Current trends and issues in educational technology

2021 Newest Trends in Education: Which EdTech Trends to Pursue?

Updated August 11, 2021

Newest trends in education: Which EdTech Trends to Pursue?

A widely quoted figure is that in 2020, the EdTech industry was worth over $89,5 billion globally.

Globally, the education sector as a whole is undergoing massive growth. In America alone, spending on education technology now exceeds $13 billion.

As populations increase in developing countries and regions, the number of K-12 and university-age students is going to dramatically increase. Population estimates indicate there could be 500 million more students by 2025.

Within these seemingly massive figures is the $89,5 billion market cap for EdTech we mentioned. In the context of other sectors, such as healthcare, this seems a relatively small spend on tech. Education, for the most part, is a publicly-funded sector and is not so well-funded, and governments with debts and deficits are still struggling to fund it at pre-recession (2007-10) levels.

Table of contents

  • Educational technology examples 2021
  • What do those trends in educational technology mean for EdTech entrepreneurs?
  • How can EdTechnology startups overcome these challenges?
  • 2021 growth areas: predictions
  • What is promising and effective in eLearning?
  • Conclusions
  • Educational technology examples 2021

    Top trends in educational technology make learning captivating: the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence bring the process of learning to a different level.

    Virtual and Augmented Reality

    VR provides a new constructed reality, while AR provides an enhanced view of the real image, which opens classrooms up for experiential learning. Theoretical ideas turn into learning experiences, for example with the help of VR gadgets, students can travel inside the human body. Embracing technological trends in teaching and learning allows students to change their perception of the classroom.

    Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence is the latest technology in education, which allows to gain insights into a student’s performance, progress and automate grading activities for teachers. AI can generate a personalized learning journey for every student and give them a chance to learn the material at their own pace.

    What do those trends in educational technology mean for EdTech entrepreneurs?

    How technology is shaping the future of education

    Entrepreneurs and startup founders in the education space need to take budgets and the challenges of gaining traction into consideration. In this respect, little has changed in EdTechnology for over a decade.

    Except for the fact that schools at every level and age group are more welcoming of technology. New EdTech tools and solutions are being adopted at a faster rate. Students have also changed. Everyone in education, whether at kindergarten (nursery) or university was born in a digital world. As are many who are now teachers.

    Very few in education need convincing of the value of a new tech solution. More often than not, if there is proven value and use in a solution, and it solves a problem or does something new, then the challenge is budgetary. Beyond budgets, there are also risk and compliance challenges. Training, too. Educators need time — another precious resource in the sector — to learn a new tool or piece of tech, and then encourage end-users to start using the solution.

    Education is a promising, high-growth sector. It has enormous potential, especially as tech, apps, hardware and software plays an increasingly important role in education. However, as pointed out here, there are several challenges EdTech startups need to overcome: budgetary, compliance, adoption and training.

    How can EdTechnology startups overcome these challenges?

    How to start education startup

    • Understanding the funding landscape. Education funding is local, national (in some cases, state and federal), and depending on the price associated with anything new, there are other pots of money, or opportunities, such as Public-Private Partnerships. Knowing what you need to charge and then having a clear idea of how a potential customer is going to pay for it will save a lot of headaches later on.

    • Understanding the needs of decision-makers, influencers, end-users, and budget holders. In education, you might be dealing with a range of equally important key actors in any decision: teachers, students, parents, headteachers, and boards of governors. Again, it all comes down to budgetary levels. When something is more expensive, more decision-makers are going to be involved, and you will need to know what pushes everyone’s buttons to move discussions the right direction.

    • Make the business case. In most cases, any startup that has customers and revenue has already figured out product-market fit. It can take time. It isn’t always an easy one to figure out how to market an educational app, even if you think your first idea is a solution to a problem you have seen, or even encountered time and again. When making the business case, look at how a problem is solved from every angle. Business cases in education include cost-benefit and even ROI calculators. When budget plays such a key role, potential suppliers need to demonstrate every advantage before commitments are made.

    With those mission-critical aspects to consider, entrepreneurs need to pick the right opportunity to run within 2021. If you already have a startup, but not enough traction, now might be a good time to pivot. If you are new to this sector, then review an opportunity carefully to avoid wasting time on following trends in educational technology that might not have enough upward potential.

    2021 growth areas: predictions

    A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning

    When it comes to EdTech industry growth in 2021, it isn’t only about what educational product you have created. It’s also where you want to launch. America, China and Europe are of course the largest markets for EdTech software and apps.

    However, that means operating in markets with a lot of competition. Depending on what you have developed, you might find some difficult and embedded competition in those markets. And not only from startups. Big educational companies and publishing giants, such as Pearson (also an active investor in EdTech, with $50 million committed over 3 years) dominate the market, alongside promising high-growth education startups, like First Code Academy.

    So, if you want to focus on long-term opportunity areas, consider Southeast Asia, Latin America, India, and Africa. Look at where there is a greater need, and although budgets are different, opportunities are across a much larger scale.

    In Brazil, for example, the Omidyar Network has already invested in the following initiatives: 4.0 School, Agenda Edu, and AltSchool. They have also invested in a range of for-profit companies and ventures: Geekie, Guten News, Digital House, Ensina Brasil, Laboratoria, and the Innovation Center for Brazilian Education (CIEB).

