Edtech (short for Education Technology) is an interdisciplinary field that applies technological advancements to learning. The goal is to create innovative digital products for an engaged, inclusive, and individualised educational experience. Virtual whiteboards, note-taking applications, language learning apps, Zoom classes, and online interactive courses are only a few examples. And Edtech startups add new products and ideas to this list regularly.
The global pandemic and self-isolation rules have boosted the industry and made it attractive for investments. In 2021, the edtech market size amounted to $254.80 billion. Moreover, the successful business examples indicate that edtech market trends triggered by lockdowns will remain integral to the "new normal" and get this market to the $10-trillion mark by 2030.
A new level of personalisation, artificial intelligence, and immersive experience are no longer the topics from sci-fi TV shows but features of education technology products. Rocketech experts analysed startup success stories and summed the most promising edtech trends in 2022.
Upskilling and Reskilling
Today more professionals realise it’s time for a career change or, at least, adjustments to their existing career trajectory. In the past, it was believed that the social status change and increase in income level depended solely on entrepreneurial abilities, seniority, and other external causes.
However, with the rise of individualisation in Western philosophy and advanced technological developments in education, people correlate such changes with the professional training level and more personal responsibility. Whether it's learning programming after twenty years in the restaurant business or developing new skills to expand current pay grade opportunities within the same organisation – people are encouraged to further their education. Moreover, according to the 2020 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, half of the employees remaining in their roles will need reskilling by 2025.
Prominent Example: Simplilearn
Total funding amount: $31 million
Simplilearn is an online upskilling platform offering certifications and programs in cybersecurity, cloud computing, project management, digital marketing, and other fields. The platform develops its courses in partnership with the world's leading educational institutions like MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, Caltech CTME, Purdue Online, and IIT Kanpur. IT giants like IBM, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon also collaborate with Simplilearn.
AI Equals Personalisation
Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are the fastest-developing edtech startups trends and powerful tools for creating recommendation systems and constructing personalised educational trajectories. The goal is to master knowledge as quickly and efficiently as possible by providing study materials and tasks to students in a unique sequence and according to their needs. Furthermore, AI can learn to give feedback to students to emulate human interaction with higher precision.
AI-powered learning systems address educational inequality and the lack of personalised attention in conventional classrooms. Implementing adaptive, flexible teaching models helps minimise gaps between students who, for example, need significantly different time periods to digest the same amount of information.
Prominent Example: Squirrel AI Learning
Total funding amount: $131 million
One of China's most successful AI-based edtech startups, Squirrel AI Learning, uses the adaptive learning approach that can "respond to a student's interactions in real-time by automatically providing the student with individual support.” The algorithm divides learning materials on a particular subject into many small blocks – “knowledge points.” Testing reveals gaps in knowledge in certain parts of the programme. According to this data, the solution generates personalised exercises to correct the knowledge level. To illustrate the level of detail, a high school maths course is broken down into more than 10,000 knowledge points in Squirrel AI.
Studies show that students who actively interact with study materials fail exams 55% less often than those who have studied only through traditional lectures. Tools and techniques that can transform a student from a passive listener to an active participant in the educational process are among the most promising edtech future trends. Although simulators are quite widespread in narrow niches (think of flight simulators for future pilots or surgical simulation training solutions), immersive experience in learning becomes more accessible for regular students.
Prominent Examples: VirtualSpeech and Mondly
VirtualSpeech helps users develop soft skills by simulating virtual reality communication with a "problem" client or practising public speaking. The platform offers an extensive list of professional development courses essential for “the modern workplace” – from delivering presentations and online sales pitching to impromptu speaking and sexual harassment training.
Mondly provides its users with an immersive experience in language learning with virtual and augmented reality. Students make friends in Barcelona, check into a hotel in Tokyo, and order tea at a cafe in London using virtual simulation, chatbots, and speech recognition tools. The platform offers 1000+ language combinations and Business, VR, AR, and Kids versions.
Online courses, even before the pandemic, were a popular education format. People bought courses, listened to lectures at a convenient time and at their own pace, completed tasks, and received feedback and certificates. However, this system had one big downside. Often students were disappointed or dissatisfied during the course, but the platform would refuse to refund the money.
Subscription learning is a practical alternative. It provides users with access to all the materials and courses available on the platform for a fixed fee (monthly, yearly, or lifetime). Students can easily choose and start any course, switch to another one, or drop them all without overpaying for every class they decide to try.
Prominent Example: MasterClass
Total funding amount: $461 million
MasterClass is a streaming educational platform “where anyone can learn from the world’s best.” With a monthly subscription, users can access video tutorials from 150+ instructors who are renowned professionals in their fields – from cooking classes with Gordon Ramsey and creative writing with Neil Gaiman to leadership insights from the White House politicians. All courses are self-paced and can be broken down into bite-sized pieces for a better-personalised experience and to match busy schedules.
Gamification has been part of traditional educational models for a long time; it’s not a new concept. However, with the rise of the “tech” part in edtech, gamification has turned into one of the leading edtech investment trends. It’s a very flexible tool you can apply to any educational material. Besides, game mechanics motivates and engages students (even adults) in the educational process effectively and, most importantly, naturally.
Gamification in edtech has tremendous potential since you can use even the tools that, at first glance, serve only for entertainment. Here’s a brilliant example: Minecraft: Education Edition. A popular computer game played by millions of children has been successfully used for teaching. In Minecraft, you can build almost any training module – architecture, geography, English, biology, culture, physics, or chemistry, you name it. And this method combines two essential factors at once. First, children get involved in a familiar and engaging environment, so parents or teachers don’t have to make an effort to keep their attention. Second, the game’s flexibility allows presenting any learning material in a game form – it only depends on the teacher’s imagination.
Prominent Example: Duolingo
Total funding amount: $183 million
The world-famous language learning app uses a balanced approach its creators call “implicit learning.” Duolingo’s bite-sized lessons are designed to be fun and, as a result, effective. Getting access to new levels for completing tasks, personal rating, and competing with friends are the app’s game elements. Besides, the solution’s creators used an original approach to their marketing strategy that helped them reach 500 million registered users by 2022.
The Future of Edtech
In an era of viral TikTok videos and Instagram reels, content creators struggle for every second of user attention. It becomes more challenging for edtech apps since they are to provide high-quality, useful content. In these conditions, conventional formats with long, monotonous lectures become noticeably obsolete. Adapting to fast-changing market environments and user demand is one of the top edtech trends.
The impact of COVID-19 on edtech is terrific. At the same time, there are still many unoccupied areas in the edtech market. Potentially promising niches are usually narrow – an interactive karate self-learning app or adult-education platform for acquiring 21st-century skills. The Information Age is a period of agility and merging trends. And it requires one-to-one communication with your audience.
In a highly competitive environment, the first trend you should follow is “quality first.” Over 150 successful projects the Rocketech Team completed together with our partners are the best proof. Whether you have a fresh, brand-new edtech idea or an existing product that needs further development, we are excited to know about it. Contact us today!