Education is the foundation of our society. Despite having the reputation for evolving less rapidly than almost any other industry, education is constantly looking at ways to better our schools, school systems and the learning process for children. These gradual enhancements never happen overnight, but there is always progress being made. Kudos to the teachers, principals, administrative staff, parents, students and entrepreneurs who helped education progress in 2014.

Being intimately involved in education and child care, every day I am exposed to the trends that are taking over our schools. There is no doubt that we are heading in the right direction.

Here are the 3 trends that we can expect to see introduced on a more widespread basis throughout our K-12 Education system over the course of 2015.

Please share your thoughts and own views on trends shaping education in the comments below!

1- Skill Based Learning

The notion that children learn better through hands-on experience is far from novel. Dating back to the days when you would spend years being trained as an apprentice, learning from experience has always been considered a more effective tool than books. The best learning comes when you couple the two. However 2015 will feature the emergence of a different type of practical learning, one that is outside the classroom. This learning comes when children volunteer to make a difference, and taking away an experience through it. Effectively walking away from the process with tangible and transferable skills that can help them in their academic studies but also in their social and professional interactions.

One example of this is the KIDSCAN program.

Back in 2012, KIDSCAN was introduced as a way to give children at Laurus Summer Camp a unique and meaningful summer experience. It has since moved into many schools as a program led by the kids. KIDSCAN puts the kids at the helm of the ship and asks them to raise money and awareness for a cause that matters to them. Over several weeks the children formulate a plan, and execute it with little help, if any at all, from their adult superiors. In the end, the children walk away with a true hands-on experience where they learn from their own mistakes and understand the interrelated dynamics of teamwork, project management, passion, organization and fun.

This type of learning is becoming more and more popular in our schools. Though often extra-curricular, the benefits of participating in a hand-on program led by the children can provide lessons that last a lifetime.

2- Age Inappropriate Learning (AIL)

Curriculum has always been designed to be very age specific, as it should. A student who doesn’t know how to count to 100 shouldn’t be learning the fundamentals and applications of gravity. Or should they?

One major shift that we are seeing is the introduction of “age inappropriate learning” (AIL). This is exactly what it sounds like, providing kids with information that is beyond their understanding. By eliminating the walls and confinements set by ridged curriculum, many progressive teachers are now giving students the ability to learn things that have traditionally been considered for those well beyond their years.

One evident example of this is the emergence of elementary robotics programs. Children are being exposed to the advanced and complex technological skills required to program robots that are often competing in school-wide or city-wide competitions.Through AIL, students are more motivated and better able to understand the concepts that are being taught in their classroom. Similarly, they have been exposed to the longer term impact and implications that the learning will have.

Students stop wondering “why” they need to learn something, as they have a better grasp of how complex their interests can actually become.

Look for “AIL” to see a big spike in 2015.

3- 24/7 On-Demand Learning

Gone are the days where learning & schooling was limited to the 4 walls of the classroom. 2015 is poised to be a year full of innovative technological learning advancements. Probably the most evident of these advancements set to explode is private online tutoring.

Private online tutoring gives students the ability to seek academic help whenever they need it, wherever they are, saving money in the process.

Traditionally, tutoring required significant coordination, and was restricted by time and location. Now students are able to get help from top tutors regardless what time of day it is, or where they are located, all at a fraction of what it costs for traditional tutoring.

Though online tutoring is just starting to scratch the surface, many organizations have already begun to offer this service. GradeSlam, the K-12 leader in private online tutoring, recently enhanced its offering to students by introducing on-demand homework help from screened and vetted tutors in every subject.

The same way tutorial videos provided students with ability to learn from pre-made videos 24/7, private online tutoring gives students access to educators able to help this with their specific needs, adding a personal touch to the learning. Most parents, students, teachers and schools are still unaware private online tutoring exists, but watch throughout 2015 as this technology emerges as the popular “go-to” choice for students everywhere.


Philip Cutler is the Founder & CEO of GradeSlam. He is also the the Executive Director of Laurus Summer Camp and City Councillor in Westmount, QC.