Where Is Education Heading Next? 3 Major Trends For 2022

Over the past few years, the education industry has been moving towards a higher percentage of online teaching and learning experiences. Most higher education institutions now have a strong eLearning component to their teaching and learning strategy. With the technology in place and courses readily available online, what are the next steps in terms of enhancing the online learning experience?

Consider, for example, how offering students a choice in terms of how they learn (in-person, hybrid, or online) will help retain and engage them. We expect that course design will also play an important part in ensuring student engagement and success, as learners expect better quality eLearning courses that offer digital resources, are interactive and are easy to navigate. In 2022, micro-credentials or a mix between traditional degree-based and skills-based learning will become more evident, as learners combine learning experiences and certifications to become more competitive in the labor market.

This article explores three major trends the industry will experience in 2022. Our findings are based on an interview with Brad Koch, our Head of Strategy (Higher Education), and looks at some of the ways that Open LMS is rising to each challenge.

1. Students Will Expect Convenience and Flexibility

While many institutions were ready for online learning to some degree, the rush towards eLearning exposed issues such as course quality, pedagogy methodology, and equitable access. The latter is a challenge globally, in both developing and developed countries.

While exposing learners to a fully online learning environment might have been challenging at first, there’s a degree of convenience and flexibility that eLearning offers that a large percentage of students will now expect. Simply put, learners now expect a choice between in-person, hybrid, and online. According to a report from educational research body Bay View Analytics, 73% of learners “somewhat” (27%) or “strongly” (46%) agreed they’d like to take some of their courses in a fully-online format in the future. Additionally, for face-to-face courses, 68% of learners said they’d like to see increased use of digital materials or resources.

How Open LMS Can Help

Regardless of course modality, an increase in the availability of digital resources for all courses will now be expected by learners. This is where LMS capabilities and features will come into play. For instance, are digital resources available both online and offline? Will they adapt depending on student bandwidth capabilities? Open LMS enables both options.

Our Personalized Learning Designer is another versatile LMS feature that enables faculty to interact, communicate, and route student activity within a course. By creating events, rules, and conditions, teaching staff can automate tasks per student or cohort, setting in motion personalized touchpoints for learners.

Offering students access to eLearning options and/or digital components to classwork is a trend we’ll see throughout 2022.

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2. You’ll Need Higher-Quality Online Courses

Course quality will be a theme higher education institutions must continue to address throughout 2022. Learners now expect a higher standard of online course design as part of any teaching and learning experience. While some institutions have on-the-ground learning designers assisting in the effective development of online courses, many others have been playing catch up.

Financial resources are a big factor in whether an institution can hire instructional designers. Some institutions have been able to succeed by hiring a strong instructional design team to quickly put together great content for students. Others have had to rely on faculty and just hope they get it ‘right’. But the reality is that educational content has to be properly adapted to eLearning. Otherwise, student engagement and results suffer greatly, as faculty struggle to transfer the in-person learning experience to online successfully.

Moving forward, higher education institutions should be asking themselves the following questions:

  • Are faculty properly supported to deliver online learning?
  • Are they properly trained?
  • Is the necessary technology available to deliver quality online courses at scale?

Now is a good time to start calibrating the online learning experience to meet learner expectations.

How Open LMS Can Help

Through our Open LMS Academy, teaching staff can learn or deepen their knowledge on relevant teaching and learning topics through course modules prepared by our eLearning experts. Course topics include the fundamentals of online teaching, strategy and pedagogy, and eLearning tools to maximize the learning experience for learners.

If hiring a team of designers isn’t within your current capabilities as an institution, perhaps outsourcing your content design needs is the best way to go. At Open LMS, we have an entire award-winning LMS Content Creation team that can support you from start to finish with the design and development of your courses. It might turn out to be more cost-effective than hiring your own experts, and having a team of seasoned professionals will ensure quality and desired outcomes.

Additionally, going forward, institutional branding will be defined just as much by the quality of the online teaching and learning components as by the quality of physical classrooms or campuses.

Scaling capabilities will be an important part of meeting the demand of your eLearning offering. By adopting an LMS partner that can effectively scale as your demand grows, you’ll ensure your eLearning technology can keep up with learners’ needs.

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3. Overlap Between Traditional Degree-Based Learning and Skills-Based Learning

2022 will also see a trend towards mixing traditional degree-based learning and skills-based learning. There will always be learners that seek to pursue the traditional degree-learning programs. However, other cohorts of students will look to complete skills-based learning that allows them to enter the workforce quickly or enable career progression opportunities in a cost-effective and short time period.

Characteristics of degree-based learning:

  • Institution-led
  • More formal and less flexible
  • Largely earned from one institution
  • Bias toward residential or blended learning
  • Most courses delivered by faculty from that institution
  • Typically less specialized
  • Continuing education fills gaps as career grows

Higher education institutions will likely start investing a greater proportion of their budgets into delivering skills-based learning and career development programs that reach a larger cohort of students.

Skills-based learning will have the following characteristics:

  • Learner-led
  • More flexible
  • Competency-based
  • Skills or degrees earned will be from multiple sources
  • The delivery mode will matter less
  • Courses will typically be more specialized
  • Continuing education will fill gaps with career progression

The coming educational landscape will be based on distributed, accountability-based learning, where learners earn proof of competency in different areas. While the outcome of that education may not be a full diploma, a mix of digital badges, a collection of certifications, or micro-credentials will allow students to go from ‘learners to earners’. They’ll be supported by a ‘lifelong learning journey’ mentality that companies are beginning to adopt and credit more.


Additionally, microlearning will offer further opportunities for innovation. These smaller credentials will provide specific skill sets needed for professional development, upskilling and reskilling. How will institutions figure out credit transfer or requirements? How will skills-based learning be ‘rated’? Will certificates on the same topics but from different institutions be worth the same? We’re heading into an interesting future in terms of credential evaluation, management, and distribution. The exact nature of those changes will only be clear as 2022 progresses.

How Open LMS Can Help

The good news is that a strong LMS partner will enable both paths. In fact, over at Open LMS, we have the tech solutions to power both learning modalities through our OPEN LMS EDU and Open LMS WORK offerings.

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Open LMS EDU is an LMS platform suited for eLearning course delivery that is easy to navigate and intuitive for learners. Through reporting and analytics capabilities, a personalized learning designer, and tools to make administrators’ lives easier, it's an open-source market leader for institutions looking to scale.

With Open LMS WORK, institutions can choose to run degree credentials as well as skills-based learning opportunities under one brand. The idea is to shift from the traditional learning path and support organizations and institutions as they make the shift into this new way of earning learning experiences and certifications.

Do you have the technology, content development, and scaling capabilities necessary for 2022? We can help. Reach out to learn more.

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