Ed Tech is a highly visible sector in the entrepreneurial and start-up markets.  In August 2017, The Guardian reported the industry would be worth €146 Billion by the year 2020.  Despite the sunny financial outlook, every sector faces challenges.

Ed Tech Magazine reported in 2015 the top five challenges faced by the education technology sector were budget limits, inadequate professional training, resistance to change, inadequate infrastructure, and unreliable hardware and software.

In 2017, eLearning Industry, a website dedicated to promotion of the industry sector, reported the top four challenges being resistance to change, cost limitation, the disconnect between educational theory and action-based platforms, and the volume of offerings within the sector.

2018 Sector Challenges

Earlier this January, SI News reported the largest challenges facing the education sector, not only the technology portion, will be the changing job market, increasing the focus on social and emotional intelligence, and educational technology.

Ed Tech promises to revolutionise the education – everything from “homework assignments and marking to giving students with special needs the support they require”, according to SI News.  However, educators are asking for new and innovative offerings, according to an article published by Forbes Magazine earlier this month.

The blog WizIQ reports the top challenges within the technology segment of the sector as lack of universal accessibility, absence of uniform content, lack of professional training, low in classroom adoption rates, cost limitations, and high volume of competing product offerings.  Not much has changed within the traditional education market segment.

Sector Fragmentation

WizIQ reports one of the largest disruptive trends to hit the sector in 2018 will be mobile learning.  “A Flurry Data report suggests a 69% increase in in-app time in 2016. This metamorphosis in the EdTech industry led to an increased reliance on mobile-learning, empowering students to adapt to advanced educational technology cutting across socio-economic and geographical boundaries”

In mid-2017, The Guardian had identified this trend, stating “while many startups focus on schools, others recognise that education in the 21st century doesn’t just rely on the classroom”.

There is a whole segment of self-learning within the digital market place.  “It’s not just teachers looking for new, fun products to aid with developing 21st-century skills, but parents too as they look to supplement their child’s education out of school,” says Filippo Yacob, CEO of Primo Toys, the company behind award-winning toy Cubetto told The Guardian, in the same article.  “The things that we need to learn today aren’t necessarily learned at school. Education is often based on a very traditional system which doesn’t always accommodate new ways of learning and new ways of thinking,” Yacob continued.

“The world of learning and play are becoming closer together and are becoming more integrated,” says CEO Bethany Koby to The Guardian in 2017.

Home Grown Talent

Alfred Hofer of Vision Education chatted with us earlier this month about their offerings for every language learner.  The LearnMatch app, developed by Vision Education, offers high quality language training.

Last year was a big year for Vision Education.  They launched their initial LearnMatch app and partnered with some of the largest companies in Austria to provide access to language learning opportunities.

For 2018, they hope the app will “have a greater international reach”.  From a local market segment perspective the hope is LearnMatch will be adopted “across Austrian classrooms as its unique gamification-elements and its LiveMatch feature gives kids and young people a motivational boost for vocabulary-training”.   The experience will be a new one for parents and teachers looking for innovative language learning offerings, Hofer continues.

Echoing Koby above, Hofer says “learning almost happens automatically when embedded in a playful and emotional context like football – all that is LearnMatch”.

 

 

Jennifer Cornick

Jennifer Cornick

Freelance journalist and blogger for various publications in Vienna. When I am not writing, I can generally be found with a book (or anything with words on it - even cereal boxes). Photo Credit: Aneta Pawlik