Learning to Fly the Hybrid Way: EdTech’s Boom and Opportunities

Lakshmi Sridhar

Up the Hockey Stick Curve

“EdTech” has evolved over the last few years and emerged to become the fastest growing sector during Covid-19. Increase in digitization, the start-up ecosystem continuously innovating to provide new services, the ever evolving consumer base and the COVID-19 situation has given the sector a huge boost. EdTech (Education Technology) has become a global phenomenon, and as distribution and platforms scale internationally, the market is ripe for growth. 

Lifelong learning is the trend of the 21st century. In a fast evolving economy where skill sets are continuously growing and getting updated, people are eager to learn and polish their skills but often can’t do so within the traditional educational ecosystem. Tech based learning models offer a way to overcome these changes and offer solutions for re-skilling as well as addressing widespread workforce shortages. Previously considered a secondary option and at most, a supplement to traditional methods of school learning, EdTech is now fast becoming an essential service, and also leading to more EdTech jobs. 

Here are the different types of Edtech startups:

Source: https://appinventiv.com/blog/why-top-vcs-are-investing-in-edtech/

What Lies Ahead

The present scenario of online learning is expected to continue and hybrid / blended learning is set to become the new normal in the near future. We recently conducted a small survey where we asked senior HR and Tech professionals, if they think hybrid learning is here to stay, beyond the current pandemic. Upto 81% agreed that it definitely will. 

With educational institutions all over the world redesigning because of the current situation, blended learning has become widely popular. The trends that had begun to emerge during the pre Covid times are now shaping the future of many EdTech companies. While the upward curve of EdTech has attracted many investors, it has also led multiple traditional players to finally embrace digital transformation in the form of hybrid learning. 

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emphasises the importance of applied learning, multiple pathways to learning and resource sharing. In addition to this, there is an importance given to technology-enabled pedagogy from grade 6. There will soon be a need for networked schools, and the future of education will pivot on blended and skill-based learning, thus redefining the curriculum and medium of instruction.

Global & Domestic Outlook

Global EdTech is dominated by select countries based on key parameters like VC Funding, number of EdTech start-ups headquarters, unicorns, acquisitions etc. India has the 2nd highest EdTech enterprises hub after the USA. Indian EdTech startups have collectively raised over $795 million in the first half of 2020 as compared to $108 million in the previous year. 

At this point, one could safely say that the relevance of the Indian EdTech sector is only primed for more aggressive growth in the years to come.

Given this scenario, EdTech companies and their services have seen a major increase in their usage. Numerous platforms have been launched, re-advertised, upgraded and made even more accessible to the average consumer due to their growing demand in these unprecedented times. EdTech startups such as Byju’s, Simplilearn, Unacademy, Vedantu etc. are leading the disruption in Indian EdTech landscape.

EdTech’s Impact on Skills and Jobs

Emerging technologies (AR/VR, AI, ML, Robotics, Block chain) based EdTech companies have seen a rise in market demand due to increase in advanced technology expenditure. These technologies are also driving up the program spend on up-skilling and reskilling programs by working professionals.

With the unprecedented growth being witnessed by the sector, there has been a surge in demand for online educators. Owing to this boom in digital learning and increased investor interest, many EdTech players have increased the speed of hiring. These include permanent, contract or gig roles across the board. Some roles such as Product Management, Engineering, Sales, UI UX designers, and other technical roles are in very high demand currently. Also service providers of Infrastructure as a service, data security, automation, AI, Data Analytics have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this boom. 

In Conclusion

While 2020 may bring more challenges along, it is highly likely that there will be incredible growth and development along the way. Overall, the EdTech sector and Hybrid Learning is set for a takeoff propelled with entry of new players, emergence of new business models and increasing demand for new-age skills training.

Authored by Lakshmi Sridhar | Vice President| Catenon | Linkedin Profile

Lakshmi has over two decades of experience in HR & Executive Search. She actively works with consumer tech and technology clients.

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