2021: A year in which edtech has made a giant leap



Let’s take a step back and retrospect some of the key trends for 2021 that will continue into the next year as well.

By Mayank Kumar

The rapidly changing technological environment along with evolving learning mechanisms has accelerated the edtech space over the past two years, more than ever before. With physical schools, colleges closed, and education affected, online education has taken center stage and has become the essential mode of learning for students as well as working professionals.

The emergence of immersive technologies in online learning has offered people the opportunity to learn new skills. The year saw significant investments in technologies such as gamification, AR, VR, etc., as well as the adoption of several new-age exam surveillance systems such as the dual watch approach. that support a fair rating system.

The rapid shift to digital learning has brought out the importance of lifelong learning, and we are only seeing it accelerate as the issue of skills redundancy is pervasive.

Let’s go back and look back at some of the key trends for 2021 that will continue into the next year as well.

Requalification and further training become more relevant

By 2025, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that around 85 million people will lose their jobs. While 97 million new jobs will be created over the same period, they will require very different skills. Without the ability to retrain people quickly and on a large scale, millions of people will potentially be displaced from work. This will require new technologies and a new approach to partnerships between government, industry and academia. This indicates the need to requalify the global workforce.

In a tech-driven market, improving skills is one of the most important things professionals can do not only to keep their current job, but also to advance their careers or make meaningful career transitions.

Online learning is becoming mainstream

This was the year of change for the edtech industry; the year saw an increased acceptance of the value of online learning anytime, anywhere, accessible on any device. Multiple segments of Indian edtech emerged against only K12, which was previously the case. Higher education, learning through leisure, etc. have found a good number of takers.

The world’s best universities have also democratized the learning process by making courses available online. The adoption of technology-based education in academia and industry offers the advantage of versatility and flexibility while being cost effective.

Year of capital flow, leading to consolidation

This year has seen an influx of capital into the education sector as well as increased acceptance from all key stakeholders, which has led to consolidation in the market. This year has also seen the highest number of unicorns in our country and some of them are from the edtech space.

Key stakeholders have recognized that collaborations will be vital for e-learning companies and educators to maximize value. Considering the depth of the market, the continuous flow of capital into edtech companies, and the emphasis on building scale, India will soon become a global hub for edtech and education, where l e-learning will become a default option in higher education.

Hybrid learning models

In June, the University Grants Commission (UGC) published a concept note on blended teaching and learning. He highlighted the flexibility it would offer with an app to any program that combines traditional learning values ​​with digital media. Offering freedom and flexibility, blended learning can be effective and fun with the best of both worlds as it moves from the classroom to the internet.

Globally, blended learning is one of the most widely adopted learning tools as it frees students, academics and policy makers from the restrictions of the four walls of a classroom. In a large country like India, blended learning will provide access to the best teaching universities in smaller towns and villages, and will foster the next generation of learners.

Coaching and mentoring

In online education, besides delivering content virtually, it is equally important to help learners with the best professional advice during their career progression. Education or edtech is a subset of a larger coaching, guidance and mentoring ecosystem and some of the players have differentiated themselves by leveraging the human contact delivery engine by creating a strong layer of coaching and mentoring.

It helps overcome geographic barriers and gives learners the best mentors and coaches, from top universities and big companies.

Author is MD & co-founder, upGrad

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