Bridging the Education Gap: Harnessing Market Research to bolster the accessibility and effectiveness of EdTech
January 2024, by Ben Davis
The International Day of Education on January 24th is a UN initiative highlighting the global importance of education as a universal right and a catalyst for progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4, the right to quality education. The day helps emphasise the need for inclusive and quality learning opportunities for everyone, regardless of background, bringing education gaps, inequalities and solutions to the forefront of international political and social discourse.
In the UK, technology has significantly shaped education enhancing accessibility and personalising learning experiences. Unfortunately, this is not the case worldwide and the challenge of securing quality education for all and reducing education inequalities remains prominent. As the world celebrates The International Day of Education, it is crucial to recognise the challenges faced by learners and educators alike and the role that technology can play in bridging this gap. To navigate this complex terrain, it is crucial for Ed Tech companies to stay ahead of the curve, and market research emerges as a powerful tool to bridge this gap effectively.
The COVID impact
Statistics paint a stark picture of educational disparities around the globe. According to UNICEF data, about 260 million children were out of school in 2018, nearly one-fifth of the global population in that age group, and more than half of all children and adolescents worldwide are failing to meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these inequalities, with millions of students transitioning to online learning due to school closures. Missing vital face-to-face contact hours with teachers has left some students behind, most notably those without access to technology However, whilst the lack of access to technology has hindered some it also meant the Education Technology sector boomed and ensured millions had continued education throughout the pandemic.
The future of Ed Tech
Aside from the implications of the COVID pandemic, the increasing demand for online learning platforms is evident, as indicated by the rise in enrolment numbers and the proliferation of educational technology startups. Forbes has predicted that from 2022 to 2030, this market is expected to grow annually by 16.5% and is expected to expand 2.5 times from 2019 to 2025, up to $404 billion in 2025.
Zoom lectures, virtual classrooms, and online courses may form EdTech’s foundation, but the industry goes much further than that. Now, gamification, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality have all made their way into Ed Tech and are changing the way people learn — from early childhood to professional life. A significant part of venture investments was made in professional or corporate education and upskilling with 48% of Ed Tech investment deals belonging to the workforce education segment in 2020.
However, the question remains: are these platforms meeting the diverse needs of learners and educators?
To address this question, EdTech companies must consider diverse perspectives and accessibility is a critical concern that needs to be prioritised. EdTech is in a great position to accelerate access to education in all corners of the globe. While many underserved communities currently lack access to reliable internet connectivity and adequate technology infrastructure, EdTech companies are leading efforts towards making education more accessible through offline modes, mobile optimisation, and partnerships with local initiatives.
Another aspect that needs attention is the inclusivity and diversity of educational content. A one-size-fits-all approach may not effectively cater to the requirements of diverse learners. Companies should strive to develop customised content that considers different learning styles, cultural contexts, and multiple languages that can be implemented globally to ensure that the content is inclusive and representative.
The role of Market Research
Market research plays an essential role in addressing the gap between educational demand and what educational technology companies offer. Understanding the needs and preferences of learners, educators, and educational institutions is crucial in developing tailored solutions and market research can help Ed Tech companies do this. By gathering data on user preferences, pain points, and the effectiveness of existing tools, Ed Tech companies can then develop targeted and customised solutions that truly address the demands of the educational community.
Market research can reveal insights into the accessibility challenges faced by different user groups, helping companies design products and services that can cater to a diverse audience. This not only ensures a broader market reach but also contributes to the positive societal impact of education technology.
Market research can also help companies identify gaps in the market, discover emerging trends, and make informed decisions regarding product development and marketing strategies, helping EdTech companies navigate the challenges discussed.
In conclusion, as we celebrate The International Day of Education, it is important to highlight the pressing issues facing education and what Ed Tech companies can do to help bridge the education gap. By addressing factors like accessibility, inclusivity, and diverse perspectives, these companies can play a pivotal role in ensuring equal access to quality education for all. Market research can help Ed Tech companies who seek to align their offerings with the evolving needs of the education sector and contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable learning environment. Through our insights the team her at MM-Eye stand ready to accelerate progress towards the fourth sustainable development goal, helping to ensure quality education for all.