EdTech is changing the way we learn

26 February 2019

Educational technology is reshaping the way students learn, providing a more dynamic experience in place of the traditional textbook-based approach and driving improved student outcomes

Web-based tools help teachers identify and address student learning gaps, while short interactive games can reinforce complex lessons.

The sector's embrace of technology is making education more accessible globally, with the capacity to extend the reach of the classroom to areas lacking quality education.

It is also driving significant investment opportunities in the education sector, with workplace development and learning seen as one of the biggest growth avenues.

"EdTech is going to significantly change the way students learn over the next 10 years," says Sam Shah, Head of Services, AEA Group, Macquarie Capital.

"It's the next frontier for the way people consume education on a daily basis, providing personalized, flexible learning across the student journey."

"For almost the entire history of education, the model has been textbook-based where students are expected to absorb much of the subject matter through reading," says Allison Harden, Senior Vice President, Macquarie Capital.

“That style of learning doesn't suit every student, and it's not universally accessible."

"EdTech is the next frontier for the way people consume education on a daily basis, providing personalized flexible learning across the student journey. "

"Advancements in education technology and services remove those barriers and gives everyone the ability to access affordable education in a format tailored to their individual learning style."

Shah and Harden cite numerous ways technology can be used to improve student outcomes, including gamification, the use of virtual reality to allow students to test different scenarios and digital curriculums to keep courses current.

Professional training is seen as one of the most significant market opportunities, as companies look to increase the skills and job satisfaction of their staff and reduce employee churn. Furthermore, EdTech also has the potential to enable the equitable distribution of education globally, says Allison Harden.

A 2015 Unesco report found EdTech could help redress the 'extreme shortage of teaching materials' in Sub-Saharan Africa, although to do so successfully it will need to rely on different technologies to the developed world - most notably mobile. Poor infrastructure in West Africa means few people have a reliable internet connection but 63 per cent have access to a mobile phone.

While EdTech may have incredible transformative potential, it is still in the "early innings," says Shah. The education sector is currently a $US6 trillion industry with a market capitalization of just $US150 billion, according to global education researcher HolonIQ.

This compares with the $US10 trillion global healthcare industry which has a market capitalization of $US5 trillion.

HolonIQ forecasts this will change rapidly, with investment in advanced technology in the education sector rising seven-fold by 2025.

Over the same period, it expects more than 100 education companies to reach a market capitalization greater than $US1 billion. In 2015, there were just 10.

"EdTech could be a more important evolution than FinTech," says Shah.

“If you look at the pie of global consumption, the four basics are food, healthcare, housing and education."