The education sector is poised for growth with institutes and learners acknowledging the importance of a holistic learning environment worldwide. There is an increased focus on enhancing the digital infrastructure with around 3% of total global education expenditure now being dedicated entirely toward fortifying it.
The global EdTech and smart classroom market which was worth USD 88.82 billion in 2021 is now projected to reach USD 319.65 billion by 2029 at a CAGR of 17.8% during the forecast period.
The evolving role of technology in education
EdTech companies have been revolutionizing the learning space for quite some time now making it engaging and enjoyable. The combined use of multi devices, software, emerging theories, and modern technologies will continue to expand its scope globally. As such, its role is all-encompassing when it comes to learning.
- EdTech’s ability to go beyond physical classrooms and conventional learning has helped students learn seamlessly even during the pandemic.
- EdTech also helps enable extracurricular collaborative learning and autonomous online learning.
- EdTech supports self-paced learning allowing students to learn and explore anything they want virtually.
- Thanks to data analytics, adaptive learning has started becoming main stream. It uses algorithms to deliver lessons that are aligned to a learner’s interests and pace.
It ensures students’ engagement with different courses online and studies the way they learn and interact in the physical world (for instance, how often a student visits a library, their classroom attendance, etc). The learning system then tweaks the learning path based on the interactions and outcomes determined from the analysis of data points.
EdTech saves the day
As per a 2021 CHLOE report, there has been a 10-15% increase in online professional development and student orientation online study to address the needs of formerly in-person faculty and students due to the pandemic.
More than half of the survey respondents confessed that the pandemic had led them to a positive reassessment of institutional priorities pertaining to online learning.
- The demand for accessibility tools went from 42 percent to 52 percent while video recording and distribution tools rose from 44 percent in 2019 to about 60 percent in 2021.
- There was a marked improvement in demand for other tools and technologies too as compared to 2019.
- Open educational resources rose from 15 percent to 25 percent, virtual labs and simulations went up from 11 percent to 28 percent, and student support tools (such as retention tools) saw more than double adoption rate i.e. from 11 percent to 28 percent.
- Learning management systems, on the other hand, are expected to witness a 96 percent mainstream adoption.
While there are trends shaping the learning curve there are challenges too that needs to be addressed on priority. We aim to delve into both to leverage the technology sweet spot.
- Virtual Schooling
Virtual schools are now a rage; a classic case in point is the Florida Virtual School that allows students to even pick the dates when they would like to start so as to complete their course by a certain date. They also allow students to choose when they would like to learn and how. While some students may prefer learning at night using laptops, others may choose to learn during the day using their phones.Personalized learning is the norm now and customized instructions are being offered to students. Yet there are teachers to guide and provide solutions just the way they would in a regular classroom setting. Students can connect with others through discussion forums and communicate with their teachers via email or text. When it comes to submitting assignments, students have the liberty to submit video demonstrations of science experiments rather than writing down long summaries.
- Digital meets face-to-face learning
A blended learning environment is becoming very popular these days since it gives students the best of both worlds. Technology is the key component of the learning experience here though face-to-face instructions are also retained to enhance learning. With multiple modalities being used for learning, students are able to comprehend and retain information in a more efficient manner. For instance, a teacher can use an interactive whiteboard while students can post their work online; and everything they learn in school can be made accessible to them at home via software and apps.
- Learning through animation
With visual stimulation added to the learning mix through animation, learning becomes a lot more fun for all. Passive learning and active learning come together in animated learning to provide the context necessary to understand complex subjects. Animated learning improves student engagement and ensures better outcomes.A study examined the effects of caricature animation on learning. Results revealed that the students that employed caricature animation showed better results as compared to others in a conventional learning environment.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) for personalized learning
AI has been gaining a lot of momentum in the field of learning too. AI is a boon for educators allowing them to explore the human side of their jobs and forge deeper connections with students. AI allows them to create personalized learning systems based on the individual strengths and weaknesses of students to ensure wholesome learning. With AI, the needs of auditory learners can be dealt with as effectively as visual learners or those who have more unique learning styles.
AI is being increasingly used in online learning platforms to set the pace of learning for all. Educators use AI as: Predictive, Adaptive and Assistive to drive better outcomes.
Predictive – to look into the past data to predict what can happen in the future. For instance, predicting how students will perform in the upcoming tests based on their earlier performance.
Adaptive – to adjust the curriculum, pace, and style of learning based on individual challenges. For instance, a student struggling with fractions may learn better with a different style of teaching rather than dealing with the anxiety of falling behind.
