In many ways, 2021 was the year of remote learning. Educators have had to navigate long-term lockdowns and eLearning at an overwhelming pace, with Education Technology (EdTech) becoming an important lifeline to facilitate blended learning while the world struggled to adapt to new circumstances. Right now, some institutions are still grappling with the prospect of temporary closures due to the effects of Omicron, so we can expect EdTech solutions to remain popular for the foreseeable future.
These developments have caused a boom in the EdTech industry; currently, the global EdTech market is valued at around $254 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach approximately $605 billion in 2027, which would send the market soaring to new highs.
Teachers, students, corporate training leaders and lifelong adult learners can therefore all expect to see innovative new solutions released into the market to make the continued focus on hybrid education that little bit easier, so in any case we expect to see EdTech outlasting the pandemic by a long stretch.
So, what trends and technologies should we expect to see coming to the EdTech arena this year?
AI will become bigger and better
The education sector has developed a strong appetite for artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years, based on the promise of its potentially endless benefits. Beyond just the remit of ultra-lifelike robots and voice assistants, theAI of today (and indeed tomorrow) will provide the EdTech industry with genuinely aspirational solutions that push forward learning boundaries. One development that people can expect to see in 2022 is the ability of AI to ‘understand’ more human intent within the context of software packages and apps.
Currently, many educators believe that efficient and lasting knowledge retention occurs through a person’s conceptual understanding, which is accomplished by combining facts with skills through the application of that knowledge.In short, people gain new understanding by transferring their knowledge from one situation to another. For these processes to occur, a person needs to possess basic knowledge on a subject which, combined with thinking skills, leads to conceptual understanding. So, where does AI come in to help?
Generally, learners struggle to retain large amounts of information at once, which is crucial to gaining that conceptual understanding. Because AI-powered EdTech is similar to the human brain in that it is designed to seek patterns, it can, for example, scan materials that a student is trying to learn to detect metonyms for concepts and theories, then create questions that test their knowledge.
The rise of advanced natural language processing (NLP) also means that these technologies can elicit responses from students in a much more natural format. Answers can be spoken or typed directly into their personal devices, with learners able to participate in interactions not unlike conversations with their human teachers. These applications can then assess the responses to verify whether the learners have truly understood the subject.
Ultimately, emerging AI solutions create the potential for much greater knowledge retention – undoubtedly, a real advantage for learners looking to level up their understanding to sit exams or elevate their professional development.
Make way for gamification and mixed reality
Gamification technologies will continue to dominate in 2022, with app developers keen to add some much-needed fun into the grind of online learning.
The game design elements that will become increasingly more common allow users to compete against one another (or themselves) to top leaderboards and earn virtual currencies, encouraging learners to keep up with their educational goals. Likewise, these technologies also have the potential to provide educators with crucial tools to keep their students invested, which will no doubt come as a godsend to those who are becoming increasingly frustrated with the state of pandemic learning and hours spent away from their university or school.
At Soffos, we believe that the potential for gamification and AI that boosts conceptual understanding is huge – so much so, that we have launched a new app that is dedicated to the cause. TestMe is a flash-card creator app, here to help learners consolidate their knowledge in a fun and interesting way. Users need only copy and paste the content of learning documents – be it an excerpt from a textbook or some rough notes – for the AI to transform these materials into a new set of Q&A pairs.
Let's not underestimate the value of investing in EdTech during such uncertain times. Equipping schools, corporate training departments and academic institutions with leading technologies means that they can continue to deliver vital educational opportunities, and ensure no student has to suffer the consequences of lost learning time.
Why not get involved and try our new app, initially for free – get TestMe, here.