    Alongside looking at a more global range of opportunities, entrepreneurs need to think about which solutions and technology trends in education are worth investing in. What do schools, teachers, and students need the most?

    We know, from a J-PAL North America (based at MIT) review of 126 studies that educational software has “enormous promise in improving learning outcomes.” Schools, therefore, are still likely to want to keep investing in software and “computer-assisted learning.”

    Entrepreneurs need to work out what educational apps are on the market and whether what they are potentially offering and creating is different. Uncovering new growth areas and opportunities in education isn't necessarily about coming up with the best idea. It’s about understanding what is already on the market, finding the right product-market fit, proving a business case/ROI, and then using all of this data and market knowledge to sell a new solution at scale.

    Whether this is an AI-powered learning assistant for special needs pupils, or a VR or AR training tool for those going into practical apprenticeships, market data, customer insights, and feedback is as important, if not more so, than the ideation stage. In education, ideas are everywhere. Proving an idea has value and is worth investing in is far more valuable.

    What is promising and effective in eLearning?

    Adaptive learning

    Adaptive learning is the state of the art teaching model that relies on computer algorithms to deliver customized learning experience. The system is able to analyze learner's behavior based on the set of answers, tests, and professional experiences. Generally speaking, it's a three-step analysis:

    • Performance: It is necessary to understand the current knowledge of a participant.
    • Behavior: The system measures the time needed to answer all inquiries.
    • Information: A trainee explains how she/he feels about certain materials or content types.

    That way, it is possible to fine-tune the learning program so as to fit the specific needs of a trainee.

    Online tutoring

    Hiring an expert to teach your employees can be extremely challenging organization-wise. This is particularly the case with complex industries where you can't find too many specialists and industry thought leaders. This is why online tutoring is getting more important as part of the eLearning business. Using this mechanism, you can arrange every detail effortlessly - from schedules through timing to implementation, online tutoring is making the whole process simpler.

    Micro-learning

    If you want to help workers acquire a highly specific skill, then micro-learning might be the right tactic for your business. It's one of the trends in education technology that focuses on small segments of training in order to narrow down the options and encourage a trainee to reach a very practical and actionable goal. As such, micro-learning is based on short training phases and lasts up to 10 minutes per session. While it's not the best option for comprehensive learning subjects, it is valuable if you want to:

    • Achieve specific goals extremely quickly
    • Give employees valuable information when it matters the most
    • Personalize the learning model to match a concrete position
    • Save time needed for eLearning

    Social learning

    Social learning is another one of educational technology examples, but it's very practical due to its range and accessibility. As all of your employees probably have at least one social profile (or just use the Internet regularly), you can make use of it to promote social learning among your team members. First of all, they can join social groups, online discussions, and forums dedicated to your niche. Secondly, you can encourage workers to participate in Q/A website communities such as Quora where they can answer industry-related inquiries, post comments, or ask their own questions.

    Video-based learning

    Why would you hire a tutor multiple times if you can just use video materials anytime you need it? Video-based learning is getting increasingly popular because of its practical advantages. People love videos much more than textbooks, while it's easy to add interactive elements to this type of visual content. At the same time, employees can find their own learning pace and you won't have to worry about some of them lagging behind more advanced trainees. While it's not the perfect option for in-depth teaching, video tutorials can definitely serve as a great starting point for your team.

    Gamification

    Gamification is not one of a new trends in education, but it's becoming more popular year after year. The whole idea of this tactic is that people learn faster while playing and discovering things on their own. It makes the process entertaining, so most trainees are eager to learn more. This is why McDonald's and Kineo developed a till training game to help users deal with customer orders effortlessly. The developers explained it briefly: "Using an innovative approach, a game was designed to target skill and knowledge – using a simulation of the new till system so that learner's ability to take orders could be tested and using questions to assess knowledge on how to deliver the best customer experience."

    Mobile learning

    As the number of smartphone users keeps growing, mobile learning is also flourishing worldwide. A lot of organizations are designing mobile apps to help users study whenever they feel like doing so. For example, Duolingo has a nice app that makes the language learning process easy. The best thing about it is that Duolingo adds a lot of gamification elements to the equation, so the tool becomes even more amusing and user-friendly.

    Performance support tools

    Performance Support Tools (PST) represent a whole set of apps, devices, plugins, and programs that improve the eLearning industry in general. There are all sorts of different tools that you can use to enhance employee training and engagement, but some of the most common options include:

    • Whiteboard animations
    • Online learning sources like an assignment writing company
    • Interactive videos
    • Interactive PDF documents
    • Besttermpaper and editing apps like Grammarly or Hemingway
    • Kinetic text-based animations
    • Flip books and eBooks
    • Micro portals with searchable learning libraries

    Each of these tools has its own pros and cons, but the combination of all features can really improve the possibilities of eLearning.


    Conclusions

    The EdTech space presents a wealth of exciting opportunities for businesses big and small to develop educational technology as a product or service. Being an EdTech software company with decades of experience, we understand the current technological trends in teaching and learning. We leverage this knowledge to create effective EdTechnology solutions for our clients. Contact us to get more information.