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Edtech - modernising education in an ever-growing digital landscape

Learning technologies have long been hailed as a way to improve access to education and learning results, particularly in the rhetoric produced by edtech companies. According to a recent McKinsey analysis, children from the United States who used their devices for more than 60 minutes each week performed better academically, a criterion that varies by country.

While the digital era has opened up incredibly diverse and exciting opportunities for people around the world, it has also amplified the degree of competition to gain such opportunities. Gone are the days when a bachelor’s degree was sufficient to get a solid start on your career path. Instead, education must be an ongoing investment in your career potential to diversify your skills and help you stand out amongst the plethora of people fighting for any given position.

Of course, digitalisation is also influencing the way that we educate. The integration of edtech (education technology) has made education more individualised, engaging, and much more accessible. This young industry fundamentally supports the development and application of tools (including software, hardware, and appropriate technological processes) intended to promote education.

Edtech for educators

When appropriate edtech tools are skillfully introduced to the classroom, educators will find that they offer support and make the material more engaging to their students. According to BuiltIn.com, the four greatest benefits of edtech for educators are:

  • Automated grading – a huge time and energy saver;
  • Classroom management tools that offer support and simplify communication;
  • Paperless classrooms – less waste, while saving time and energy;
  • Reducing guesswork – as data tracking and live feedback can quickly highlight strengths and weaknesses.

    As digitalisation continues to transform every aspect of our modern society, it is necessary for educators to remain open to new possibilities and embrace this evolution, as these tools can have profound benefits for everyone involved.

    Edtech for learners

    When we consider the benefits of EdTech for learners, it is important to keep in mind that learners are not just children in standard school systems. Especially nowadays, learners come in all ages and abilities. Some of the primary benefits of edtech for learners include increased collaboration, unlimited access to learning and support materials, personalised lesson plans to suit varying learning styles, and learning material that is more engaging through visual, interactive, and even gaming elements.

    Who’s leading the way?

    Although the edtech industry includes a huge variety of tools, one of the largest sectors is that of online learning platforms and Coursera has emerged as a leader in the field. One might consider that both Linkedin Learning and Udemy have succeeded at becoming the most popular choices with the masses - yet Coursera differentiated itself in interesting ways.

    What makes Coursera unique is that the platform offers a range of learning products from free lectures to fully online degree programs from over 150 of the world’s top universities and companies. With thousands of offerings ranging from open courses to full diploma-bearing degrees, Coursera serves learners in their homes, through their employers, through their colleges and universities, as well as government-sponsored programmes.

    As of 31 December 2020, the platform had more than 77 million learners registered and over 2,000 subscription-paying organisations. Udemy under its current CEO, Gregg Coccari, also showed a remarkable ability to maintain growth and sustain a spot as a top alternative.

    Coursera’s former leading IT product management expert, Kapeesh Saraf, was a key player in establishing the platform’s success and reputation. He introduced the on-demand aspect of the platform, allowing users to take on courses at any time. He then went on to develop the “auto-cohorts” structure, which increased course completion rates by 300% and helped Coursera rapidly scale the platform.

    He also helped design and implement the “stackable degree model”, which structured Coursera’s programmes to be applicable to credit for their future degree pursuits. In his own words, “This levels the playing field and provides an opportunity to those who don’t meet the traditional admissions criteria of top universities but have the underlying skills.”

    Why embrace edtech

    There are various substantial advantages to educational technology. Educators think that different children learn in various ways and at different speeds. The ability to access education and training at their own speed and time is a major benefit cited by online learning students. Education and ongoing professional training are considerably more accessible to all types of people, in all types of settings, thanks to the flexibility of accessing online learning at whatever time is most suitable for the learner.

    The massive potential cost reductions in education is an evident and significant benefit of edtech. Online e-learning is a fraction of the expense of a major university or even a small community college. Obtaining a degree or extra professional certification is considerably more reasonable for anyone interested in increasing their knowledge and skills thanks to the lower cost of online learning.

    Final thought

    As the world is becoming more digital, all aspects of the economy have to adapt. Embracing technology in the education field can only be advantageous and should be embraced as a tool to broaden our means of attaining knowledge.

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