City Lit Blog

The trends that shaped a decade: teaching the 2010s

Story added 13th Feb 2020


The internet has given us unprecedented access to information across the world. We have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. Not only do we have access to more information than any generation history, we can have real-time updates on every major event occurring across the world.

Historically, the most impactful events, individuals and trends to emerge in the past have left a lasting legacy on the future and shape how and what we learn about in classrooms in the following years.

With a running commentary of every major occurrence or talking point around the world now at our fingertips, analysing people’s search for information can help us forge an understanding of what we may learn about in history lessons in years to come.

As the UK’s leading adult education institution, understanding how educational will change moving forward is vital. We conducted a recent study, using Google Search Trends data, to reveal the most impactful and publicised events from the last decade in order to predict how history may be taught across the next decade.

The top five were:

1. Charlie Hebdo shooting [The most searched term for ‘Global News’ on Google in 2015]

Perpetrated by Islamic extremists, this shooting resulted in the deaths of 12 people. The tragedy will likely be cited by future academics as an example of the fragility of cultural sensitivities in the 2010s.

2. The 2016 USA election [The most searched term for ‘Global News’ on Google in 2016]

The election of Donald Trump marked a real step change following Barack Obama’s eight-year term as President and will likely be reflected on as a powerful example of divided ideologies in America.

3. Hurricane Irma [The most searched term for ‘Global News’ on Google in 2017]

Hurricane Irma caused widespread destruction throughout the Atlantic region in 2017 and an estimated $77bn of damage.  With Climate Change clearly moving up the news, and political, agenda – the 2010s may well come to be seen as a crucial moment in Climate history.

4. The 2018 FIFA World Cup [The most searched term for ‘Global News’ on Google in 2018]

An estimated 3.5bn tuned in for the 21st edition of the world’s largest sporting event. The cultural and social importance of sport will likely continue to play a key role in understanding the history of the places we live.

5. Game of Thrones [The most searched term for ‘TV shows’ on Google in 2019]

This fantasy series’ finale in 2019 was a true pop culture event. Eight seasons were broadcast across nine years and its popularity will likely define our entertainment habits for generations to come.

With such a broad range of subjects, from natural disasters and tragedies that shook the world, to major sporting events and a universally gripping TV series having such a profound impact on people over the last ten years, it is easy to see how these may have a bearing on future generations. The history of the 2010s looks set to be an exciting period to study.

Perhaps in the future, people may find themselves marrying up their studies of events such as the Charlie Hebdo shooting with understanding the role of the changing climate and the election of Donald Trump.

At City Lit, we pride ourselves on a wide range of educational courses that will continue to adapt and develop with the changing demands and interests of the UK.

To find out more about learning history at City Lit, visit our History, Politics and Economics Courses in London page.


The most popular worldwide Google search for..

[In chronological order]


Consumer Electronic - iPad

Entertainment - Justin Bieber

Falling searches - Swine Flu


Google News - Fukushima 

Entertainment - Rebecca Black

Sports - Mayweather vs. Ortiz boxing


Feature Films - The Hunger Games

People - Whitney Houston

Images - One Direction


Athletes - Oscar Pistorius

People - Nelson Mandela

Events - Boston Marathon


Doodles - World Cup 2014

Searches - Robin Williams

Consumer Electronics - iPhone 6


Global News - Charlie Hebdo

Music artists - Adele

Feature Films - Jurassic Park


Global Sporting Events - Rio Olympics

Global News - US Election

Losses - Prince


Global News - Hurricane Irma

Elections - French Election

Music Artist - Arianna Grande


Global News - World Cup 2018

People - Meghan Markle

Feature Films - Blank Panther


Passings [Karl Lagerfeld [fourth most searched]

TV Shows - Game of Thrones

News - Notre Dame [second most searched]

Data used:

●      2010 -

●      2011 -

●      2012 -

●      2013 -

●      2014 -

●      2015 -

●      2016 -

●      2017 -

●      2018 -

●      2019 -