Of late, there has been a widespread proliferation of edtech companies in India. These companies are providing new and innovative ways of delivering academic lessons, thereby improving the teacher-student equation while enhancing the learning outcomes of students. Pow­e­ring the edtech growth are key technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), ma­chine learning (ML), predictive analysis, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These technologies are re­de­fining the entire education paradigm and contributing to the growth of the edtech sector. As such, as per industry estimates, the value of the edtech sector in India will gr­ow to $30 billion in the next 10 years. Much of the credit goes to mobile techno­logy, cloud services and VR, which are creating new possibilities for accessible, immersive learning.

A look at the key trends dominating the edtech space and the use cases of new-age technologies in the sector….


Key use cases of new-age technologies in the edtech space


A number of experts feel that blockchain technology could be a significant force in the edtech field. This is because the technology could be used in several areas such as examination management, student credential verification and certificate verification. These traditionally weak areas have limited the overall expansion and growth of the sector in different parts of the country. Hence, blockchain might be the innovation needed to take things to the next level.

AI for customised learning experience

AI has made its mark in almost all sectors, including the education domain. It has helped in providing a better definition and structure to the whole system of online learning and teaching. Since its inception, the promise of online education has been to ensure better learning outcomes by providing more interactive and engaging content to students. AI has added another lay­er of value to this process through automation, making it more engaging than ever. With the help of AI, the edtech sector is personalising the learning experience of each student. AI tools and devices are also en­abling global classrooms, which are accessible to all students regardless of their language or disabilities. For instance, a free PowerPoint plug-in, Presentation Tra­nslator, develops subtitles for lectures in real time. Amongst various new edtech players, Leverage Edu, a career guidance platform, uses AI to mentor students on their career journey. This tool helps them receive guidance regarding college appli­ca­tions and suggests programmes to improve their skills.

Machine learning

An extended application of AI, ML allows machines and systems to learn from experience without needing to be programmed to perform a particular task. This characteristic of the technology is becoming particularly useful in the edtech space, as companies are looking for ways to cons­tantly evolve their offerings in response to the new and emerging needs of stude­nts. ML in the education industry is helping companies differentiate themselves as edtech players by letting them focus on using new technologies and exploring innovative possibilities. In addition, predictive analysis, a by-product of ML, is helping edtech platforms offer more accurate results to their students. ML enables these platforms to deploy the predictive analysis method, which encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from data mining to predictive modelling, to assess past and present data in order to make predictions about future results. The knowledge of the future results of a student enables teachers and authorities to frame proactive strategies for the betterment of the student.

Another advantage of ML in the education sector is that it allows better organisation and management of content and daily curricula for teachers. Moreover, ML is helping bridge the gap between students and teachers by providing automated systems for booking appointments between teachers and students based on their respective routines.

Owing to the wide portfolio of use cases that ML has in the education sector, various edtech start-ups have started leveraging this technology. For instance, Mumbai-based iSchoolConnect helps students by easing the college search and application process. The company uses predictive modelling to guide students in finding the course that is most suitable for them. The platform has also made a single interface for students through which they can submit their applications to multiple universities.

Integration of VR, AR, XR in daily learning

At present, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are dominating the edtech technology trends. Technology has transformed the classroom learning experience, making it more immersive. With the help of AR/VR, students can view en­hanced versions of images and objects on their mobile devices. For instance, Th­rissur-based Infusory has developed an AR tool, TutAR, which enables teaching thro­ugh simple AR visualisations. An­other ed­tech company, Smartivity, ma­kes the lear­ning process efficient and easy with the use of VR.

One of the biggest challenges that pla­nners and decision-makers have faced in promoting digital education at all levels is maintaining learners’ concentration and attention during lectures. This is even mo­re challenging in the context of young learners whose attention could be diverted easily. Hence, the focus of edtech companies is shifting towards addressing this recurring issue through the integration of VR, AR and extended reality in daily lear­ning. Apart from ensuring interactive learning, these technologies help build virtual laboratories for science and technology students, allowing edtech companies to offer more practical subjects online. Hen­ce, alongside delivering lectures and assessments to students, edtech companies should look at including these factors in the education process.

Key trends dominating the edtech space

Personalised education

Personalised education is becoming the new normal as classrooms now are much mo­re diverse and complex, and access to technology is helping craft a better res­ponse to each student’s needs. Technology tools can help teachers give students differentiated learning experiences outside of the established curriculum.

Gamification of education

Edutainment is a term that has been making the rounds in the sector for some time now and establishing its presence effectively. Learning while playing educational games brings in an experiential approach to knowledge acquisition that keeps students hooked on to learning and encourages more multisensory involvement.

Hybrid learning

Due to closures during the pandemic, educational institutions are adopting online technologies rapidly. Amidst all this, hy­brid learning is making the cut within the sector. According to industry experts, a new hybrid model of education will emerge combining a bit of brick and mortar with online learning. Further, introducing hybrid learning will provide the much-needed flexibility to students and teachers with respect to carefully curated e-content. To this end, edtech, in collaboration with both private and government educational institutions, can also create a well-designed educational infrastructure and delivery model.

The way forward

The growing prominence of digital education and edtech firms will help enormously in fulfilling the government’s agenda of Education for All”, and in im­proving the quality and scope of elementary and higher education in the country, as outlined in the National Ed­u­cation Policy (NEP), 2020. Approved by the union cabinet in July 2020, the NEP, 2020 lays special emphasis on online and digital education, opening up a slew of opportunities for the edtech sector. This will help in driving further growth of the sector.