EdTech is Booming. Here’s How to Keep Up.

The global digital education sector is projected to reach $7 trillion by 2027, reflecting an 18.1% year-over-year compounded annual growth rate. With 33 edtech unicorns, the industry is ahead of many business sectors and at the forefront of empowering the customers who depend on their services. Investments in edtech have also been booming. The amount raised in 2020 and 2021 was as high as that raised in the previous six years.

But what’s the best way to take advantage of this growth? And what challenges does the industry face due to this boom? Here are some steps edtech companies can take now to capitalize on the expansion of the industry and prepare for impending risks.

 

Expand Online Learning Solutions Beyond Educational Sectors


With the sudden shift to online learning, edtechs rushed to the market to release tech-friendly solutions. Having completed the transition and now flooded with funding — $8.3 billion in the U.S. alone — the world looks to education technology, wondering, what’s next?

Edtechs must build recognition beyond school systems. After 2020, edtech became synonymous with e-learning. However, education technology isn’t just for schools and universities; employers are embracing online learning at staggering rates—40% of Fortune 500 companies use online learning resources to train their employees.

Providing customers exactly what they want gives them confidence in your offering and positions your business as a leading solutions provider in a challenging market. Here are some niche areas that educational technology companies can focus on:

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Online Cybersecurity Education


Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important component of a successful business. Moreover, many companies are scrambling to find qualified professionals that can help them protect their network and digital assets. Educational companies can directly address this need by offering cybersecurity courses online.

First responder cybersecurity education: Teach IT teams about new cybersecurity tools and procedures they can use to best protect the company’s digital assets.

 

Cyber hygiene: Teach employees and executives what they can do to maintain proper cyber hygiene and support the efforts of the IT team.

Specific upskill-based training: Offer courses aimed at teaching small groups of people specific skills they need to protect different environments or qualify for more responsibility.


Learners, with or without a cybersecurity background, may be drawn to these kinds of courses simply due to the high-profile news stories they see weekly. In addition, companies that need to upskill their internal cybersecurity professionals may also want to take advantage of these kinds of courses.

Online Financial Analyst Education


Any edtech company offering online coursework to adults should consider incorporating financial analyst certification courses, mainly because they can address the needs of a diverse range of learners, including those engaging in the Great Resignation.

The ability to make money from home, particularly for advisory and consultant services, appeals to a wide array of people. Some of those participating in the Great Resignation aren’t necessarily resigning from work altogether. Instead, they’re leaving their current job to pursue another profession they feel is a better fit. Getting the right financial analyst certification can significantly increase their job prospects for financial and bank professionals.

Job Prep Courses


The line between traditional college education and job preparation has been getting increasingly blurry in recent years, especially because many companies value experience and skills more than a college degree. This is to the advantage of edtech companies because it elevates the value of their courses, making them more marketable.
 

Job preparation courses can be aimed at a huge spectrum of learners, including:

• Upskillers seeking to qualify for raises or promotions
• Career switchers who need skills to pivot from one profession to another
• Recent high school grads looking to enter the job market quicker
• Employers searching for ways to take their current workforce to the next level

 

Solve For New Education Sector Challenges


The Covid-19 pandemic forced many parents and students to reconsider the value of traditional, on-campus education. This has caused a significant shift in how the edtech sector operates. More non-traditional, hybrid learning environments are necessary to meet the needs of students, educators and parents alike.

Edtech companies have the unique opportunity to empower this new desire of learning to push the edtech sector forward. Here are some ways educational technology companies can level-up their educational offerings:

Elementary Education


The global e-learning market is expected to reach $457.8 billion by 2026, and the demand is coming from a diverse arrangement of markets, including the parents of young learners. Because there are 34.1 million pre-K to 8th-grade students in the U.S. alone, it’s no surprise that the collective edtech valuation is over $100 billion.

This may be because, whether it’s concern over the children’s health or just a desire for more options outside of the traditional educational sphere, parents need additional choices. Educational technology companies are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this movement, mainly because they already have at least some of the infrastructure necessary to address this demand.

A comprehensive elementary educational online program should include elements such as:

• Interactive teaching environments
• Social and emotional support systems
• Clear codes of conduct and behavioral expectations
• Regular communication with parents

In addition, an educational technology company can set up systems that allow for social interactions that can support the emotional growth of students. These may include games, digital “field days,” and interactive digital field trips.

Secondary Education

 


Adding secondary education to a portfolio of digital offerings can position an edtech company to take advantage of a skyrocketing need. Many secondary school students have done an impressive job adjusting to online learning­— and even embracing it. Some prefer this environment due to convenience or their learning styles. In addition, because online learning often involves pre-prepared notes, power points and other collateral, it’s easier for students to review materials and prepare for assessments.

When offering a secondary education program, the most important consideration is often meeting the requirements of certification boards that deem a school qualified to teach young people in a specific jurisdiction. But thanks to the rise of edtech, many companies are seeking to qualify, so an applicant has the advantage of learning from their experiences. Before you commit to the secondary education journey, it may help to touch base with another company that has already obtained the necessary qualifications.

Another option when it comes to secondary education is to partner with a specific college or university. This typically involves designing your course selection according to what would best help students prepare for success at the college or university. Sometimes, this is relatively simple, given the focus of the higher educational institution. For example, a technical school may require more science and math courses, as well as computer classes and others that cater to the needs of STEM learners.

A side benefit of partnering with a university is an edtech company’s online school benefits from the college’s branding and marketing. Parents who want their kids to get an education at that institution may be more likely to gravitate towards an edtech company that helps prepare students to excel there.

 

College Education


Giving students the option of attaining a degree at the culmination of their studies can be a significant draw, even though many organizations don’t require a college degree from new hires. This may be because of the growth in the edtech sector, which, in the U.S., raised $8.3 billion in 2021, adding to a worldwide figure of $28 billion in collective funding.

Edtech companies can take advantage of the persistent demand for college degrees in a few different ways:

• Start a for-profit online college with a specific focus. For example, a company can design coursework supporting software development careers and name their institution accordingly.

• Partner with an existing university to help them diversify their current portfolio of online coursework. In this way, an edtech company leverages its existing infrastructure to expand the offerings the college provides students.

EdTech Needs New Talent to Match the Pace of Growth



To keep up with the growing need for online learning solutions, edtechs need to scale their team with qualified professionals. This may require recruiting talented individuals who have both the knowledge and teaching skills necessary, as well as upskilling existing staff to better meet the needs of clients.


Furthermore, the rise of remote learning opened doors to transformative educational resources, as well as a new set of data privacy challenges. To ensure compliance and meet institutional demands, edtechs need skilled professionals with the right experience.

This is easier said than done. With the national unemployment rate for tech professionals hovering around 2%, the competition for attracting tech talent is fierce. Edtechs must find a way to differentiate themselves from FAANG (MAANG) companies (Facebook/Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) as a great employment opportunity.

One way to overcome this is to build an employer brand for your edtech that speaks to what tech talent desires. Developers care about the opportunities to learn within their job. In fact, 56% say it’s their reason for staying in their current role, and 53% say the lack of this ability is the cause for leaving their job. It’s critical that edtechs lean into telling their mission-driven story to appeal to the tech candidates who want to make an impact and difference in their work.

Want to learn more strategies for edtechs to stand out with tech talent? Download this free guide.

By honing in on exactly what learners need—and are willing to pay for—edtech companies can position themselves to capitalize on the industry’s growth to push their business forward.