An International Student Perspective on the Future of Learning

Topics: Future of Learning

Throughout the past year or so, I’ve been talking with students about the future of learning. For this post, I interviewed Kelli Hamill, a student from Ontario, Canada, who is finishing up high school this spring. Next year, she will head to university to study psychology. She shares her insightful perspective on the future of learning.

When you think about the future of learning, what makes you excited?

Thinking of the future of education makes me extremely excited for countless reasons. There is so much potential for both the education system and students in the future. Students should not dread school as much as we do today. I believe that if the education system was remodeled, we would see more positive impacts on all students. Change is scary to everyone, but we can only go up from here. Once the changes are made, everyone will realize how needed they actually were. Until then…

From a current student’s perspective, what do you find the most troubling about the future of learning?

The most troubling aspect of the education system is belittlement. It saddens me that some students have felt stupid their whole lives because of schooling. Once a student discovers their areas of interest, it can spark a flame that will stay lit throughout their whole life. The problem with that is that both the teachers and students who think that certain subjects are superior, and choose to belittle students who aren’t always successful. Personally, I had one teacher that had such a negative impact on me that I felt like giving up completely, yet thankfully I chose not to. High school is hard enough trying to find yourself and recognize your future goals, the last thing students need is an authoritative figure putting you down.

What do you feel is the biggest uncertainty to the future of learning?

I think that the scariest thing about the future of education is the fear that there won’t be any changes at all. When I began my personal research, I contemplated why I was the only one who felt this way and wants a change. But in society, conformity is so important. Nobody wants to be different – yet we are. More importantly, the realization that most students are not even aware that there is a need for change. Raising awareness is our best chance, which was one of my goals as I conducted forty surveys throughout my own high school.

How do you think different value sets might change education in the future?

Every generation has experienced different educations and teachings with the way that school has evolved little by little. Though the base of schooling is the same, there are smaller details that have changed, such as technological differences. My parents have had a completely different education and still have good careers, yet it is so unlike the millennial generation. A university degree previously guaranteed you employment, but now it means close to nothing. Competition for university and programs are strict, and requirements become harder and harder each year. We do not prioritize extracurricular activities to the same extent as previous generations, which diminishes the creativity in children development.

What does “personalized learning” mean to you?

To me, personalized learning means accepting the differences between students’ learning needs. Everybody has diverse strengths and weaknesses so one education system will not work for everyone. It never has worked for everyone. The frustrating part is the students who are alienated for being different, they are the ones who suffer.

I did a survey of 40 grade-twelve students, and a slim 30 percent were aware of the Multiple Intelligences Theory. The Multiple Intelligences Theory, founded by Howard Gardner, focuses on eight different learning theories that play a leading factor in comprehension. The education system only caters to one type of learner, so what about the rest of us?

What will personalized learning be like in the future?

In the future, personalized learning will be very open for all students. Education means something different to every student, so we should never be compared to one another. We all have our goals in life, so there should be individualized learning outlines for every student to ensure the objectives are met.

Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid,” describing our education system perfectly. Personalized learning would be creating a separate plan for a fish and a separate plan for monkey, one that caters to their skills and does not concentrate on one in particular.

What is your own vision for the future of learning?

My dream for the future of education is individualization and acceptance. I believe differentiation between students is extremely important when it pertains to learning. I am fully aware that our education system will never be perfect but it can be so much better for everyone.

Are you interested in discussing your thoughts about the future of education? Let us know in the comments below! Jason is always looking for students to talk to about #FutureEd.