It is not a surprise that education has been impacted by the pandemic; but aside from overall the Covid negativity, there are a lot of new EdTech trends and opportunities arising in the market.
Many educational institutions are struggling. Parents are striving to help their kids cope with virtual learning experience. However difficult these things are, it was the tipping point the education technology industry needed to gain visibility and prove its value. As a result, the world at large is starting to find out about the benefits and potential of pairing up education with technology, even though the industry has been around for quite some time.
In a recent TechCrunch interview, many education industry leaders and experts shared their thoughts on why this is the right moment for innovative EdTech trends to reshape education for the better. There seem to be many reasons why the industry is generating lots of interest. Both individuals and organizations will benefit from this, and traditional education sectors will have to adapt in order to survive. Since this is a topic we’ll be hearing a lot from in the coming years, I’d like to share some of the most important educational technology trends and opportunities we at Koombea have identified.
At a glance, the main EdTech trends are:
- Age barriers to learning will be torn down.
- Accessibility will play a major role in product development.
- Customers will want personalization and flexibility.
- Gamification will become an industry standard.
- Traditional educational institutions will support hybrid approaches.
- Individual consumer education will become important.
There Is No Right Age to Learn
The most important EdTech trend we’ve been observing at Koombea is the increased potential to involve people of all ages and backgrounds with education. We normally think of education as something that one does at a young age while being in school, or higher education in early adulthood. However, human beings are constantly learning throughout their lives.
Whether for work or mere pleasure, learning is something that people do constantly. Workers are always learning things on their jobs. In our daily lives, there is no age limit to learning things like arts and crafts. Even elders are discovering the value of learning new skills at their age.
By making education accessible to different groups, EdTech is proving that many ideas regarding educational technology are wrong. As more inclusive education solutions appear, the pool of potential EdTech users will become larger.
Increased Access to Education
EdTech has been redefining quality education by making it available to everyone no matter their capabilities. This is possible in part thanks to accessible design and massification of Internet services. Projects like Facebook’s connectivity initiative are helping the Internet reach unconnected places. With greater connectivity comes the possibility to use technological devices in ways that were impossible just a few years ago. Although there is still a lot to do, it seems like this trend will only accelerate in the coming years as more connectivity solutions and communication tools are developed.
Design is also playing a major role in this trend. A significant shift in the design mentality in recent years has been the increased attention on the importance of accessibility. Designing digital products that consider user disabilities has improved the User Experience (UX) for large parts of the population. This is helping many apps reach an audience that was often neglected. In short, outstanding EdTech products will need to have a great UX or run the risk of becoming unattractive to an important market.
Personalized Student experience: Content & Flexibility
Throughout the history of the educational sector, students have usually been restricted to programs designed by others. This has somehow changed in recent years thanks to greater flexibility on behalf of EdTech platforms. Students can now learn about the topics they want, at the pace they want, and wherever they want.
Online learning courses known as MOOCs have been a key element in this flexibilization process. This growing trend has even reached important institutions like MIT, who is betting hard on its online courses. Web platforms like LINCSPRING, a Koombea client, are redefining the ways in which we can personalize our learning process.
Gamification Is Here to Stay
You’ve probably heard this word a lot. We recommend you prepare yourself to hear it even more because it is here to stay. Gamification has established itself as a brilliant way to connect with users and as one of the underlying principles driving EdTech.
Thanks to gamification’s scientifically proven behavioral methods, educational products are helping users engage at a higher level and fulfill their learning goals. This will continue to be very useful to attract users and ensure high course completion rates.
A strong opportunity we have identified with gamification is its potential for increasing learning engagement in all types of businesses. By using it, companies can help their employees learn in more dynamic ways, leaving behind dull educational programs.
Traditional education will not disappear any time soon, but it will have to adapt itself to the industry’s new learning styles, and even traditional school closures. One way in which many traditional educational institutions are adapting is by implementing hybrid learning experiences. These consist of a combination of learning through regular on-site classes paired up with digital learning platforms.
Superb content will become extremely relevant for EdTech products that wish to stand out. Alternatives like The Power MBA have learned to harness this approach successfully; they even brand their educational services as similar to watching a Netflix series.
Consumer Education Takes Off
For many people, there is an erroneous misconception where EdTech seems to be the same as B2B education. Nothing can be farther away from the truth. As the recent pandemic has shown, there is a great interest from individual consumers to acquire technological solutions for their educational needs. This will be particularly interesting for young parents as well as for young professionals who wish to step up their careers.
As opportunities unfold, so do the challenges. The industry will need great educational content, lots of innovation, and a strong technical infrastructure. The future I envision for EdTech combines the best of traditional education and technological innovations to democratize quality education.
No matter the challenges, the important takeaway is that the EdTech map has been drawn.