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EdTech Trends of 2022 That Are Here to Stay

Online learning enabled through technology

Education technology is one of the many invaluable tools our advancement in technology has brought us, and it can improve learning outcomes for millions of children and adults across the globe.

And while the pandemic and school closures sped up its adoption overnight, it was also a consolidation of a long-standing trend. 

Edtech was critical in helping schools master the transition to remote learning with minimal disruption. Upon passing muster on an app store testing platform, more learning apps are being used by children and teachers.

The market is predicted to reach $377.8 billion by 2028.

All of which speaks to the inevitable integration of educational technology into future learning environments as more educators recognize its practical value and the benefits it can bring.

So, what are the top edtech trends to watch out for in 2022? 

Here’s what you need to know.

What exactly is Edtech? 

A boy attending online classes

Edtech is digital technology designed to facilitate and enhance teaching and learning. It encompasses hardware such as laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards, and software such as apps, online learning platforms, and virtual reality programs. 

Edtech is shaking up how teachers communicate with students and helping students learn in ways that accommodate their distinct learning styles. Outside of classrooms, edtech can help with corporate onboarding, training, and independent distance or extracurricular learning, like art courses.

What are the edtech trends that are here to stay?

  1. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  2. E-learning
  3. Accessibility
  4. AI, big data, and Personalization
  5. Gamification

So, let's get to the trends in detail whose momentum shows no sign of letting up!

1. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Will the metaverse be a paradigm shift for the internet? One thing is clear:

We’re on the brink of seeing some incredibly cool new technology that could transform learning out of sight.

VR headsets are cheaper than ever, and advances in AR/VR technology mean that augmented reality, virtual worlds, and their combination in 3/D immersive real-life environments have never been easier to design. 

Hybrid learning and edtech trends for knowledge retention
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The benefits are not limited to entertainment. They’re already being used in training remote workforces and simulating safety-critical scenarios in construction and aviation or advanced data visualizations.

Augmented reality combines elements of the digital and real worlds, layering digital content such as text, sound effects, and multimedia atop the graphic representation of existing reality. Instead of merely reading or watching training videos about topics, students can use this technology to experience 3D depictions that enhance the process of visual learning.

The possibilities are endless. Imagine students taking a history lesson on Ancient Egypt. 3D and AR renderings could bring to life the visualization of how the pyramids were built. There are alternative summer camp activities for kids, like virtual field trips to museums and landmarks. At the same time, medical students can learn how to interact with and diagnose patients in simulated emergency room settings.

With its compelling visuals and memorably interactive uses, AR can help students learn concepts and retain the essential details for their exams. 

Not only that, AR and VR might lower educational costs by replacing expensive physical equipment and textbooks.

Think astronomy students pointing their devices at a constellation projected on the screen to access detailed descriptions or shrinking to the molecular level to study the human heart. Marker-based AR apps can augment the conventional classroom.

Do you remember when you couldn't figure out a tricky concept? Imagine you could scan your textbook to get pointers. Well, developers—au fait with agile manifesto principles—have built learning apps with which you can do just that, illustrating complicated theoretical topics in highly engaging and interactive ways.

Think of the potential to reduce the risk of conducting dangerous experiments by replacing the real world with a virtual training environment replete with an undo function. Labster is a startup that provides VR-based laboratories where STEM students can learn techniques, run interactive experiments, and use advanced equipment.

Digital resources in Educational technology
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AR and VR can bring subjects to life, and it’s instructive to think of the future of edtech as something like flight simulators for pilot training - but writ large across education. The sky’s the limit!

We can also use VR for special education, allowing students to practice communication skills and rehearse scenarios in a safe space. 

However, adoption has been slow because the cost of VR headsets and equipment is falling. 

In the future, virtual reality and augmented learning could enable educational institutions to optimize their budgets and allocate resources. 

2. E-learning

True, the spread of learning apps and laptops in schools was already underway. Many edtech startups that reported extraordinary growth during the pandemic had already gained traction with school audiences and interactive learning experiences (cheers, ecommerce growth strategies!).

Still, there’s no question that the pandemic saw a broad-based uptake of digital learning tools as teachers and students toggled between remote or distance learning and in-person learning and, sometimes, created a blended learning environment. 

The global audience for apps such as Google Classroom and video conferencing services that use hosted pbx exploded. As teachers sought online alternatives, course creators offered free services as a growth strategy. 

Educators are now making a virtue of necessity and are looking to maximize their investments in e-learning. 

This means that more students are accustomed to using these products, and teachers rely on them to extend their capabilities. 

The shift to a blended learning model came about through an emergency, true. The result? A hybrid learning environment is now more workable than ever, both at short notice if needed and for the students for whom it makes sense.

By 2027, experts project the mobile learning industry to surpass $1 trillion, and e-learning is not going away because of its considerable upside. 

It offers tremendous scalability, allowing teachers to reach more students at once.

And at a lower cost than an in-person classroom or several learning institutions.

With 3.4% of American school-aged kids being homeschooled, fast-growing startups like Prisma and Primer are meeting the demand for tech-enabled homeschooling products to replace or supplement pen, paper, and expensive workbooks. 

These platforms offer a blend of face-to-face and live learning experiences, provide personalized support and come with resources that help parents homeschool their children and keep students engaged.

Higher education institutions have also been experimenting with flexible ways of delivering knowledge to students.

Asynchronous learning refers to the trend toward granting students the choice between attending classes at a specific time in-person, via video teaching tools, or taking courses by watching recordings after class at their convenience.

Students can fit their education around other commitments at home or work, be it taking and attending a signature course from the comfort of their own homes or on the go. 

Providing students with more autonomy to choose is likely to increase the accessibility of education.

Teachers can also enjoy greater freedom to pre-record lessons and ease performance pressures.

