What is EdTech and why is it shifting the education sector forever?

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EdTech? Watch this space…

Schools, universities, and even companies are entering a new era of education and training. In light of recent events, the edtech industry has been developing and growing at an explosive rate, with people shifting their learning and skill-building online more than ever.

Modern Technology has become more dominant in educational institutes and facilities, particularly in recent years. In today’s world, our classrooms look very different to how they looked a decade ago. 

Technology has been assisting many areas and has helped improve interactivity and engagement in the learning and development sector in various ways. Students are able to benefit from online resources and learning material, teachers are able to use advanced tools to enhance learning and engagement in the classroom, even parents are able to keep track of their child’s development and improvement at school. Even as individuals advance out of education and into the working world, workplaces have been developing their employees’ professional development through technology. This means of personalised learning through technology is where edtech comes in…

Education Technology otherwise known as ‘edtech’ integrates technology tools and resources to enrich the education process. While EdTech is growing rapidly and making moves in the education, learning and development sectors, it’s not here to change or replace education practices but instead augment traditional learning. This augmentation is so much more than digitalising learning materials or training manuals. It introduces a new breed of learning architecture. This architecture will gear up for tackling social reach and accessibility over the internet, provide personalised experiential learning solutions, while collecting data to understand and improve these solutions more efficiently for learners.

Europe is rapidly innovating new and diverse solutions by developing digital applications for schools and universities. Even in workplaces, we are seeing training and skillbuilding edtech companies like Proversity, Udacity and Pluralsight introducing digital apps for employees to have a more personalised, interactive learning experience in the workplace.

Benefits of EdTech

Recent studies show that online courses and degrees require between 25 to 60% less learning time when compared to traditional learning. With new apps, platforms and learning formats popping up every year, the education sector has definitely seen immense improvement regarding access to knowledge and education. But what does this improvement mean for students and teachers…

Educational institutions and training centres are able to take on more students and trainees into modules and courses with less financial strain. With online learning and training, institutions and facilities there is no need to add the cost of resources and space to cater to students and trainees. 

From a student perspective, Edtech provides interactivity and engagement through digitalised and gamified modules. EdTech also allows financial burdens of students to be a thing of the past with online education and training. Affordable online courses have allowed students to achieve certification without burning a hole in their pockets.

But let’s look at how it’s shifting education as we know it.

In recent years, our world has been shifting rapidly by the minute and technology has played a powerful role in adapting to that change. People are looking for more personalised approaches that suit their needs as well as tailored to their pace of learning. Online learning or eLearning provides independent learning strategies which prove to be more effective in the long run. 

Pace of group learning is now irrelevant. Instead, the aim now is to encourage more independence, so each student is able to focus on all aspects of the course or module gaining a quality learning experience instead of rushing through topics or subjects or wasting time on things they already know.

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So we understand EdTech provides a faster and more efficient way to deliver information. 

But when we say faster learning, we don’t just mean delivering knowledge and information quicker, it also has to do with the additional factors behind the curtain. The delivery of the knowledge and information from the facility is also more efficient and implemented faster because of the benefit of skipping the logistical and administrative process and resources. Time factors such as traveling to and from a class, course, training event, or seminar and the time to start a class or course, and the time to wrap up and finish all come into play when we look at the efficiency of delivering knowledge.

Challenges in Edtech

With all these benefits, there are visible challenges with moving even faster towards digital and shifting to a 100% digital learning architecture. 

So what’s holding everybody back?

One of the main challenges the sector faced was most practitioners and students prefer the comfort zone of traditional face to face training, and learners and educators alike are not fully confident that they can cope with the shift of digitalising modules and workshops online. In light of Covid-19, individuals were forced out of this comfort zone, putting them in the limelight for change.

This comfort zone also consisted of the human need for interaction with others, particularly when it comes to learning. Some students and learners rely on discussions and interactions and consider it a large factor in their learning process. This is a prime reason why many training solutions have focused on more synchronous digital solutions. These solutions leverage most of the benefits of digital learning while keeping the interactions of a facilitator-led training and a cohort of learners all attending together. 

Finally and most importantly, there is the challenge of engagement & interactivity. Few digital solutions can compare to the interactivity and engagement of the classroom learning experience. Digital solutions are yet to tackle and compensate for the many tools such as physical learning games that have reached levels of engagement that simply can’t be met digitally. In this era of digital learning, this may be the most interesting challenge and one that has been the prime focus since the beginning of 2020. How do we take these learning approaches that reach new highs of engagement and optimize them for the digital world. 

While EdTech is no stranger to the classroom with computers, laptops, interactive whiteboards, and tablets there’s no denying education has grown vastly in the past 10 years.However, with the immense impact technology has made on education, it hasn’t scratched the surface of the potential EdTech has to shape the future of education our learning architecture. In a world where the wisest investment is education and learning to maintain a competitive advantage, Edtech is sure to become a more popular sector and many investors will be drawn to edtech startups.

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