The Future of Blended Learning

Trends / Realness
Davina Ajana
Mar 7, 2023
Education has shifted over the years, and following the pandemic, it has shifted further into digital learning. Schools, universities and office‑based businesses became a 'blended learning' environment, a term used to describe when a school, educator or student takes more than one approach to the learning process.

In 2022, Getty Images' customer searches for ‘online learning’ have decreased, as people opt for face‑to‑face learning again due to the pandemic. However, popular visual content showed a blend of physical learning environments, including businesses, school sites, and outdoors, with different digital and non‑digital learning tools, indicating that blended learning is the new normal in education. So, how can European brands visualise making learning more engaging and interactive?  
The rise of online learning platforms 
Following the pandemic‑induced shift to remote working, people are increasingly turning to digital learning to develop the skills to navigate today’s constantly developing world of work. According to a report by the online learning platform Coursera, more than 20 million new learners registered for courses in the year—equivalent to total growth in the three years pre‑pandemic.1 Our latest VisualGPS consumer survey shows that 59% of Europeans feel empowered by all the technology available to them, and this is likely one of the reasons why.

In 2022, download patterns by Getty Images customers within the Education sector have shown an interest in technology seen in different environments. For example, physical classrooms with school age students using laptops, university students carrying devices onsite, and educators conducting an employee training lesson while using a large display screen. Visuals that capture the use of digital learning tools tend to be unobtrusive and integrated into the context of the visual.  
Upskilling can look different for everyone 
There are practical motivations people have for learning. Many reasons include experiencing personal self‑growth or achieving financial stability. Learning not only happens within traditional education and career goals, it’s also through continuous upskilling and re‑skilling over a lifetime. VisualGPS consumer survey shows that 52% of Europeans want to establish financial security, while 23% would like to find a job they are happy with, and that goes for people of all ages.

According to the World Economic Forum, 44% of the skills employees need to perform in their roles will have changed by 2025, and 9 in 10 workers will need some form of reskilling.2 ‘Professional development’ searches increased by +25% year on year and ‘upskilling’ increased +82%, showing that our customers are exploring the broader context of an individual’s development, and that shows up in download patterns today, as well. For example, visuals are centered around hard skills e.g., computer programming or soft skills e.g., collaboration within a team within a physical working environment. When representing personal self‑growth for employees, consider incorporating scenarios that demonstrate imagination and self‑confidence within a professional setting.  
Impact on cost of living on learning  
The cost of living crisis is also shaping the future of many students in higher education. Our latest consumer survey shows that 74% of Europeans’ top concern is the cost of living. According to a survey by the Office for National Statistics, 19% of students have considered switching from classroom‑based to remote learning. 4 in 10 say they were studying more at home to save on costs rather than going to campus.3 

Back in 2017, the most‑used images of university life show a traditional environment. For example, students living on campus, attending physical buildings, e.g., classrooms, cultural sites or training centres. At present, we are seeing the reflection of remote learning amongst students, through more visuals showing a broader context of university life: online video sessions with lecturers, studying at home or at a public library. As learning moves beyond the classroom, visuals should be adaptable to different learning environments.  
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