I hear and see discussions of the EdTech bubble having burst in 2022. I can say that VC valuations will have certainly reduced and we always hear a lot of noise around the world when that happens. However, I would offer the suggestion that this is more in the consumer-modeled educational operators who experienced the greatest growth during the pandemic years. The nature of consumerism is such that value and perceived value can rise and fall very quickly, therefore I would say that this should have been foreseeable as we transitioned from the “normal” of the past few years to the coming years ahead.
Institutional education is by no means without its challenges and is still recovering. However, I find that in many areas schools back in buildings and students attending on a daily basis once again, have delivered a renewed vigor with a proactive outlook towards bringing back, in particular, the elective and progressive learning experiences that suffered the most in 2020 and 2021. I was, of course, personally very pleased to see in a presentation by LEK at the EdTech Asia conference in Singapore that digital upskilling and enrichment activities that can be offered on a multi-country basis are in their top 6 trends for the coming year.
Looking ahead I see a significant move coming in learning analytics and understanding student learning not just as it occurs in silos, but with a holistic view of students’ capabilities. Greater interoperability between technologies will help with this, however, this interoperability will need to become more standardized, easier, and cheaper to deploy for this vision to be truly realized.
I currently see a greater number of learning providers, both formal and informal, beginning to integrate learning experiences and seeking to introduce a stronger element of real-world relevance to traditional subject areas. Products that facilitate the creation of transdisciplinary experiences and assist in the training of educators and instructors to evolve the teaching and learning of traditional subjects in this direction have a bright year ahead of them in 2023.
The area of the transition between education and the world of work is the area of education that I see most disrupted and rife with innovation at this time. Global talent markets are tight and terribly under-supplied. It is clearly understood that didactic and instructionist models have not and will not deliver either for the learner or for the world around them. Rising global costs will compound the need to work earlier and graduate with a recognizable portfolio or qualification earlier so I personally see a significant, potentially tumultuous shift in skill development in young people between 16-20 years of age.
AI and Web3 are not on my list at the moment to deliver significant changes in the coming year. They are interesting topics for discussion, however, their impactful application is still, I believe, to be seen even in an experimental format and I remain unsure of their true acceleration within education before 2025.
Finally, I see a unifying discussion developing across all EdTech offerings now and a conversation that will grow in volume in the coming year. As we have developed a greater understanding of educational technology through the pandemic through its ubiquity, we have also become aware of the frequency of its shortcomings. Research and evidence-based products, with this built into their core solution DNA, will be the only products that will succeed to a systemic extent.