Assistive – to help students learn complex concepts and problems better; For instance, a student may want to re-read a passage to comprehend it better and hence may require more time to understand the context.
- Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality for immersive learning
The phenomenal power of VR to let someone respond in a virtual world and of AR to super-impose computer-generated images onto the real world makes them a game-changer in the field of education and EdTech. Virtual reality allows students to literally walk through difficult concepts to get a sense of them and gain perspective.Both these technologies make learning extremely engaging which is otherwise impossible in traditional settings. They help create scenarios and simulate events or even bring abstract concepts like geometrical equations into a 3D space for students to get a grip on what they are trying to learn.
- Blockchain for enhanced security
Blockchain relies on multiple systems across the world enabling decentralized and safe educational systems that are impossible to exploit. Holberton School is one of the first schools to use it to secure and authenticate student certificates. Students can simply access their digital certificate online in a secure environment via an encrypted private key and a 2-factor authentication on completion of the program. The certificate is sealed and the content is tamper-proof.Blockchain has been helping educators in grading by creating more accurate grades and assignments and storing them in a secured manner. It tracks progress to monitor how students are performing year after year by maintaining a common ledger entry per student. Another advantage is that due to its ability to ensure anonymity, it safeguards the privacy of students seeking services or privileges such as taking exams in a different location due to disabilities.
- Cloud computing for collaboration
Cloud computing has emerged as an essential tool for different sectors including education. It has influenced the way we learn and the way educators and mentors impart vital lessons.The biggest advantage of cloud computing is collaboration since it allows everyone to get on a common page and share ideas via video conferencing platforms, screen-sharing apps, and virtual whiteboards. It helps build a connection between students attending schools from different cities and regions.From grades K through 12 and right up to graduation and specialization, cloud computing is playing a pivotal role in knowledge transfer. Cloud computing helps automate administrative processes, reduces infrastructure costs, and allows teachers to create content to be updated in real time.
Cloud-based applications allow students and teachers to work seamlessly across devices and locations and share their work easily as long as they have a fast Internet connection.
What’s driving EdTech
While educators have been doing their best to adopt EdTech and offer better learning opportunities to all, it gained more momentum during the pandemic.
Key drivers responsible for the growth of EdTech include:
Mobile learning – The Indonesian cellular network operator Telkomsel came up with a plan in 2020 to offer 500,000 smartphones to kids and 30GB of free data every month to users of a K-12 learning app called Ruangguru. In the same year, a Singapore-based telecommunications company called Starhub also offered free broadband subscriptions to students belonging to low-income groups. All in all, mobile learning is the preferred format of learning for many, and EdTech ensures distance learning is made easy for them.
Growth in investments – With investments growing in this segment, there is a spur in market opportunities too. Investments in VC-backed education firms have increased from USD 7 billion in 2019 to USD 14.6 billion in 2020. EdTech companies are now focusing on skill development to overcome the limitations of the traditional educational systems and make education accessible for all by reducing the digital divide.
With growing mobile penetration and readily available e-learning apps and materials, there is a marked increase in EdTech adoption.
Better engagement with self-learning apps – With most apps working towards having high-quality content based on the principles of behavioral science and design interventions, there is an increase in retention and active learning. What’s more; even children with special needs are able to have a deeper emotional connection with learning and education. Advanced learning management systems helps accelerate learning for students with special learning needs to ensure they reach their full potential.
The future looks promising for EdTech initiatives but there are challenges too
While everyone thinks the future of education is Remote, there are several hurdles EdTech companies will have to cross to make their mark. These include:
Stiff competition – The market is fast getting crowded, and the last thing anybody wants is just another learning management system. It’s important to differentiate and demonstrate the ability to solve real-world problems with empathy and innovation.
Resistance to technology – There are educational institutions that are still reluctant to adopt EdTech and fully embrace digital transformation. This resistance to change also stems from the fact that they lack the necessary technical support to use EdTech solutions and experience the real benefits of technology.
Privacy concerns – Many organizations believe that technology adoption would imply a breach of privacy when it comes to student information. They need to be informed about the different measures that are being implemented to ensure data security and help decision-makers make informed decisions through data analysis.
Budgetary constraints – While many educational institutions do acknowledge the role of EdTech, they lack the resources. The cost of infrastructure deters many from adopting it. Besides, they would require dedicated personnel to keep up with software advancements and modifications.
EdTech is here to stay but while it makes great strides in innovation there will be a few hiccups to tide over. It’s just a matter of time before institutes globally, even the traditional ones, realize its full potential and its role in ensuring better learning outcomes.
For more information on EdTech and the transformation you can expect through extraordinary EdTech solutions, call us today.