Post Pandemic Strategy of Ed-Tech Startups
Integration & Innovation
From facilitating integrated learning of students to enabling teacher-learner community, the growth of Ed-Tech startups seemed to proliferate through the thick and thin of covid- 19 induced containment. Like every other disruption caused by the pandemic, the educational and career plans of our youth were also deterred due to the country-wise imposed lockdown. While the major impediments including lack of physical classrooms, mass dropouts, and inequitable access to the internet widened the education gap; on the other hand, Ed-Tech ventures were at their best in their efforts to democratize education.
Indeed! The changes brought by the covid 19 pandemic in the field of education are so revolutionary that even a decade of planning and deliberation wouldn’t have managed to do, what has been achieved in just 2 years of lockdown.
Below are the covid induced challenges, and how they were transformed into opportunities to reinvent and make quality education accessible to many.
- Lack of physical classrooms = A roadmap for democratizing education through accessible courses
- Lack of Monitoring = An opportunity to include parents in their child’s growth
- Lack of assessments = augmentation of schools with advanced technological tools
- Learning gaps = Remediation through granular observation
Through all these breathtaking changes, the disruption of technology overcame the disruption made by covid. This made Ed-Tech rank in more than $10 billion in venture capital investment globally in 2020. So, while we make integrated, blended, and diversified learning into a reality, let us consider what is important to keep all of this innate in the post-pandemic period where the dynamics will most likely change.
Strategic Alignment for Market Expansion
A. Innovation & growth — Covid 19 has put a spotlight on the gaps and inefficiencies that exist in the educational sector in terms of a seamless operation. It has put forth an opportunity for Ed-tech startups to hone their hat of perpetual innovation.
Below are the 3 innovations, if utilized creatively can build the landscape of Ed-tech startups to drive market growth.
1. Organizing information — A transition of a one-click seamless experience to reduce the bombardment of information.
2. Intelligence curator for adaptive learning — AI personalization that leverages real-time data and caters to adaptive learning.
3. Syndication and consolidation — Ed-tech consolidation with partnerships, acquisition, buyouts, and initial public offerings to differentiate themselves in an increasingly saturated market.
B. Building ed-tech into the existing education curriculum — Indian education is widely known for its focus on academics. However, this is driving critical challenges of increased pricing and limited opportunities for a large number of students to attain quality education. This gap demands diversified skill enhancement that suits industry standards. Ed Tech can play a vital role here with a growth rate compounded at 30%.
To drive this growth, we need the amalgamation of Artificial intelligence, multilingual content enabling, and virtual reality-based closed learning loops. Government policies including the National Education Policy can also become a growth driver for this. With NEP 2020 emphasizing the need on using digital platforms to democratize education, it renders Ed-tech ventures a level playing field to provide an end-to-end solution with cost-efficient programs made by disrupting technology that reduces the faculty labor costs.
Autonomous forums including NETF are setting directives for educational institutes for adopting industry best practices with the help of ed-tech startups. Leveraging this opportunity has a huge potential for startups to maintain a sustained market expansion.
Digital Inclusion — A leadership strategy
Vision and Ethos — To align the vision with delivery, Ed-tech needs to capture the learner feedback to see if there was any design gap. This will also end up stirring innovation among team members of companies to perpetually contribute the best ideas and practices.
Filling up the pedagogical gap — While the companies keep on expanding, there is a need to acknowledge the importance of professional development to prepare staff and teachers to learn using the current pedagogical foundation including data literacy, analytics, and feedback generation, all of which is very important to create a seamless delivery experience.
Co-Construction with students — Apple has been assisting a large number of student ambassadors, who receive training from tech specialists, enhance their industry skills and become a key driver for organic growth. This can be a huge precedent for Ed-tech startups to follow creating a two-way exchange between students and companies. Where the startups facilitate digital literacy and employability skills of students and in return, the companies receive enhanced credibility and program promotion.
Opportunities to Collaborate
Tie up with apps — Out of all the pressing needs to meet the educational gap, the most significant of all is the gap in students’ engagement with the material. To fill this gap, the ventures need tech-savvy tools to create better visuals that capture users’ attention with a seamless experience. One of the easiest ways to do that is through cloud applications allowing multiple users at the same time. Many companies including Byju’s, Unacademy, and Mathresso, are paving the learning platform for students to work together by collaborating with apps namely Google Apps, Today’s Meet, Talk Board, etc., setting precedents for other startups to follow.
Influencer Marketing (Momfluencer) — Professional advisors, consultants, teachers, educational board! What does come to your mind when you think of ed-tech influencers? Well! This norm seems to be changing with Moms leading this race. A big example of this has been set by Vedantu’s influencer campaign wherein mom influencers drove parents’ trust in coding. And with the growing engagement of parents in their child’s development in the pandemic, the trend is here to stay. This trend sets up mom influencers as the next key for influencer marketing that ed-tech startups can tap into.
With 46% of millennial mothers trusting mom influencers for their child’s skill-based enhancement, it can set the right tone for startups catering to k12 kids when they collaborate with such influencers whose followers perfectly fit the audience criteria.
Covid 19 spotlighted a huge gap in tech innovation and optimization in the education sector. EdTech with the help of digitization and virtual reality can greatly supplement the learning process by enhancing personalized learning and engaging avenues of skillset.
Whether or not they can overcome significant barriers to infrastructure and operation posed by the industries will depend upon how quickly they can sustain and adapt to an ever-evolving world of life-long learning. And the key to this lies in innovating the way content is delivered. To ensure, that they not only put up content on a screen but innovate on how the content is integrated on-screen.
In other words, if 2020 showed us how hard “Zoom school” really is, then 2021 should not be about creating more versions of Zoom schools. It should be about playing an entirely different universe.