Envisioning the personalized edtech of tomorrow
Here's why a personalized and lifelong learning solution is the future of education--and edtech in particular
Before the pandemic, the trend for more personalized, learner-centric experiences in education already existed—the resulting lockdowns merely accelerated digital transformation, which continues to gain momentum across industries.
Dubbed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” our entire world is rapidly digitizing, which means jobs—and the knowledge and skills they require—are changing faster than ever. As a result, the half-life of the newest technology is shrinking rapidly, and the skills gap is widening with potentially detrimental effects.
Today’s workers must continuously learn and evolve throughout their careers, making the need for upskilling and reskilling more vital. While technology continues to advance, a single degree or credential will not sustain the average worker, as today’s younger generations switch jobs and industries far more than their parents and grandparents did.
Edtech companies can position themselves to successfully provide breakthrough education solutions as people of all ages and skill levels take charge of their own lifelong learning. The market is ready for a leader who can capitalize on this opportunity.
Seeking demand and becoming more adaptable and flexible
Today’s learners are overwhelmed as they navigate apps, videos, IoT devices, and real-time online lessons–many of which they have never used before. To become a market leader, edtech companies must bridge disconnected learning experiences and reimagine how to serve learners for life at every age and skill level. Edtech companies must become more adaptable and flexible, understanding needs and meeting people where they want to learn. Transforming into a more agile business also means being willing to pivot to find where demand is naturally. Two exemplar enterprises that encapsulate this mindset are Amazon and Google. They have stretched and expanded themselves into the ecosystems of services and brands that consumers want—from healthcare and cloud services to entertainment and electronics.
An ecosystem that provides opportunities for every age level of the learner journey
To create a business model that is highly customizable and capable of finding and pursuing demand, edtech companies must build a data-driven ecosystem that can accompany learners through every stage of their lives—from preschool through high school and throughout their professional lives, leisure time and retirement.
This ecosystem wouldn’t be focused on schools or teachers. Instead, it would center around the learner and be highly personalized, serving as a progress tracker that provides supplemental material and insights into the learner’s skills and challenges through machine learning. At the earliest stages of the student’s development, the ecosystem, which would encompass apps, devices, and hands-on learning experiences, could help the student learn the alphabet and distinguish between numbers and colors. Through middle school and high school, it would anticipate the user’s future needs while also tracking how the student best learns so that content is engaging. Likewise, the ecosystem must ensure smooth transitions between learning at home and learning at school–offering online tutoring for difficult classes when the student is struggling, for example. Then, in preparation for graduation, the ecosystem would suggest summer internships and post-secondary education opportunities to the learner, based on the information and data it collects. Even in college, the ecosystem would deliver content and track progress as it learns and anticipates what the user needs for success.
Reimagining how to serve learners for life
Not only should this ecosystem follow the learner through their education journey, but it should also help them successfully transition into their first job and beyond. When it comes time to match the learner with employers, the ecosystem can rely on the years of data and insights gathered for the best fit possible. But it won’t stop there – designed to be flexible and versatile, it could connect with the employee’s portal or account to assist with further professional development. From home, the user could continue to take courses in subjects they are interested in, honing their skills. Whether practicing recreational hobbies or taking management courses, the ecosystem would always supply content directly to the user’s devices. By continuously learning, the ecosystem would also become more personalized as the user ages, offering wellness content, physical education and even volunteer opportunities. Eventually, the user would view this ecosystem as a trusted partner that grows and evolves alongside them throughout their educational and career journey.
Finding a forward-thinking partner
The market opportunity for lifelong learning is enormous, as our society is far more accustomed to and dependent on devices for learning needs. Edtech companies that create solutions capable of growing with the consumer, leveraging data for smart customization, will have unparalleled success. Crafting, building, and delivering such digital solutions is a monumental task requiring the help of a trusted partner who specializes in strategy, data analytics, experience design and learning platforms. Additionally, this partner would need to possess a range of forward-thinking expertise to facilitate the lifelong learner experience described above. Regardless of how this solution comes into being, it will require a reimagined approach to education to fit within the post-pandemic paradigm.