The education sector was shaken by COVID-19 allowing new trends to emerge. Which emerging trends will take over in 2021?

Gap Year Students On The Rise

In 2020, many students chose to take a gap year before going to college and this year industry experts believe a similar trend may be seen.

Founder of boutique college admissions consulting company Ivy Insight, Dr. Aviva Legatt, predicted in 2021 many students who opt for a gap year will get involved in social and civic activities.

Legatt said activism became apparent in Gen Z students over the past few years with an increasing number of current high school seniors concerned about some of the most critical topics such as gender discrimination and racism.

It is expected that if COVID-related restrictions continue to hamper college admissions, fresh high school graduates will find ways to help in their communities or get involved in events that call for environmental and social change.

Community Colleges Opt For Online Classes

Many universities and high schools worldwide opted for online learning last year to prevent potential COVID-19 transmissions.

This year, it is expected a large number of community colleges will retain online classes as the main learning system owing, in part, to the continuous increases in cases.

Unlike universities that offer three- to four-year and longer courses, some community colleges offering one- and two-year courses have already been moving toward online education.

Experts believe the shift to digital learning solutions won't be difficult for community colleges - as many students have already adapted to virtual learning.

EdTech Craze

Educational technology was a breakthrough industry in 2020 as many schools and universities sought digital solutions to ensure students didn't miss out on lessons.

Industry experts believe the demand for educational technology will continue to rise this year - especially with the arrival of a new coronavirus strain that could force students to stay at home for weeks or even months.

Several educational technology companies have been receiving record investment.

Some companies that have shown promising growth since the pandemic include Canada's Prodigy Education, China's Yuanfudao, India's ByJu's and America's Udemy.

5G In Virtual Learning

5G technology has become a hot topic in the technology industry - but in 2021 it is expected that the effect of this will be felt in the education sector.

During a keynote speech at Monday's opening of the Consumer Electronics Show 2021, Verizon Communications chief executive and chairperson Hans Vestberg - along with Smithsonian Institution secretary Lonnie Buch III - emphasized the importance of 5G technology to students learning digitally.

Faster and more reliable technology is expected to have a significant contribution to online learning - especially with the integration of immersive augmented reality experiences.