What’s in store for 2020?

Image: Tim Savage on Pexel

I love the beginning of a new year. Everything seems fresh. A feeling of relaxation and fun hangs in the air as everyone settles back into work after their summer break. Walking around campus, there is calm and quiet, mixed with signs of preparation for the year ahead.

While our team was getting ready to face a new year, I asked for their predictions on the trends we are likely to see in 2020. Here is what they came up with.

Personalised learning

Personalisation of the learning journey is still on the agenda. At VEDT, we are looking at different streams of interactions and assessments. In 2020, we envisage that students will have more opportunity to choose their own learning pathways through content, and hopefully also through the assessment experience.

3P Learning predict that customised, student-centred and adaptive learning experiences will take centre stage. This involves students being able to select the mediums and lessons based on their interests and needs. The Digital Marketing Institute points out that new tools are deepening the capacity for personalised learning, with artificial intelligence and machine learning offering the ability for content to be responsive and to evolve with the learner.

Learning analytics

Of course, no discussion about personalised learning would be complete without also exploring learning analytics. We see a strong need for meaningful analytics that can help students to track their progress, measure their successes against their own goals and help them to navigate their learning journey.

We see an enthusiasm for blockchain, data literacy and improved student experiences. As such, there will be more information available to assist teaching staff in designing their programs. We collect a range of student data through our LMS about student progress. We have often discussed the use of this information to identify students in trouble (e.g. on the verge of dropping a course). As James Clay points out, “staff and students need to be data literate to enable them to understand and act on that data”.

This year, we predict there will be further work on considering how we present meaningful data to our students and how we use this data to support the learning journey. We also want to delve deeper into using data to inform the learning design process and create a more organic learning journey. This includes ethical implications as well as an in-depth understanding of the needs of our unique students. Further, we predict this year there will be a strong focus on working with teachers to better understand the data they can access and how to act based on that data.

Accessibility and the user experience

Accessibility is a critical consideration for any good design. In 2019, we discussed this topic in depth at one of our panel sessions. In predicting 2020, accessibility was again on our minds, with our team highlighting that this not only involves catering for the different needs of our users, but also translates into content being accessible on multiple devices.


AR/VR has been on the educational agenda for some time now and a lot of great examples of its application for educational use continue to emerge. The VEDT’s first panel series session was on this very topic.

The recent release of all-in-one VR headsets and controllers will have a strong impact. This eliminates the need for high-end computers to run VR, making the technology more accessible to schools. Perhaps not this year, but further down the road, creating more real-world simulations of scenarios/tasks for students to work through will become a much bigger part of what we do. Further, as AR for smartphones and tablets becomes easier and more affordable to produce, these technologies will be increasingly adapted for classroom and educational use.

As both AR and VR become more heavily used in education, we will see a blurring of the line between digital and real life. For example, the use of AR/VR in the classroom to support a lesson. The VEDT were particularly interested in the projection of anatomical images over the bodies of students that Melbourne University showcased last year at Melbourne Knowledge Week. You can re-visit our post on the experience.

RMIT EnGenius
RMIT EnGenius

Focus on pedagogy

The team also predicted a renewed focus on pedagogy. In the last few years we have encountered project proposals that included AR/VR or micro-credentials. When we discuss the application of these with the project stakeholders, it becomes apparent that they were added to show innovation and because they are exciting, with little pedagogy underpinning the decision.

This year we predict (or hope) that pedagogy will drive decisions around the technologies applied to programs and courses. We envisage a stronger focus on determining sound educational strategy prior to selecting technologies or course design tools to fit the need.

We are looking forward to seeing how our predictions come to fruition (or not) over the course of this year. And we look forward to continuing our discussions through our panel series.

Here’s to a great 2020!