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Page | Last updated: 15 Feb 2023

Diversification of education and learning

New generations and hyperconnectivity are rapidly changing both educational needs and modes of delivery.

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(© Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash)
(© Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash)


A Megatrend is a long-term driving force that is observable now and will continue to have a global impact in years to come

New generations and hyperconnectivity are rapidly changing both educational needs and the way it is delivered. Advancements in cognitive sciences, the availability of information, new pedagogical approaches and an emphasis on lifelong learning are diversifying interests and the ways of learning, as well as access to education. The phrase "I don't know" is becoming increasingly obsolete.

The historical link between education and school-based learning could weaken in the future, with informal and unstructured learning gaining more recognition. This could have both revolutionary as well as disruptive effects on the global education landscape and the intelligence of future generations. Which in turn could well be crucial as an emerging generation with new mindsets face a future shaped by escalating change, ecological and social challenges, alongside accelerating innovation.

This Megatrend is part of the Megatrends Hub



The driving forces of the Megatrend change over time. This timeline indicates more established and newer trends that are influencing the future direction of the Megatrend

Education Megatrend Timeline diagram

They indicate a direction of change in values and needs which is driven by forces and manifests itself already in various ways within certain groups in society. 

Schools in Transformation

Schools are transforming from classes, classrooms and curricula, towards exploring, customization and coaching. To keep up with societal and technological change, schools should already have shifted focus from teaching to learning. This shift will only grow in importance in the future, with a need for new content, different spaces and a variety of ways to learn.

Mixed Realities

In which world do we live and where do we learn? Our world is mixing more and more in all sorts of ways. From the tangible to spiritual, from online to offline, from local to global.

New Learning Agents

The term ‘educator’ has a very specific meaning to most of us, but the term is evolving as the learning ecosystem diversifies, teachers take up new roles and new agents of learning emerge. 

Teach the Future

The 21st century is increasingly complex and uncertain. As the social, technological and political context changes, it is increasingly important for today’s young people to be able to better understand possible futures. Alongside the other skills that they will need, they will need navigation skills to keep up with the pace of change in the new world.


Previously Covered Trends

These are trends that were spotted in the past, and might have grown or faded away in time.


Future Snapshots

A future snapshot shows a plausible image of what might happen in the future in relation to this Megatrend. It is a creation built using knowledge and imagination. These snapshots presented here are excerpts of inspiring future-oriented reports written by other colleagues and organisations.

Schools as learning hubs

"Schools remain, but diversity and experimentation are the norm. Opening the 'school walls' connects schools to their communities, favouring ever-changing forms of learning, civic engagement and social innovation. In this scenario, strong schools retain most of their functions. They continue to look after children and hold activities that structure young people's time, contributing to their cognitive, social, and emotional development. At the same time, more sophisticated and diverse forms of competence recognition in the labour market liberate education and thus schools from excessive pressures of credentialism, potentially reversing current trends towards longer individual school careers."

Other sketched scenarios are: Schooling extended, Education Outsourced, Learn as you go

Back to the Future of Education. Four OECD scenarios for Schooling. OECD (2020)


Diverse learning agent roles

"A diverse set of learning agent roles and activities support rich, relevant, and authentic learning in multiple settings and help ensure that all students have access to high-quality personalized learning. As the learning ecosystem expands and diversifies and the formal K-12 school system no longer dominates the learning landscape, many new learning agent roles emerge to support learning. Some learning agents support students in creating customized learning playlists that reflect their particular interests, goals, and values. Other learning agents help students attain success within their chosen learning experiences. Learning agents operate both inside and outside traditional institutions, collaborating to adapt learning for each child and to support learners in demonstrating mastery. Some learning agent roles resemble the traditional teaching role, while others vary widely."

Other sketched scenarios are: A plastic profession, Take back the classroom, A supplement profession

Forecasting the Future of K12 Teaching. Four scenarios for a decade of disruption. Knowledge works (2014)

Teachers team up with high tech

"Students benefit from a private tutor: an AI-powered tutoring system that delivers material in a learner-centric manner. Augmented reality, virtual reality, and holograms are fully integrated into the classroom. In general, technology makes learning more interactive and personalized, boosting student motivation and achievement. At the same time, teachers maintain an essential role. Besides guiding pupils through their learning experiences, they develop student’s critical thinking, social skills, and emotional intelligence."

The digital frontier: Envisioning future technologies impact on the classroom. Futures, Elsevier (2019)


Further Reading

Want to explore more? Some interesting readings below:

●    Learning and Skills for the Digital Era - EU science hub 
●    European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training – CEDEFOP EU 
●    Education and Training - European Commission 


This Megatrends hub is a repository of foresight related information. It highlights long-term driving forces and its underlying shorter-term trends. This repository can help you understand the changing society in a broad and more systemic way. 

Disclaimer: this repository is by no means comprehensive and apart from established scientific knowledge contains also issues which are subject to scientific debate and where research is ongoing or only starting to give the reader some insights and ways to further explore the topics in more depth.