During the first half of 2023, new global educational technology (edtech) companies amassed $2.18 billion in equity funding. What these earnings depict is a sector continuing to welcome new players alongside the rapid growth of companies already finding novel ways to help students learn.
Technology is the driving force behind many edtech strategies. And as the education space continues to develop new tools and strategies to reach students of all ages, edtech will extend beyond traditional students and collegiate spaces to include continuing and professional learners and those previously left behind by more formal education systems.
These emerging trends are more than just buzzwords—they're innovative tools and strategies paving the way for enhanced learning experiences. From customizing educational journeys to creating immersive, engaging learning environments, these features are standing front and center of the pedagogical revolution.
Below, we’ll explore the 10 edtech trends that education companies should watch to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Personalized learning
At the core of the edtech revolution is personalized learning, an approach that tailors educational experiences to meet the needs of individual students. This can be particularly powerful in situations with high teacher-to-student ratios that impact learning outcomes.
The power of individualized instruction lies in the ability to adjust the pace of learning to the student to boost engagement and achievement. This learner-centric approach aims to ensure that fewer students get left behind and that educational materials are tailored to unique learning styles as well as the strengths and interests of students.
A Walton Family Foundation survey found that 47% of primary and secondary school parents said one of their top aspirations for their child’s in-school education is that schools provide a learning environment that best matches the child’s needs. Furthermore, 37% said it was instruction that supports the child’s passion or interest in specific topics.
Tools such as learning management systems (LMS), artificial intelligence (AI)-powered educational platforms and data analytics can assist teachers in tracking student performance, gaining insights into their learning patterns and tailoring their teaching strategies accordingly.
Gamification (i.e., incorporating gaming elements into education) transforms learning into an interactive and engaging experience. Whether it's collecting badges for completing tasks or progressing through levels for mastering topics, gamification is designed to boost students' motivation, engagement and retention levels.
Digital platforms like Kahoot! and Quizizz have pioneered gamified learning by introducing game-based quizzes and interactive activities. Meanwhile, Classcraft leverages the social dynamics of video games to promote teamwork, cooperation and learning among students. The goal is to foster a healthy sense of competition among students and make learning more interactive and enjoyable.
After years of research on gamified learning, not everyone agrees that the experiment has been successful. We can expect to see some tension between technology that offers external rewards and that which relies on intrinsic motivation, where the joy of learning and mastery is the reward. So, while the gamified learning market is predicted to grow to over $4 billion by 2027, we can expect to see some novel insights on precisely how gamification may most productively enhance learning.
3. Artificial intelligence
AI is one of the tools that can help make learning more personalized, engaging and efficient. For example, AI-driven algorithms analyze student data to adapt teaching styles and content for customized learning experiences.
But AI's contributions to edtech don't stop there. It can also take on administrative tasks and free up educators to focus on teaching. For example, automated grading and scheduling allow teachers to spend more time engaging students instead of doing paperwork.
Of course, AI also comes with its challenges, including concerns around data privacy, the potential for misuse and the importance of human oversight. As a result, edtech companies also play a role in ensuring responsible AI use in the classroom by providing necessary training for educators and maintaining transparency around AI algorithms.
4. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
VR and AR tools create immersive learning experiences that change the nature of a student's engagement with educational content. These technologies can take students on virtual field trips, generate interactive 3D models and even offer hands-on training in a safe, virtual environment.
For people with different learning abilities, VR and AR can also offer assistive learning environments tailored to their needs, making education more inclusive and engaging. This goes far beyond visual learning, immersing learners in experiences that were previously impossible within the confines of a classroom.
5. Adaptive learning
While personalized learning modifies the learning path for each student based on their progress, adaptive learning takes it a step further. It uses AI algorithms to adjust content in real time to respond to a student's strengths, weaknesses and pace. Adaptive learning systems even attempt to predict future performance and suggest resources to help students in areas where they're struggling.
This technology is especially relevant in today's remote and hybrid learning environments, where students may not receive as much one-on-one attention from instructors.
Microlearning breaks down information into bite-sized, manageable chunks, allowing students to learn at their own pace. This approach is particularly effective for adult learners since it fits seamlessly into busy schedules, allowing them to engage with content during downtime, like while commuting or during work breaks.
One powerful medium for delivering microlearning content is video. Studies suggest that learners can retain up to 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to just 10% when they read it in a text. The rise of online video content, such as educational YouTube channels and TED Talks, are prime examples of widely accessible microlearning platforms.
7. Collaborative learning
Collaborative learning uses the power of teamwork to help learners engage with one another and with teachers in a shared digital space. These virtual spaces break down geographic and time barriers and create more active learning environments that enable students to collaborate on group projects, engage in lively discussions, and support one another's learning journeys.
These collaborative learning environments allow for global connections and cross-cultural exchanges to connect students with peers from different geographic locations and expose them to diverse perspectives.
8. Mobile learning
Mobile learning, or m-learning, gives students constant access to educational materials by leveraging the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets. It is particularly valuable in catering to the needs of non-traditional students, such as adult learners.
Apps and mobile-optimized platforms offer interactive, multimedia learning experiences that can be personalized to individual needs, reinforcing the trend toward personalized learning.
9. Personal learning networks (PLNs)
PLNs enable learners to connect with peers, educators, and experts worldwide, creating a network that supports their personal learning goals. With PLNs, learning is not limited to textbooks or classrooms. It's about sharing resources, ideas and experiences and learning from a global community.
PLNs also empower educators to take charge of their professional development by connecting with peers, mentors and other professionals in the education industry. This technology facilitates lifelong learning for students and educators through social media platforms, blogs, online forums and even virtual conferences.
10. Digital citizenship
As technology becomes integral to education, teaching digital citizenship is crucial. It’s about equipping students with the skills to use technology safely, responsibly and ethically. It also involves teaching them about privacy, digital footprints and online etiquette.
Educators play a vital role in teaching digital citizenship by integrating it into the curriculum and fostering discussions on topics such as internet safety, digital rights and responsibilities, cyberbullying prevention and ethical online behavior.
A New Era in Education
These groundbreaking edtech trends are restructuring the educational landscape and transforming it into a more engaging, personalized and effective experience.
As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of education technology, partnering with a company like Endava can provide the expertise and cutting-edge solutions needed to thrive in this dynamic field. Ready to explore edtech solutions and redefine the future of education? Contact us today.