How has technology changed education?

January 17, 2023 · 6 min read · By ASU Online
Technology has transformed education, and educators and learners are embracing sophisticated instructional hardware and software. Read on to learn about the innovative ways technology is being used to educate in the classroom, boardroom and beyond.

Technological advancements hold significant implications for teachers, instructors, administrators and other professionals navigating education and learning design, where technological expertise is rising as a foundational competency across all industries. If you’re among the many working in these roles, you likely have access to numerous training resources that can help you get the insight needed to harness the benefits of technology in education and find career success.

Additionally, an advanced degree, such as a Master of Education in learning design and technologies, allows you to not only engage with modern technological innovations but also explore core instructional ideas in depth. This makes it possible to cultivate the theoretical knowledge you need to adapt and deploy foundational learning principles.


Understanding the importance of technology in K-12 education

The first computer labs appeared during the 1980s as personal computing technology became more affordable and easier to use. By 2019, 53% of K-12 public school teachers reported that their students use digital learning tools every day to learn, according to a report by Gallup and NewSchools. But how exactly are learners taking advantage of these digital tools?

A number of students use learning management solutions, which allow them to submit assignments, collaborate with peers or teachers and access key instructional materials online. Others engage with technology through gamified digital learning experiences that make hard subjects more palatable. And it’s been reported that more than one-third of American high schools offer coding courses.

Teachers have taken to technology too, leveraging document and file-sharing programs and other online tools to plan lessons, collaborate with colleagues and connect with their students. According to a 2020 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, just 10% of U.S. K-12 teachers feel they’re prepared to teach lessons addressing higher-level technological skills. The same report found that 79% of teachers say they’d like to receive more professional development for technology-related subjects.

These changes make obtaining an advanced degree in learning design and technologies critical for professionals looking to succeed in K-12 education. These degrees give you the opportunity to learn about the most recent digital innovations and create effective instructional programs that center on these items. With this expertise, you can pursue traditional teaching roles or explore support positions such as technology coordinator or learning management software (LMS) administrator.


Mapping technology in higher education

Higher education experienced a technological renaissance similar to the one that unfolded in the K-12 arena. LMS platforms and online portfolios started to see significant usage on college campuses during the middle and late 2000s. These and other tools have since solidified the importance of technology in education for college students, as studies have shown the vast majority of them believe digital access saves them time and improves their learning experience.

This evolution is expected to continue as more members of Generation Z graduate high school and start college courses. These individuals are digital natives, meaning technology has been and always will be part of their daily lives. Consequently, Gen Zers tend to have high technological expectations and exacting hardware and software standards. These students want colleges to support advanced consumer innovations, such as artificial intelligence-powered smart speakers, or incorporate augmented and virtual reality tools into instruction, EdSurge found.

The emergence of distance and blending learning strategies also has an impact on technology in higher education. In 2020, 74% of American college students took at least one online course, while another 15% of students attended primarily online colleges that take place on digital learning platforms, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

These and other examples of innovation in the classroom are forcing university instructors and administrators to engage with technology on a deeper level. Even the IT personnel who support higher education activities are revisiting their qualifications with the emergence of new instructional tools. The disruptive classroom technologies that act as a framework for innovation in education have catalyzed a number of new roles — most notably, the instructional designer position.


Exploring learning innovation in the corporate space

Education has long enriched corporate operations, as distributing industry best practices and preserving institutional knowledge are key to success. Training programs facilitate this knowledge exchange. For decades, organizations leaned on traditional instructional methods, most of which involved internal or external subject matter experts offering insights in person. However, due to widespread technological advancement, this approach has changed in recent years.

More than one-third of American workers want self-paced training programs delivered via online channels, per a LinkedIn Learning report from 2019. This is why, as of 2019, 43% of U.S. companies were offering digital learning tools meant to meet this demand. Moreover, these initiatives, which include everything from gamified mobile experiences to augmented reality (AR)- or virtual reality (VR)-centered simulators, require immense investment. In fact, American organizations spent more than $87 billion on training in 2018, one report from Training magazine revealed.

Online learning experts and instructional designers are essential here, overseeing the creation of cutting-edge instructional workflows that engage workers and ultimately lay the groundwork for sustainable business growth by tapping into the benefits of technology in education. This is why the demand for these roles is growing quickly, according to analysts for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who found that job openings for training and development specialists are expected to increase 8% annually between 2021 and 2031. Industry leaders such as Airbnb and Apple are hiring these education experts to develop and deploy training programs that boost productivity and revenue. Both organizations leverage learning designers to create and maintain internal universities dedicated to upskilling employees.


Earn your online master's in learning design and technology from Arizona State University

ASU Online's Master of Education in learning design and technologies is ranked #4 in online master’s in instructional media programs by U.S. News & World Report, 2022.

This fully online degree gives you the opportunity to engage with key learning theories and explore the foundations of learning design. The program also covers advanced issues such as emerging technology, learning system evaluation and online course delivery. The degree closes with an applied research project, where students apply the insights they’ve gained in class to real-world education problems.

Exploratory degree tracks: An option for undecided students

ASU Online’s exploratory degree tracks give students undecided on a major the ability to begin classes while getting the time and assistance they need to choose the degree that's right for them.


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