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The Future of Education Technology

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A look at 2020 and beyond.

Education Technology also known as Edtech has become a hot topic, especially since the pandemic shaken the world several months ago. The global Covid-19 outbreak and its social and economic implications challenged our society highlighting many inequalities.

Since first quarter of 2020, Education Technology demonstrated its engagement in supporting millions of learners accross the world enabling knowledge and guidance from K-12 to Higher Education students, professionals and businesses. Technological advancements allowed traditional Education to endure the massive shift in our social lives caused by the health measures and lockdowns put in place by governments.

It is clear now the pandemic played the role of a formidable catalyst by awakening the Edtech giant. In just a few weeks, millions of students switched to online-learning putting the sector in the spotlights of the public and investors attention. Today, Edtech is experiencing its heyday and this trend is likely to increase in the long term.

Indeed, according to latest reports, the global education technology market size is anticipated to reach USD 404 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 16.3% from 2020 to 2025. Even at this level, EdTech and digital expenditure will only make up 5.2% of the $7.3T global education market in 2025 according to Holon IQ, the education market intelligence platform. Edtech is now a global growth sector with a surge in mega-rounds deals, rising stars and unicorns startups. Most of those startups come from the USA, India and China until now, but we start to see some very promising Edtech startups in Europe and the rest of the world. In terms of funding, VC investments globally are expected to surpass last year investments by 15%.

Edtech ambition is to revolutionise the way we learn at school and in a corporate environment. Education Technology companies are helping educational institutions and businesses to reshape the learning process. Digital learning thanks to instant access and customisation is making the learning experience smoother, more personal and in-line with the real-world work. Learners are now able to learn anytime, from anywhere at their own pace with innovative tools such as gamified content and micro-learning courses. The ultimate goal is to reach the same in-person classes experience and benefits for learners.

Keeping learners motivated and engaged is a challenge for Edtech as the classroom is now taking place online. As a solution, Technology has to bring new and improved tools for better practices and keeping engagement high. Live content sessions and personal support are some examples of what Edtech can achieve despite the distance. Edtech role is also to facilitate communications between peers, enabling efficient and cost effective strategies for teachers.

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Recent Technology leaps such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality are considered as a game changer for Education Technology. Many believe this new trend will enhance awareness and transform the traditional techniques of teaching. Some of those teaching methods are still in their infancy but are very promising.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applied to Edtech enables a more in-depth learning experience for learners. In fast paced environments such as university and the workplace, AI-based individualized learning tools allow students and workers to get a tailored help depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Learning platforms thanks to algorithms and data analysis can adjust their learning courses and provide a tailor-made training.

5G is seen as the disruptive technology of the decade with great expectations. Many consider 5G as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the expectations raised by this technology are extraordinary in more than one way. An IHS Market study estimates that $13.2 trillion in global economic value will be made possible by 2035, generating 22.3 million jobs in the 5G global value chain alone.

The next-generation communication network will expand the capabilities of distance learning, virtual reality and robotics. More immersive learning, fast downloads and improved latency will foster the learning assimilation. Online courses with large bandwidth consumption will be enhanced such as VR/AR training, live sessions and Q&As. We can easily imagine the benefits of a truly immersive course for professionals and students: the way we learn about Architecture, Real Estate, Construction, Medecine will change more than ever. 5G promises to unlock new possibilities for the digital transformation in most of the industries. They are so many developments possible that we are today only scratching the surface.

Edtech is here to stay and called for a bigger place in Education in the future. In countries where Education is a challenge in term of quality and affordability, Edtech lays the foundations for education for all. Technological solutions such as education mobile apps can compensate the lack of laptops in classes, especially in rural areas and narrow the digital gap between rural and urban schools. For those who cannot afford a computer, smartphones remain the best choice for learning online at low cost. In emerging countries like Morocco, the Ministry of Education was proactive in taking steps to minimize learning loss during the crisis by switching online schools and universities. Mobile network operators decided also in a joint effort to temporarily offer free connection to all distance education and training platforms set up by the Ministry of National Education. For such countries, Education Technology is expected to change the future of education for millions of pupils and students, especially if the digital access to technology is adequately addressed.

In developed countries, most of learners are now in demand for more inclusive support and a lifelong learning process that can enhance their careers and employability. Such support is extremely important during challenging times, especially when employment is at risk. The question now is not anymore if, but how Edtech can improve learning experience, inclusion, engagement and knowledge assimilation.

The global pandemic and its economical repercussions have definitely played as an accelerator in the advent of Education Technology, it has become a must-have. The challenge today for the Edtech sector is to answer with the right tools to keep up the pace.

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