Four ways the Australian education industry is changing - and how to keep up

What's in and what's out for the future of teaching and training.

Education and training is a fast-growing industry in Australia, and is expected to grow 11 per cent in the next five years. It’s also one of the fastest-changing, with new and varied technologies and skills practised all over the country. Sixty-five per cent of the education workforce currently holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, and that number is not expected to drop. The University of Melbourne’s education faculty is one of the best in the country, offering students up-to-the-minute knowledge of how the industry has evolved and where it’s headed. Here’s what to keep track of.

Connection and cohabitation

The physical classroom has evolved dramatically in the last century. Students rarely sit one-by-one, desk-by-desk, watching the teacher at the front. Now teachers need to prepare for a shared learning space, with students as their own learning co-directors.

The student-teacher dynamic is becoming increasingly collaborative and symbiotic, with growing partiality towards online and interactive learning. The classroom has evolved beyond a physical space and beyond set teaching times, allowing students and teachers to connect anytime, anywhere.

Technology altering the DNA of learning

Skills and jobs are changing, and so are society’s requirements - educators must be able to adapt. While it was once imperative to be Dewey Decimal literate, the languages these days are social media, search engine optimisation, analytics, webinars, forums, online modules, blogs, videos, podcasts and virtual classrooms.

From the Duolingo app for languages, to Soundfly for music, and even numerous YouTube tutorials, self-guided tools give people the power to learn as much or as little as they like, at the pace they like. These new technologies have the potential to disrupt traditional education structures. As the demand for free online learning tools grows, so too does the expectation of affordability and flexibility. The onus falls to teachers and organisations to promote the quality of their curated expertise over that of free digital algorithms.

Teacher with kids in a classroom.

Our ageing population and lifelong learning

An ageing population means longer working lives and an increased need for upskilling and retraining. Graduate certificates, diplomas, specialised degrees and seeking career guidance are forecast to become more mainstream and frequent among the working population.

Digitisation of the jobs market

The jobs market is evolving faster than ever. A University of Melbourne survey found that, through cost-saving strategies, contract, temporary and part-time employment opportunities are increasing across the global sector.

Educators’ incomes and working conditions are becoming less stable and less structured, and it is becoming more and more common to hold down two, three or four jobs concurrently. Therefore, it’s never been more critical for educators to stand out. In a highly competitive market, employers are looking for post-graduate qualifications, varied experiences, broad skillsets and technological proficiency, beyond a bachelor’s degree.

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