Transforming Ed Tech – 5 Technology Trends in the Education Sector

 In Digital Transformation

It has taken a while for the digital transformation wave to reach the shores of the education sector, which has traditionally been a “Tell-Me” system in most parts of the world. The last few years have heralded a change in direction. In this post, we explore 5 key trends in Education Technology (Ed Tech) that are impacting the present and future of learning.



1. Cognitive Computing and Personalized Learning

Highly interactive and personalized learning content that is customized for individual learners – relevant in especially in child education. IBM is developing cognitive systems that will collect and analyze learning patterns from classrooms and help teachers with decision support systems as well as delivery of personalized learning. TheChan Zuckerberg Initiative is investing heavily in the area of personalized learning, with an aim of promoting improved learning and retention, especially amongst underprivileged sections with inadequate access to technology and effective learning opportunities. Delivering learning that is tailor-made for the student will be a key trend that will be driven by rapid advancements in the areas of cognitive computing and machine learning.

2. From Rich Media Content to Virtual Reality

Over the last few years, learning content has evolved to include multiple rich-media – videos, images, audio, text, animation – adhering to the latest standards such as Tin Can APIs and seamlessly packaged into effective learning modules. Delivering such learning content is only possible by leveraging cross-functional skills of user experience design, information architecture, instructional design, learning content services and product engineering. Blended learning that is an effective mix of in-person learning and technology-driven or e-learning is already an established trend in adult-education or executive education areas.

Virtual reality solutions that allow immersive experiences to be built are also having animpact on Ed Tech, and likely to be the next frontier in this area.

3. Omni-Channel Learning Content Delivery

Learning content is no longer limited to traditional delivery methods such as print. Learners expect the rich content to be available on all their devices in appropriate consumption-friendly formats. Not only should your content be able to support a wide-variety of form factors, mobile platforms and devices, but it should also allow the learner to seamlessly engage in continuous learning across multiple devices they may own. Pausing her learning video on the desktop as she wraps up work for the day, the learner should be able to continue from that point when she accesses it from her tablet as she gets on the train home. The explosion of device types, device manufacturers, form factors, platform variants – all coupled with varying user preferences for consuming learning content (any-where, any-time, any-device) make this a very important factor determining the success of learning programs.

 4. Smart Classrooms

Classroom teaching at schools and universities increasingly sees learning spaces that are enhanced by use of technology

  • Hardware and software for interactive, audio-visual learning
  • BYOD and plug-n-play setup for teachers as well as students
  • Assisted learning devices for special needs
  • Virtual reality teaching aids
  • Technology platforms for managing learning content, learner tracking and assessments

Studies show that well-deployed smart classroom solutions provide a comprehensive digital experience to their learners, increasing learner engagement and retention.

5. Learning Data and Analytics

W. Edwards Deming once said “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion”.

Learning platforms and products collect significant amounts of data today. Usage statistics, learning effectiveness, learning retention, learner interactivity and engagement are areas where this data is already being used to derive actionable insights for improving the products and the content delivered. Adaptive learning that dynamically adjusts the way instructional content is presented to students based on their responses or preference, is also used to provide scalable personalized learning. Similarly, predictive analytics are also used to improve student success and improve retention.

In 2015, IMS Global Learning Consortium – a global, non-profit, member organization in the learning and development domain- released the Caliper Analytics Interoperability Standard to drive standardization, effective sharing and utilization of learning analytics data. Caliper is already being adopted by a number of leading technology providers in the Ed Tech space. Internationally, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) has setup the Education GPS, collating global data on education policies, processes and outcomes.  Coupled with the plethora of Big Data Analytics platforms and solutions, the trend of leveraging the learning data more meaningfully to impart effective learning is here to stay.

Are there other trends in the Ed Tech space that you believe have the potential to disrupt and transform the way we learn? I’d love to hear from you!

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