The Top 4 Innovations in STEM Education You’ll See in 2023

Ginelle Testa

To prepare our learners to become the next generation of scientists who will change the world, it’s important to be aware of innovations in the STEM education space.

We’ve identified four that will be popular in 2023. 

1. Hyflex learning

Let’s say you have Ashley, the mom who prefers to take lectures from home because her child is three. Then you have Sam, who does best when he listens to lectures in class, but there’s a video component online so that he can watch it later to solidify his understanding. Lastly, you have Laura, who wants to do the virtual lab at night before doing the physical lab in class to reinforce concepts and be ready for the in-person lab.

This method of learning and teaching is hyflex (hybrid & flexible). It combines asynchronous and synchronous learning as well as in-person and online. 

Of the 2,500 students who participated in Wiley’s “Voice of the Online Learner” 2022 Survey, students showed increasingly positive view of traditional online instruction. 

  • 86% had a positive or very positive view of the modality before the pandemic 
  • Currently 94% have a positive or very positive view

This isn’t to say that physical campuses are becoming obsolete; they are still needed. It’s just that in-person classrooms will have to adapt to modern-day expectations such as hyflex learning.

2. The Growth of Competency-Based Education

The Competancy-Based Education Network released a 2022 report that shared that about 600 institutions – both two- and four-year colleges – offer more than a thousand CBE-based programs, and recent research shows that 82% of institutions expect CBE programs to grow over the next five years. 

Competency-Based Education is about what learners can know and do. They advance at their own pace based on their ability to master a skill or competency. Students have to demonstrate this mastery in their classwork and some examples of activities students can complete are video essays, digital portfolios, and completing science simulations

Competancy-based education centers on the student, focuses on mastery of competancies, based on learning outcomes

It’s beneficial and innovative because it enables students from all backgrounds to participate regardless of professional responsibilities, family obligations, and personal commitments. It’s a flexible approach to education that often works in tandem with the hyflex model. 

3. Virtual labs

Virtual labs or science simulations are a great way to save money and time and give students access to labs they wouldn’t normally be able to use, such as Generation Sequencing. Labster gives students access to a million-dollar laboratory right from their classroom or home. We find that instructors often use Labster as a pre-lab to prepare students, a post-lab to solidify learning, or as a replacement for labs they cannot access.

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A study in Nature Biotechnology found that Labster simulations improve student learning outcomes by 101%.

These immersive experiences have reimagined what schools can offer students, engaged a new generation of STEM learners, and empowered educators to make the most of their teaching time inside and outside the classroom.

4. Machine learning/AI

Don’t worry. We aren’t quite talking about robots taking over teaching your students. You’ll still be needed! However, AI has proven interesting and effective. 

Jill Watson is an AI-enabled virtual teaching assistant introduced by theGeorgia Institute of Technology. She was first created for CS students, but in 2019, she was deployed in an Intro to Biology class.  She takes over burnout-inducing tasks such as responding to student questions about the syllabus. Jill can free up time for overloaded teachers, reduce cost per student, provide learning assistance, and enhance learner engagement. It might be nice to have your own Jill! 

The future is upon us. As AI educational solutions continue to mature, the hope is that AI can help fill needs gaps in learning and teaching and allow schools and teachers to do more than ever before. Especially if we’re considering jobs of the future, AI will replace some repetitive tasks, so it’s great to give students exposure to AI. Questions for consideration

  • Are there any other innovations that you think will happen in 2023?
  • How likely are you to use these four innovations?
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