E-Learning, The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the education sector globally. UNESCO reports that, two years after the start of the pandemic, almost half of the world’s students are still affected by partial or complete school closures . In this context, the world of education is changing drastically and e-Learning is on the rise since it allows for distance learning thanks to digital platforms .
Although it is still early to draw conclusions on the effects of mass use of e-Learning, it is clear that there are several positive sides. Some studies claim that students learn to manage their time more efficiently, develop a greater sense of adaptability and autonomy, and increase their computer skills.
Even among adults e-Learning is becoming more and more popular, especially within companies. For these reasons, many think that e-Learning is destined to have a very important role in our lives even after the pandemic.
But the popularity of e-Learning is not only supported by studies and research, there are several evidences that testify the importance that this learning method is acquiring. One of the most significant figures is the exponential growth in the volume of the global education technology (EdTech) market .
In 2021 alone, the volume of this market reached the value of over 106 billion dollars and it is estimated that in 2028 this figure could exceed 377 billion. These numbers are very significant considering that in 2018 alone the volume of the global EdTech market was just 12.8 billion dollars.
In 2021 Grand View Research, a consulting and market research firm based in India and the United States, published a report describing the situation of the EdTech market globally , making studies and forecasts for the period 2021-2028. Starting from the research carried out in the report, this article explores how the exponential growth of the EdTech market is affecting the world of e-Learning.
Which technologies will have the greatest impact on e-Learning?
According to the study published by Grand View Research, solutions related to EdTech are destined to evolve in line with technological advances related to the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality . These advances will significantly contribute to market growth.
The development and inclusion of these technologies in the EdTech sector, in fact, will make it possible to make learning experiences increasingly interactive and engaging . Furthermore, new technologies such as blockchain will ensure that student data is stored and saved, allowing educators to analyze the consumption patterns of the material offered and make data-driven decisions.
The Edtech market seems to push a lot on the integration of these technologies since one of the concerns of educators is the need to involve students more. This translates into a constant updating of the platforms that allow the use of increasingly engaging interactive tools.
Furthermore, thanks to advances in the field of blockchain, educators will be able to access systems capable of managing data on student performance . These systems will allow to generate more and more accurate profiles that will allow educators to make informed and targeted decisions to strengthen the individual performance of each individual student.
However, it will take some time before these innovations can be fully implemented. The current EdTech platforms also store personal data and we have to wait for specific regulations at national and European level to ensure consumer privacy.
In fact, in the European Union, EdTech companies must comply with the general regulation on data protection (GDPR) which limits the access and processing of user data by all types of organizations involved in the management of large volumes of information. .
In the United States, the situation is not very different: public universities must in fact be subject to two regulations, FERPA and PPRA, which aim to safeguard data regarding student performance and their personal data. It will therefore be necessary to wait for an adaptation of the legislation in order to fully exploit the advantages of these technological advances in the field of e-Learning.
Who is most affected by the e-Learning transformation?
At the moment, the segment of the population that is most affected by the transformation of e-Learning is the segment of the population ranging from 6 to 18 years , i.e. all students who attend primary and secondary school. According to the report’s estimates, this age group contributes more than 41% of the revenues obtained by EdTech companies.
This finding is not surprising considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary to create e-Learning methods to compensate in particular for the closure of schools. Suffice it to say that in 2020, out of 900,000 students aged 6 to 18 in Wuhan province, 730,000 “went back to school” through online courses from the Tencent company.
The report also argues that one of the reasons this segment is so important stems from the trend of increasing student engagement with game-based learning methods. This trend, called gamification , is very popular in learning subjects such as math.
But learning through play doesn’t stop there. The incorporation of technologies into e-Learning allows the creation of immersive content such as virtual trips or complex laboratory experiments, which enhance the experience of engaging learning.
Furthermore, between 2021 and 2028, preschool children (ages 2 to 5) will also see major changes in the way they learn. The main companies in the sector are in fact providing new solutions for this segment of the population. App learning,
with videos and content curated specifically for the early childhood segment, is having a large following and it is estimated that the EdTech market focused on this age group will have the fastest growth rate in the period 2021-2028 .
Awareness of the advantages of e-Learning over traditional education is not limited to young people and students. Lifelong learning – activities undertaken formally or informally at various stages of life to improve one’s knowledge from a personal, social or professional perspective – is also becoming a growing trend among adults and corporate workers.
In particular, lifelong learning is a rapidly growing trend since e-Learning has become a common practice. Thanks to online teaching, in fact, people have great flexibility in terms of time and place to increase their knowledge. An example that testifies to this trend is the popularity that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)they are acquiring both privately and in the workplace. Participation in these courses is not only very flexible but also inexpensive.
The dynamism of the sector
The study points out that the boom in partnerships and collaborations between EdTech companies, training institutes and content creatorstestifies to the vitality of this sector which is in great ferment to create more and more opportunities in the world of e-Learning. Such partnerships are therefore becoming a key part of this developing ecosystem.
For example, in November 2020 Ambow Education announced a partnership with Cisco International. The latter operates in the fields of education career, training and certification. The partnership aims to provide professionals and university students with high quality online courses in the IT field, by issuing a certification. In the United States, some school districts are creating ad-hoc partnerships.
For example, Los Angeles School District and PBS SoCal / KCET are collaborating to create educational broadcasts with channels that focus on different age groups and offer a range of digital options for teaching. In the UK, Bitesize Daily, launched in 2020, has partnered with BBC broadcaster to offer 14 weeks of learning with celebrities acting as teachers. The footballer Sergio Aguero participated in the project, among many others.
Which segments of the global EdTech market will grow the most?
To date, the technological education market is focused on the development of three technological modalities: hardware, software and content. The hardware segmentit is currently the one that grows the most.
The reason lies in the fact that the exponential increase of online classes presupposes a technological infrastructure capable of supporting the services offered. The platforms that offer online courses, in fact, incorporate various tools such as the ability to write and erase on a shared whiteboard,
the use of digital pens, complex communication software that allow the transmission of data and the use of chat, and many other multi-touch options. In addition, they allow consumers to save and share content and notes between different devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. All of these tools require substantial hardware development to enable them to function.
The other segment with a great growth rate is that of content creation. In fact, EdTech companies are focused on innovation in delivering content that incorporates advanced display technologies. Many portals offering e-Learning services are offering educational content in the form of study notes, test preparation materials, FAQ portals and learning videos.
For example, the government of the Western Cape Province in South Africa offers an e-Learning portal to students and teachers that contains different types of resources from the above, available in Afrikaans and English. The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China offers a similar service, called the National Network Cloud-Platform for Educational Resources and Public Service, aimed at primary and secondary school students.
Which continent has the highest share of the EdTech market?
Considering the 2020 data, North America dominates the EdTech market holding 37% of global revenue . The North American market will maintain its dominant position at least until 2028, thanks to large and numerous investments by venture capitalists and investors, particularly in the United States.
In this country, start-ups active in this market raised approximately $ 2.2 billion in funding in 2020 alone. It is expected that as the market matures, companies that experience significant growth will be able to attract more funding, differentiating itself from other players active in the market.
Although it is estimated that North America will dominate the market between now and 2028, the Asian continentit will grow faster. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for this region is 22.6% from 2021 to 2028. Experts attribute this growth to an increase in internet and smart device use among the continent’s population.
Indeed, in several developing countries such as India , the arrival of affordable broadband has allowed many companies to reach a larger share of the population in recent years. Furthermore, also in these countries, technology is seen as one of the most effective ways of bridging the gap between educational infrastructure and teaching resources.