Guidance to STEAM Education in China
Guidance to STEAM Education in China

Guidance to STEAM Education in China

In the 1980s, the National Science Board (NSB) of the United States established and developed STEM education into a national strategy. Around 2014, the concept of STEAM education was introduced into China, triggering an upsurge of interest in STEAM education across the country.

What is STEAM education?

STEAM is the acronym of the five disciplines Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. STEAM education is a comprehensive educational approach that integrates the knowledge in various fields including science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. It emphasizes the integration, diversity and inclusiveness of disciplines and strives to break down the boundaries between disciplines while developing children's ability to identify problems and solve them based on their knowledge in the different disciplines.

Classification of STEAM education

According to the types of courses provided, STEAM education can be divided into the following categories:

1. Scientific literacy

Students are encouraged to learn and explore everyday scenarios through scientific experiments, focusing on scientific literacy. Internationally, scientific literacy is generally believed to comprise: basic understanding of scientific knowledge; basic understanding of scientific research processes and methods; and basic understanding of the impacts of science and technology on individuals and the whole society.

2. Robot programming

With building blocks and robots as core teaching aids, hands-on ability is emphasized. Certain software programming functions may be also provided. This category is mainly about engineering skills.

3. Software programming

Students learn computer languages like graphical programming (Scratch, etc.), Python and C++ through using software. Their computational expertise develops as they learn computer programming languages. This category is mainly about information technology literacy.

Current state of STEAM education in China

Since 2018, the Ministry of Education has expressly proposed "paying constant attention to the impacts of STEAM education, maker Education and other education innovations on primary and secondary school education and curriculum development", "gradually popularizing deep utilization of programming education and other types of education in education and teaching" and "constantly exploring new models of educational development under 'Internet+' conditions" in a number of documents including Highlights of Education Informatization and Cyber Security Work. This demonstrates that Internet-based STEAM education and programming education are a key point of information-based education reform of primary and secondary schools.

This was especially true after the "double reduction" policy released in 2021. On the one hand, STEAM education will become a direction of business transformation for former after-school tutoring companies. This will increase supply quality of STEAM education and drive the development of the industry. On the other hand, the demand for after-school STEAM education services will grow stronger, thus triggering an increase in demand. Supply and demand growth provides fertile soil for the development of STEAM education in China.

According to iResearch's statistics accounting, China's 2021 STEAM education market was worth RMB 42.2 billion, up 35.4% year on year. Judging from the breakdown of market size, the robot programming market still takes the lion's share (61%). In terms of business model, Business to Consumer remains a core market and was worth RMB 39.1 billion in 2021, or 93% of the entire market size.

Key points of online STEAM education

Proceeding from the core features of STEAM education, online STEAM education can secure good teaching results in the following four ways:

1. Diversity

With diverse and interesting teaching content, students are personally motivated to complete learning tasks in abundant and interesting situational settings by applying what they have learned on the basis of everyday scenarios.

2. Project-based

In project-based learning, students perform better in understanding and mastering knowledge points and their role shifts from passive receivers to active explorers of knowledge. Meanwhile, the teachers' role shifts from imparters of knowledge to guides and mentors for students during their learning and development.

3. Interdisciplinary integration

STEAM education, which aims at organic integration of interdisciplinary knowledge, incorporates diversified knowledge and skills in a project situation to comprehensively evaluate students' learning progress with full respect for differences among students. E-learning can leverage all the above advantages and present abundant, diverse learning resources. With adequate guidance, students are able to learn and try new things by making use of learning related resources. Finally, their progress is evaluated through online tests and independently developed programs.

4. Gamification teaching

Interdisciplinary knowledge based gamification teaching. Interactive games based on integration of interdisciplinary knowledge are simple games covering knowledge points in various subjects like science, technology, English and programming. Additionally, teaching games under different themes contain creative elements like different curriculum standards and popular science knowledge to make sure that STEAM education promotes the development of students' overall abilities. More importantly, e-learning calls for higher attention from students who are required to learn with little or no supervision. Gamification of education is a developing approach for increasing learners' motivation and engagement by incorporating game design elements in an educational environment.

Go and check our project case study - TechTrek


  1. 2022 Youth STEAM Education in China - iResearch
  2. Third Lecture on STEAM Education Series: Models and Classification -
  3. With Online Education Giants Eyeing on STEAM Education, is a National STEAM Era Coming? -
  4. The Construction And Exploration of "STEAM+ Programming" Online Education PlatformContemporary Education Research and Teaching Practice (9th issue of 2021)
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