Over the past year, education technology (EdTech) has been a blessing for education providers – be they schools, universities, or business HR departments. While new and emerging technology was slowly making its way into the learning environment before the onset of COVID-19, the pandemic has cemented EdTech as a key enabler of learning during this difficult period.
As the global vaccine rollout continues, confidence is growing that we can soon re-commence face-to-face learning. Meanwhile, businesses may shortly be welcoming back their remote workforces and considering the future of professional development without the impediments of pandemic restrictions.
With this in mind, do the EdTech solutions we have relied upon so heavily in recent times have a place in the post-pandemic world?
Maintaining the momentum
It has been incredible to witness the wave of startups that rose to meet the challenge of remote learning. Indeed, 2020 saw the EdTech space boom, with venture capital (VC) investment fuelling the growth of these ambitious businesses. In 2020, VCs invested a whopping $16 billion into the global education and training market, up from $8.2 billion in 2018.
But now we find ourselves a ta turning point. What role will these EdTech solutions play when the pandemic subsides?
Indeed, as Holon IQ, a trusted global source of education market intelligence points out, the education sector has a history of being a digital laggard, with less than 4% of overall expenditure allocated to digital. While we’ve seen some stark improvements in this regard during the pandemic, this slow approach to digital transformation poses a challenge for the future.
The knowledge economy and future skills require massive tech investment, so we must continue to push the frontiers of the education sector and implement EdTech as a driver of effective learning. Despite a bullish 2020, more work needs to be done to ensure that the sector can maintain momentum throughout the decade.
As part of this, the EdTech sector must shake off the short-term fix mentality, and companies must evolve to meet the needs of learners beyond overcoming the obstacles of national lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.
How to pinpoint the victors of the EdTech revolution
While it’s important that tech spend continues to grow in line with learners’ evolving needs, we must also carefully consider which technologies and businesses we are supporting, and pinpoint which will deliver the most value in the long-term.
Many parents, for instance, have shared their frustrations with video conferencing-based teaching. While platforms like Zoom undoubtedly help to support student development while they cannot attend classes, they do not present a realistic alternative to in-person tuition in their current form.
As enablers of personalized and tailored learning, we hope to see artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) become part of the core education delivery and learning processes. These technologies not only support the provision of learning when geographical barriers stand in the way, but they also vastly improve the experience.
When we consider the changing landscape of education, we must view it in the context of the modern-day world. We are living in a period of a massive knowledge explosion, where new information is generated every day, and is available for immediate consumption. As a result, learners of all ages – from early years school children to business professionals – must continuously be learning to stay up-to-date with emerging knowledge.
This is something that the traditional education system struggles to provide for. Instead, teaching commonly encourages the passive absorption of pre-determined material, with little room for flexibility.
AI, AR and VR can all help in this regard. Rather than memorizing new information without really understanding how it can be utilised, innovative and tech-driven solutions will revolutionise the learning process. They can present the latest information in a format tailored to the unique learning styles of each individual, and offer constant support to their progression.
Importantly, tech takes the chore out of learning, making it a more enjoyable, interactive, and rewarding experience. That is why sophisticated technologies like AI sit at the heart of our corporate learning platform, making it a future-proof solution that will endure beyond the short-term challenges of the pandemic.