to online education. While some of the trends on this list require additional hardware, most of them can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone.

That’s especially important when it comes to helping to educate the developing world – after all, many people are connecting to the internet for the first time using a smartphone. But no matter where you’re learning from, it’s pretty clear that the field of online education will only continue to gain momentum for the years to come. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

Author’s bio

Rosemary Barr is a teacher, educator and highly motivated person. Her belief in life is that anybody can succeed. Thus, she helps her readers make the best out of their skills. She is a successful freelance writer and a great contributor to society.