2023 outlook of edtech ecosystem | The Financial Express

2023 outlook of edtech ecosystem

The newest education model to arise from the pandemic is hybrid learning – a mode of education that combines physical and online learning.

By the end of 2022, the ed-tech industry at large had seen its fortunes change dramatically.
By the end of 2022, the ed-tech industry at large had seen its fortunes change dramatically.

By Anil Nagar

At the start of 2022, India’s ed-tech giants were riding high. While the rest of the world struggled to adapt to the challenges posed by COVID, the pandemic proved a boon to online learning platforms, gifting them two years of runaway growth and easy funding access. With educational institutions shut and offline learning, not an option, ed-tech companies enjoyed an unprecedented tailwind. Fuelled by an influx of money from global investors seeking a safe haven, ed-tech companies raised record-breaking amounts in 2020 and 2021. Edtech unicorns raised a total of USD 1.9 billion overall in 2020. By 2021, the industry witnessed more than a tripled increase in the funding raised by them.

By the end of 2022, the ed-tech industry at large had seen its fortunes change dramatically. Faced with a global economic slowdown, ed-tech companies have had to take drastic measures to stay afloat. This year, the mass layoffs seen at global tech giants such as Meta, Amazon, and Twitter were replicated across the sector. Companies that had seen headcounts grow exponentially during the pandemic resorted to downsizing, restructuring, and mass layoffs to trim costs and optimise their bottom lines. Similarly, the ed-tech ecosystem has seen layoffs of employees in 2022 with some companies having to shut down their operations. 

Now that 2023 is here, ed-tech stands at a precipice. Faced with an uncertain economic climate, online learning platforms must adopt the latest industry innovations to navigate the new year successfully. Here are the key trends set to shape ed-tech in 2023: 

The Growth of Hybrid Learning

The newest education model to arise from the pandemic is hybrid learning – a mode of education that combines physical and online learning. By melding traditional classroom experiences, experiential learning objectives, and digital course delivery, hybrid learning provides educators with the opportunity to utilise the best option for each learning objective. Other advantages of this approach include tailor-made learning solutions, which encourage students to learn at a pace that best suits them; maximising the flexibility available to students by creating minimal touchpoints and giving them the freedom to set their own schedules within a larger framework; and ensuring that the limited pool of qualified instructors can have the greatest possible impact.

Vernacular Learning as the Next Frontier

The Digital India campaign has catapulted internet access and usage in the nation’s heartlands. Nielsen’s Bharat 2.0 Study estimates that the number of active internet users has grown by 45 percent since 2019, primarily driven by rural India coming online. Amongst this section of the population, vernacular languages predominate, and it’s this customer base that’s poised to propel the next phase of growth in ed-tech. To succeed in this segment, companies must focus on providing an end-to-end vernacular learning model that’s on par with their offerings in English and Hindi. If this framework can be bundled in a package that’s both affordable and accessible to learners in Tier-III and -IV cities, this wave of new customers can secure a platform’s future for years to come.

Integration of Augmented and Virtual Reality

The fields of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have advanced enormously over the last decade. Their increasing accessibility and affordability have seen them gradually integrated into the learning process, and this trend is only set to accelerate going forward. Between 2022 and 2027, the use of AR and VR in education is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18 percent.

Learners are empowered to engage with complex concepts in a realistic and engaging environment, which helps enhance learning retention, optimises the learning process, reduces rote memorisation, and promotes active learning. VR and AR are applicable in a wide range of learning scenarios, from creating medical and flight simulations to enabling historical engagement and promoting technical proficiency. 

Gamification as a Learning Tool

Gamification is a process wherein game mechanics and elements are integrated into non-game contexts. By presenting information in a fun and interactive manner, learners are more engaged in the lesson and therefore more likely to retain imparted concepts and information.  The introduction of aspects such as scores, leaderboards, and prizes further incentivizes students to fully commit to the topic and ensures a fun, competitive element to their lessons. By incorporating gamification as a core concept of edtech lessons, passive learning situations are transformed into engaging, interactive sessions for both teachers and learners.   

Upskilling and Reskilling – An Untapped Segment

An increased focus on the bottom line in tech companies worldwide has seen winter settle on the tech sector. With mass layoffs and redundancies becoming commonplace, many tech workers want to make themselves indispensable to their companies. To do so, they’re turning to online learning to upskill their knowledge, or reskilling themselves entirely to find new employment. As companies shift their attention to new technologies such as Web 3.0 and the metaverse, the demand for the right set of skills will only grow. 

The events of the last several years have reshaped the ed-tech landscape. COVID forced the marketplace to adapt to an unprecedented situation and ultimately resulted in a boom the likes of which have never been seen before. With the situation now having rapidly changed again, a business that can remain agile and embrace the latest industry trends is well poised to emerge better positioned than ever before. 

The author is founder, CEO at Adda247. Views are personal.

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First published on: 21-01-2023 at 17:43 IST