As we usher in the new year, educators and industry leaders are eagerly anticipating the top education trends for 2024. The education industry has witnessed a rapid evolution in recent years, marked by new ideas and emerging technologies. In 2024, this momentum will continue, bringing forth new edtech, innovative teaching approaches, and inspiring learning spaces.
This year, schools are directing their energy towards supporting teacher well-being and reengaging students through innovative learning spaces and edtech. Consequently, we will see a shift in how edtech enhances learning and how schools support teachers, as well as a renewed focus on accessibility, social emotional learning, and individualized approaches to learning that improve student outcomes.
Here are five of the biggest education trends in 2024:
1. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been on the rise throughout 2023 as generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT have become widely accessible. In 2024, AI will become even more prevalent in the educational space, prompting changes in school policies and encouraging educators to find new ways to embrace this rapidly developing technology.
As students build familiarity with generative AI, teachers will need to explore diverse ways to adopt this technology in the classroom. Encouraging the use of AI to support tutoring efforts, act as a creative aid, and assist research and planning will be crucial in helping students learn to utilize the technology in a way that is both productive and ethical.
Additionally, 2024 will be the year that schools and educators formally integrate AI as an educational tool, leading to AI professional development and the creation of AI school policies. Schools will need to incorporate language and policies about AI into their school codes and practices to discourage cheating and unethical usage of these technologies. Professional development will act as a valuable support for teachers as they navigate AI tools and ethics in their classroom. With comprehensive PD, teachers can learn how to utilize AI to ease their own workload, while simultaneously building familiarity with AI technologies to support ethical student usage.
2. Supporting teachers
Recognizing the critical role educators play in shaping the future, educational institutions are increasingly prioritizing teacher well-being to address the pervasive issue of teacher burnout. In 2024, schools will make a concerted effort to retain talented educators by fostering environments that support their mental health and uplift them professionally. Educators play a pivotal role in shaping the future, so prioritizing teacher well-being is a critical issue that not only impacts educators individually but also will help to improve the quality of education that students receive.
This year, schools and districts will invest in comprehensive strategies to alleviate the factors that contribute to teacher burnout. This includes initiatives such as professional development programs, reducing administrative burdens, and improving work-life balance. Educational institutions must make systemic changes to address the burnout teachers experience, which can be accomplished by listening to educators and creating responsive policies that prioritize teacher wellbeing.
With this in mind, educational leaders are also redesigning school spaces to create environments that better cater to teacher needs. Improved educator spaces foster collaboration, creativity, and a sense of community. Plus, these spaces offer a place for teachers to decompress and recharge, providing a better working environment and improving teacher wellbeing.
3. Vibrant and engaging learning spaces
In a departure from traditional classroom design, schools are moving away from neutral color schemes in learning spaces. The trend now leans towards vibrant and colorful environments filled with pattern and texture. These lively spaces have a profound impact on student mood and behavior, fostering motivation and wellbeing.
In 2024, schools will utilize more vibrant design ideas to cultivate an environment where creativity thrives, and students feel engaged and energetic. The 2024 Pantone Color of the Year, Peach Fuzz, is a step in this direction, bridging the gap between neutrals and vibrant colors. As the year progresses and we prepare to enter the second half of the decade, we are sure to see more warm, bright, and energetic colors like Peach Fuzz in the design of classrooms and other learning spaces.
With all of the shifts that have happened in education since the pandemic, it’s critical that schools focus on creating fresh learning environments. Through vibrant design, schools can revive the perception of learning spaces and create spaces that make students and educators comfortable, invoke inspiration, promote collaboration, and infuse energy into learning. Plus, learning spaces that are more visually-stimulating offer benefits to students who have differing sensory needs, helping them to stay engaged and content in the classroom.
4. Accessibility and equity
While equity has been at the forefront of education trends for many years, 2024 will center on fostering equity through enhanced accessibility. Recognizing the diversity of students’ needs, schools will take more proactive measures to create more inclusive learning environments. To accomplish this, educational institutions are prioritizing the removal of a variety of educational barriers to ensure equitable opportunities for every student. This trend reflects a commitment to recognizing and valuing the diversity of students, ensuring that every learner, regardless of their circumstances, has an equal opportunity to thrive academically and personally.
To enhance equity and promote accessibility, schools are implementing new technologies and innovative teaching methods to cater to diverse learning styles and abilities. 2024 will bring a new mindset towards equity and accessibility, as educational institutions and leaders acknowledge that accessibility is not only a legal requirement but also a fundamental aspect of providing quality education. From adaptive edtech to inclusive learning space designs, the focus is on accommodating the unique needs of each student. Moreover, educators are receiving specialized training to better understand and address the challenges faced by diverse learners, fostering an atmosphere of understanding and support.
5. Nontraditional learning models: Microschools, microlearning, game-based learning, and more!
Several nontraditional learning models have emerged over the past few years, but we predict that 2024 will see a significant shift as more learners than ever commit to these unconventional learning approaches. Students and teachers alike are seeking alternatives to the traditional lecture- and test-based approach that has predominantly been used in schools for decades. Instead, new educational methods focus on innovation, collaboration, and the use of technology to engage students and improve learning outcomes. From microschools and online learning to microlearning and gamification, 2024 is going to be the year of nontraditional learning models.
In our 2023 trend forecast, we noted that both game-based learning (gamification) and microlearning were set to be big trends for the year. These learning approaches gained a lot of traction in 2023, and in 2024 they will continue to expand through the use of improved technologies and methods. As game-based learning has grown, so has student interest in extracurricular esports opportunities. In response to this, schools will continue to invest in the creation of esports programs and spaces to empower their students to succeed in this extracurricular. Additionally, we expect for schools to design more multi-use spaces in media centers to act as both creation and viewing spaces for digital and video content, such as the short-form content used for microlearning.
In combination with online and blended learning, microschools have taken hold in the alternative education space, and we expect 2024 to be a big year of expansion for this learning approach. With these learning centers, families are able to send their children to an adapted learning environment that combines various personalized educational approaches from homeschooling, online schools, private schools, and charter schools along with innovative learning space design in small spaces. These schools offer a wide range of opportunities for supporting student learning, encouraging self-led, blended, active and personalized forms of learning that go beyond traditional public or private school approaches. Because microschools are still so new, we expect 2024 to usher in significant developments to the frameworks of these schools and the policies that guide them.
We look forward to watching new trends unfold in 2024, revolutionizing education and transforming learning spaces.