Education technology, or edtech, is disrupting higher education on a substantial scale, and the challenges of the coronavirus crisis are simply escalating this evolution.
The COVID-19 crisis has proven to be a major catalyst in sparking changes across the higher education space with the pandemic quickly accelerating the adoption and acceptance of digital technology in higher education.
Felix Ohswald, GoStudent founder and CEO, has said that: “The current crisis not only demands the need to drive forward the digitalization of the education system, but also clearly highlights the opportunity to supplement the existing traditional education system.”
This has challenged and enhanced the learning process for students, educators, investors, and edtech startups, forcing greater innovation than ever before.
Global edtech investment is predicted to grow by 15% in 2020. By 2025, the Chinese education market alone could reach US$715 billion.
This rise of digital technologies in global higher education and online learning tools and platforms may push more institutions to offer a greater range of accessible, remote learning options, tapping into new markets like adult learners and international students.
This is more important than ever with the UN estimating that there are more 263 million kids globally who don’t receive a full-time education.
While this could be due to range of reasons, including access to qualified educational facilities and resources and learning accommodations, online learning can make education available to those even in remote areas. Edtech solutions can overcome many common barriers to a quality education.
However, it is important to note that the World Economic Forum posits that 3.7 billion people across the globe have no internet access.
Poor internet speeds in rural areas and tribal lands in the US has prompted the FCC to estimate that nearly 30 million citizens “cannot reap the benefits of the digital age.”
These socioeconomic and infrastructure challenges must go hand in hand with any edtech advances, ensuring that these issues are addressed and people across the globe can access education.
It’s clear that online learning tools and edtech innovations are here to stay, both during the pandemic and post-crisis, and the way students learn will never be the same.
Edtech is now in a pivotal position, simultaneously disrupting the global higher education landscape while solving pressing problems related to educational delivery during the coronavirus crisis.
It will be up to edtech innovators and investors to continue this momentum, while balancing accessibility and socioeconomic concerns and disrupting the traditional educational sphere with positive and inclusive progression.
To explore the future of edtech post-COVID-19, please register for the QS virtual conference, Reimagine Education, held from the 9-11 December 2020.