What will be EdTech's impact in a post-pandemic world?
It’s fair to say that COVID-19 has changed the world forever, especially regarding how we educate, learn and grow.
Throughout the last 12 months, the widespread closure of schools and academic institutions has affected more than 1.7 billion students in over 190 countries globally, creating a disruption so severe it could take decades to repair.
Since the start of the pandemic, technology has played an integral role in helping students stay on track in the face of strict lockdowns and social distancing regulations - but will this trend continue once the pandemic has passed?
To put it simply: yes.
In fact, according to a recent Grand View Research report, the global EdTech market is expected to reach a staggering USD 377.85 billion by 2028, proving that technology will have an enormous impact on the future of education.
To better understand why this is and what factors will likely drive this considerable growth over the next seven years, here are some of the biggest benefits EdTech can bring to the education sector in 2021 and beyond.
Blended Learning Environments
While many of us feel (or at least hope) that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, chances are the virus will remain with us for many years to come.
As a result, schools and other academic institutions now turn towards flexible, blended (or hybrid) learning solutions that combat the ongoing disruptions caused by COVID-19 related absences and restrictions.
Alongside the health benefits of blended learning environments, the Center for Digital Education also found that 73% of teachers who used blended learning reported increased engagement. In comparison, 60% claimed it directly improved their students’ academic abilities.
Significant Cost Reductions
Growing financial pressures are a huge concern for many schools worldwide; especially now we’re on the cusp of one of the biggest economic downturns in modern history.
As budgets shrink and spending cuts continue, academic institutions will likely rely more heavily on technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality to help fewer hands carry more weight in the future.
According to Donald Clark, Author of Artificial Intelligence for Learning, “AI can result in accelerating and reducing the cost of learning–even basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic–on a global scale, [and] it will make past improvements in pedagogy look like rounding errors.”
Add to this the endless possibilities presented by the arrival of highly scalable VR EdTech platforms that enhance the remote learning experience, “virtualize” many resources and reduce the costs of staffing, maintenance, logistics, utilities and more.
Higher Levels of Engagement
As technology continues to evolve, so do the expectations of those who use it.
While traditional dictation-based teaching models may have been enough to satisfy the needs of Generation X, students today will quickly lose interest if their classes fail to incorporate some form of tech-based learning.
In fact, according to Promethean, EdTech for engagement is fast becoming a top strategic priority for almost 40% of schools, with 86% of educators stating technology should be a core part of the learning process pushing forward.
Though schools across the UK have already re-opened their doors to students after the lockdown, the same cannot be said for many impoverished, third-world countries where access to education is still severely limited.
Considering the above, arguably one of the biggest benefits EdTech will bring to the world over the next decade is to democratize the global education system and remove the many education barriers children living in poverty currently face.
By creating powerful learning apps that students can easily access on basic smartphones, EdTech has the power to change the world dramatically, allowing people of all classes and nations to have access to the same learning tools.
Alongside the rise of VR and AR technologies designed to improve education through immersive learning, AI-driven data analysis is also transforming the way we learn immensely.
By gathering valuable metrics and running them through powerful machine learning platforms, it’s now possible to reshape the education paradigm and create highly personalized teaching methods rather than the traditional one-size-fits-all approach.
According to an L&D Global Sentiment Survey, learning analytics will be one of the biggest trends in the education sector in 2021 and beyond.
While traditional classroom-based teaching methods are unlikely to fall out of public favour anytime soon, it’s clear that technology will play a huge role in the future of education.
As the EdTech marketplace continues to mature, technologies like Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality will become crucial parts of the learning process, from pre-school level right through to corporate training.
Perhaps most exciting of all, however, is the impact EdTech will have in balancing the keel and ensuring every person on earth has access to formal education.
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