Edtech – the next big thing?

Fintech has taken the world by storm and revolutionised how we bank.

Its spectacular success is not difficult to explain. Fintech start-ups identified a shift in society, led by consumer demand for innovative digital services. We want things to be easier, more accessible and instant. Fintech start-ups recognised this and took traditional financial services, added a pinch of innovation and a dash of technology, and the future of banking changed forever.

So, what is next?

Just as digitalisation has transformed the financial services industry, it is already beginning to revolutionise education.

Learning models have barely changed since schools began. A teacher stands at the front of the classroom, while students sit and listen, with learning materials being mostly physical textbooks. However, digital technologies are transforming this model. Students are increasingly using computers or tablets, and more and more teachers are using screens to deliver their lessons. Textbooks are being replaced by interactive online services, which are more up to date and in-depth, and which enable students to explore and learn at their own pace, often via distance learning.

Two main factors are driving this change.

Firstly, today’s students are children of the digital revolution and have come to expect the same digital capabilities within their learning environments.

Secondly, digital will soon be the nucleus of every industry, from human resources to healthcare and fashion. Four years from now, the U.K. alone will require 2.3 million digitally skilled workers, while only 10% of schools offer any kind of computer science class. Unless we start exposing learners to technology in the classroom, our skills gap will soon become a chasm.

There are now more than 1,000 edtech startups in Britain, contributing more than £1 billion to the U.K. economy each year. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Edtech is poised to be the biggest and most profitable digitalised sector yet.

Edtech is also a safe bet for investors. Unlike the ups and downs of the financial markets, education remains constant, sheltered from many of the pressures of the broader geopolitical landscape, and offering a safe haven for smart money from smart investors.

Three unique factors London’s EdTech sector should take advantage of

For any talk of UK tech firms leaving these islands in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum, the trend is turning out to be the reverse. Tech firms, and especially EdTech startups, have much to gain from setting up shop in London. This is thanks to a trio of legal, political and social factors unique to Europe’s largest city.

A very, very friendly government
The British government is more often noted for its history than modernity – visiting American politicians have been known to describe the raucous House of Commons as ‘the Pit’. When it comes to Britain’s technology sector, though, ministers know the value of hands-on support. Chancellor Philip Hammond used a recent trade mission to India to fly the flag for British FinTech and EdTech; Business Secretary Sajid Javid has created a Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship; and at 2016’s EdTech UK summit, the Department for Education announced plans for a bespoke British EdTech strategy. Opportunities abound for EdTech companies eying expansion to take advantage of ‘UK Plc’.

Global outlook
One of the more popular refrains these days is that Britain is leaving the EU to embrace the world. A dubious claim for many sectors, this may be more true for EdTech. There are a few unique factors that contribute – English is the global language, leading many startups to look to English-speaking countries in the Far East, especially India and Pakistan, as well as in Africa. Also, communities from around the world are well-established in London, giving the city a unique web of connections with the wider world that give the city’s tech scene a global edge. London is the world’s crossroads – what better place to look out for global opportunities and plan international expansion?

Fierce competition between schools
The capital of the UK is also the country’s most competitive educational ecosystem. In part thanks to a drive to raise standards over the last decade or so, London’s schools are a remarkable success story. The legal and political climate is increasingly ‘hands-off’, giving schools the freedom to innovate and compete. This is to say nothing of London’s universities; no city in the world has more top institutions. The competition between these institutions has created a hotbed for EdTech – especially as UK state schools have plenty of freedom to invest in – and experiment with – new technology.

For more information on EdTech, FinTech or how we can support your emerging technology in the UK, contact Goodwille today.

Make sure your company is ready for EdTech

More and more businesses are turning to EdTech to deliver workforce training, but it’s not a fool-proof practice. So, take a look at these tips to ensure your firm gets the most out of E-learning opportunities…

 

There will likely be some barriers to the introduction of e-learning. That doesn’t mean the idea should be abandoned, but it does mean you need to assess and address any issues in advance. The psychological, environmental, technological and financial implications of e-learning are all factors to be taken into consideration.

Do your staff have the technical ability for e-learning? Do they enjoy using software, or do they respond better to more traditional training? Do you have suitable training areas that can be equipped to the necessary level? Will your budget cover the initial, and ongoing, costs of e-learning?

Fully investigate whether to buy the software or develop it yourself

There’s a wealth of software that can be bought with readymade e-learning content, but does it meet your specific criteria? Off-the-shelf software is often a cost-effective option for companies with generic training needs, but it’s not geared towards unusual or unique firms.

Developing custom EdTech is a possibility to be explored by businesses with the right in-house resources, but for those that don’t, outsourcing is a popular option.

Select appropriate subjects

E-learning covers a wide range of areas, but it’s not the optimum way to deliver all training. The best way to find out what subjects are suitable is to run comparative tests.

Select a topic and teach it to one group of employees by using traditional methods, and then train another group using the software. Comparing results and analysing feedback will help you to decide which types of training you should utilise EdTech for.

If you need assistance with training, then Goodwille is here to help. We can provide a full people management service, or simply share our extensive knowledge with your in-house staff. To find out more about Goodwille’s HR work, and our other high-quality support services, please contact a member of our team.