EdTech is the fuel of the global knowledge economy.
2016 is the time of Education Technology. EdTech represents still a diminute portion (around $150bn depending on the source) of the global education and training spending estimated at more than $5tn. The opportunity is huge in an industry many years ready to be disrupted. This is not a knew phenomenon, since Publishing, Music and other industries have gone through similar regenerations.
Adaptive Learning is the new Coke. There are plenty of both consolidated and new players already claiming to do adaptive learning. Very few with the level of depth and sophistication the market expects, though (include here your legacy LMS suspects). Adaptive Learning is the natural transition and convergence for both LMS and Publishers. They both have successfully thrived standalone in the past but with the level of personalisation the consumer is serviced today, personalized digital learning offerings will become shortly the norm.
(Image source: Eduventures 2015 report)
Lastly, the learner is finally at the centre of innovation. And this is somehow connected with the raising phenomenons of big data and machine learning in edtech. Most of the new startups and innovations put the learner at the centre of the problem they are trying to solve. 10 years ago it was all about institutional efficiency. Today, regardless of specific focus on K12, Higher Education or Corporate training, it is all about innovation around the participant. One, only has to take a glance at the roster of startups that are raising and their focus: student engagement, student outcomes, individualized tutoring, next generation career services, gamification, deep and personalised learning, etc.
And here is one challenge for the industry. The number and the granularity of innovators and projects in edtech continues to grow. And this is great news. Maybe traditional corporations are ready to adopt change fast enough as they have been in a competitive scenario for decades in most cases. I am not that sure this is the case for our traditional K12 and Higher Education institutions. In the corporate world, you see digital transformation initiatives and very tactical in-house innovation hubs trying to incorporate new findings to market and to benefit from them swiftly (see FinTech). We are far from that situation in the higher education space and while there is a number of disruptors and leading institutions (i.e Minerva Schools) there is no widespread framework for innovation and technology adoption in education. The worst thing that the industry can hope for, is to continue with a level of phenomenal innovation growth, that the traditional education industry, as we know it today, may not be able to absorb. In order to tackle this challenge the industry needs to remove frontiers for education technology providers and help traditional education institutions improve their technology efficacy and adoption levels.