EdTech Space at Present
The strong momentum of innovation in the EdTech sector offers hope that there’s a lot to look forward to in 2017. The Indian EdTech market, estimated at over $70 billion by 2017, comprises the higher education sector (50%), K12 (40%), and coaching/tutoring taking up the remaining 10%. The sector is currently one of the most exciting sectors in the Indian consumer market. Traditional education tools and methods cannot be updated real time, but the ability of these startups to push updates on an app that can be distributed to millions with no incremental cost has been very valuable to its users. However, the funding battleground could perhaps change the face of this sector as well.
(Source: Business Insider, Jan 2016)
Top Trends for 2017
Numerous upcoming trends are creating opportunities for education seekers and providers, resulting in information that can be effectively and easily accessed by the end-users. Further, continuous technological developments aids providers in creating a concrete, developed and collaborative online system.
The rise of Internet and smart device penetration has increased Young India’s online presence, both in urban and semi-urban areas. Among 462 million Internet users in India, over 74% were mobile Internet users and more than 28% were from rural India. Experts predict these numbers to grow at a much higher rate hereon, thus offering a huge e-Education opportunity. (Source: Inc 42, Jan 2016 | Internet Live Stats, 2016)
The following trends will be the ones to be excited about in 2017:
• Cloud-Based Education: Cloud computing will lead to growth in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, wearable e-learning devices, gamification and virtual reality. Eg: Many schools in US and Canada have adopted this trend, while institutes in APAC and European regions are not far behind.
• Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): In 2017, education will be transformed by leveraging AR and VR technology. Eg. Companies such as Immersive VR Education (Lecture VR app), Unimersive and Alchemy VR have already started exploring applications for VR and AR in education.
• Personalized Learning: Personalization will proliferate in 2017 whereby instruction, expression of learning and assessment will be designed to each student’s needs and preferences. Eg. Knewton, the provider of a widely deployed adaptive learning platform and one of the pioneers in the domain of personalized and adaptive learning, works with EdTech companies like Tata ClassEdge, Cengage Learning, Zkai, etc.
• Gamification: With the concept of Cascading Information Theory, learners can unlock information at every step, thus inculcating experiential learning in schools and higher education. Eg. Apps such as DuoLingo, Zondle and ClassDojo, to name a few, are exploring ways to gamify the process of learning through technology.
• Blended learning: The blend of technologies, content providers, sources and platforms will bring about a significant shift. Eg: New Hampshire schools like Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS): A La Carte, Enriched Virtual models, North Country Charter Academy: Flex model, Milan Village Elementary School: Station Rotation, Individual Rotation models have already adopted various blended learning models.
• M-Learning: It brings together flipped classes and MOOCs; HTML5 evolution will enhance the content parity across browsers. Eg: Vahan, a mobile education application, features blended classroom-and-tech based program and web-based learning management system (LMS) to consistently offer high-quality instructions and assessments.
• Invisible LMS: The LMS will be revamped into an invisible one. Sandboxed Solutions will create and host content, store student records and provide a user interface to bring it all together
• ExperiMent Learning: EdTech concepts like robotics, self-learning electronic kits, do-it-yourself (DIY) school kits and gaming will follow the Google glass trend for VR and for a diverse range of topics right from Photosynthesis to Refraction, every model will be personified.
• Rise of Smart Classrooms: Cloud computing trend in the education market will lead to growth in Smart Classrooms fortified with multimedia modules.
• The Four C’s of Education: The sector will be led by collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication, along with the tools and approaches related to collaborative learning.
• Innovative Learning Environments: Newer education models will gain traction — blended and flipped learning.
• Digital Citizenship: Improved and easily accessible 1:1 devices in addition to personalized learning initiatives will motivate providers to seek/design programs to impart digital citizenship skills.
• Project-, Problem- & Challenge-based Learning: Pedagogical frameworks will enable students in critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and self-directed learning to encourage real-life application.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” Socrates opined.
EdTech Top Themes for 2017
Numerous developments and themes will gather pace to transform the education landscape with the learner at the epicentre and the teacher being the principal pivot of the learning ecosystem. The following themes gathered momentum in 2016 and will continue to impact the sector through 2017:
New Entrants and Investments to Watch Out For
The EdTech sector in India is currently being considered as the sunrise sector, with its current status being quite encouraging; the population size, market-of-markets advantage and divergence in socioeconomic factor further inspires confidence.
Early stage startups (to name a few) that are aggressive about their expansion plans in 2017 include:
There are few startups specifically targeting the rural segments by designing products in regional languages, thus helping the government school education system.
Indian education technology companies have an unprecedented opportunity
Currently, this market is pegged at approximately $100 billion and is expected to reach $40 billion mark by 2017 with a CAGR of 17%. After the US and China, India is one of the biggest markets for online learning; with the Government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, it is set to receive $17.07 billion boost. (Source: Inc 42, Jan ’16)
The top three sectors favoured by the investors were the Internet of Things (IoT), FinTech and EdTech. According to CB insights report on the EdTech sector, US topped the charts with 67% (1300) deals, followed by India with 6% (130) deals and China with 5% (100) deals from 2011 to 2016. (Source: Financial Express, May 2016)
Over the last two quarters, the funding environment in India underwent a global slowdown. However, experts believe there is no cause for worry as the slowdown is merely a correction in certain business segments, which exhibited over-reliance on marketplace models – ecommerce, FinTech and others.
The EdTech sector is just now being explored and we have a long way to go. Heavyweight philanthropists like Azim Premji and Ratan Tata (the recent tie up of Tata Trusts with Khan Academy to cater to India) are all eyeing the education turf.
The future entrepreneurs and investors in this domain need to understand the current education scenario in India. They, along with the government, must focus on tackling obstacles in this sector and lead the way for startups. They should connect with the broader EdTech ecosystem, learn from its opportunities and threats and guide upcoming entrepreneurs to hone their strategies. While having a vision is the key, they shouldn’t overlook the numbers, especially in this space. Measuring the efficacy of learning outcomes and making an impact in the way millions think and learn is the key to succeeding in this sector.