The current Trend with EdTech companies
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is the research of how humans interact with computers. A key outcome is seeing how ‘user-friendly’ a companies product is for the consumer. For EdTech companies, this can be the deciding factor between success and failure.
‘Educational technology (Edtech) is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.’ (AECD, 2004)
Gap in the market
Since 2000, education and training costs have risen sharply by 84%. However, the level of education often remains the same. The level of student debt is rising worldwide.
The UK – British college graduates loan debts have nearly tripled to $55,000 compared with $20,000 5 years before. The total student loan debt has reached around $100 billion and it is estimated that 2/3rds of UK students will never pay them off. Online courses can be much more cost-effective and more flexible. Students can choose their own hours, allowing them to work full-time whilst they are studying which is more affordable, and they can also deal with family responsibilities. EdTech companies, therefore, have a vast variety of customers to choose from.
The US – 14% of students are in default; American college graduates debt increased 6% from 2015 – 2016 but student levels in Maths and Science have barely changed. This is a huge opportunity for EdTech companies to reduce the cost, but also improve the quality of learning. There is a huge audience to target with over 1/4 of higher education students enrolled in at least one online course.
Global – The education market is currently worth $4.5-5 trillion per year; the e-learning market was valued at approximately €170 billion in 2015 and is expected to rise to $255 billion this year. A global survey of 25,000 young people across the world showed that over 3/4 had previously taken an online course.
It is evident that there is a huge upwards trend towards E-learning. But the question is, can EdTech companies keep up with students constantly changing technological needs?
The World is becoming impatient, everything is expected to happen instantaneously, especially learning a new skill. EdTech companies are trying to make this process easier; the key is whether they can personalise this type of education to specific learners by making programs adaptive to certain needs.
Benefits of e-learning for students
- Students can interact on an international scale, collaborating on different projects, giving different ideas and views.
- They are playing an active role rather than a passive one, therefore working with the teacher on a ‘level playing field’.
- Students are using material that they are comfortable with and this creates more self-esteem because they believe it is more relevant to their learning.
- Computers can often show better quantitative feedback; progress is easier to see.
- Students, that are less academic traditionally, have a chance to show their capabilities.
- There is less stress on course & curriculum based learning and more focus on competence (skill) based learning.
Educational technology is changing how we learn and acquire our skills because we can now learn anywhere, at any time. We can learn when lying in bed, on the metro or even driving etc. This is largely due to mobile learning through online applications. With languages, you have podcasts that you can download to your phone and listen to on the move; this is extremely time efficient.
There is huge potential for EdTech companies to grow and expand and cater different applications to different needs. This sector is on track to become the most profitable digitalised sector to date. But, there is still a long way to go in terms of making it useful for everyone.
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