And beyond the university setting, the growing popularity of online courses for professionals looking to upgrade their skills testifies to people’s desire to integrate their learning into their lives. 

For e-learning platforms, mobile compatibility will be crucial in providing content that works seamlessly across devices. And applause software will be the key to earning the digital applause that draws customers to high-quality products.

3. Accessibility 

Offer online options that makes learning accessible

As these e-learning trends accelerate, challenges remain. For one, millions of disadvantaged children worldwide still cannot access education. 

Lack of reliable internet access, especially in underprivileged or underserved rural communities, is a barrier for students even when schools can supply them with devices. The cost of laptops is still prohibitive for many. Mobile-first learning could help improve access since mobile devices are potentially cheaper than laptops, but, again, not everyone can afford a mobile data service plan for it. 

The pandemic threw these pre-existing gaps between students—in their access to digital devices, broadband speeds, and parental support—into sharper relief. 

Fortunately, initiatives in the US are underway to improve access to devices and bring better broadband access to the homes that need it.

Free educational resources and open source software also provide students and teachers with greater access to materials and software critical for educational purposes and integral to the future of work.

These are the first steps in closing the gap and ensuring students who need access and support don’t fall further behind. Virtual learning enabled by edtech is becoming essential - especially for students dealing with bullying, anxiety, schedule conflicts, or other reasons. 

Online tools can promote risk-taking in shy or vulnerable students, reinforcing their sense of competence. Missteps in practicing our pronunciation while learning a language, for example, remain a secret between us and the website or app assessing us!

Edtech can also increase access to education for students with disabilities or health issues.

4. AI, big data, and personalization

artificial intelligence ai and traditional courses meets to improve the learning experience

It’s barely hyperbole to say that we’re drowning in data. And the education sector is no exception. Thankfully, educators can harness AI systems and Big Data analytics to create machine learning models (and power them more efficiently and inexpensively by leveraging data ingestion) that deliver personalized learning experiences that lead to better learning.

With AI-based learning systems, professors can collect and sift reams of information about their student's abilities, needs, progress, and learning styles and tailor their teaching accordingly. 

In higher education, instructors can track data points that measure student engagement with the material, change up content, and identify areas that need improvement. 

Teachers can tap historical data on learning behaviors to assign individual lesson plans that allow students to take more self-paced courses. Students falling behind can get extra tutoring, and those ahead can get the additional challenges they might need to reach their full potential. 

Another branch of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, underlies the architecture of chatbots.

Chatbots were rolled out at the University of Murcia, providing immediate, out-of-hours guidance to students on questions about the campus or study areas. They answered correctly over 91% of the time.

Chatbots can also analyze the data obtained on student issues to provide personalized help and new programs and help colleges reduce costs from administrative assistants.

Big Data and data mining tools can also identify trends that help employers design optimal onboarding and training programs. Companies can analyze the quality of new hire training, identify areas for improvement, and tailor the programs to fit their individual needs.

5. Gamification

Online learning game options

Gamification has always made an easy bedfellow with education. Playing games is an intrinsic part of childhood development. Teachers have forever awarded prizes and employed games to teach concepts and incentivize students to be productive, maximize their talent, and behave well. After all, playing games is a lot more pleasurable.

Beyond the particular skills games teach, they also allow players to practice self-determination and develop autonomy. By gamifying education, we can harness the potently motivational pull of game-like goals and our powerful absorption in gameplay. 

Outside the classroom, a majority of kids regularly play video games. Inside the class, educators can use gamification to fire up imaginations—especially with tough material or topics they might otherwise struggle to gel with—and keep them engaged in learning. 

Minecraft is both a popular video game and an effective educational tool. The sandbox-style game offers an immersive virtual environment where creators and learners can freely explore, play, create, teach, and learn. Students can take lessons on DNA or investigate the effects of climate change, all by navigating the in-game environment, communicating, and cooperating in this relatively unstructured group crafting space.

Roblox is an even bigger gaming platform—with over 100 million monthly players—used to teach programming and game design. As edtech trends go, it seems gamification is here for the duration. 

As tech increasingly finds its way into classrooms, tablets and computers will enable more gamification, complementing traditional learning methods and enhancing outcomes.

Finally, new platforms and apps like ClassDojo, for example, are introducing game mechanics to non-games, making it possible to add points-based gamification to almost any educational material or subject.

The global market for education gamification is growing as educators experiment with this fun and rewarding technology. Online games already cater to helping school-aged kids learn concepts in everything from math to reading and more.

In the digital era, games increasingly permeate our everyday life. Leaderboards, badges, awards, interfaces, rule structures, and game mechanics inspired by video games are increasingly part of the apps we use in the cause of transforming society towards more playful ends.

As technology conquers the classroom, educators will experiment with in-class gamification using tablets and computers to increase engagement and teach content.

Wrapping up

The past couple of years has been disruptive in edtech. They’ve uncovered opportunities and built on trends that are here to stay.

Of course, it’s critical to know the limits of technology. Yet they need to be balanced with non-tech strategies. The heart of great learning will always be marked by listening to students, building relationships, and tapping their intrinsic motivation and interests. That means in-person teaching for most.

But edtech has been booming. 

Investors that master their first-party data strategy in mobile app marketing and create digital applications that make it easier to provide access to quality education worldwide and realize the holy grail of personalized learning environments will thrive.

Edtech is an excellent vehicle to provide fun and rewarding learning and weave in added engagement. Are you ready for what’s coming down the pike? Bone up on these trends, teachers, learners, and investors alike! Omnify offers you a solution that does exactly that - allowing you to streamline class bookings, automating and personalizing communication, enabling Zoom integration for your online classes, supporting safe payment gateways, and storing student information on secure servers.

If you'd like to learn more about how Omnify can help your online course, check it out with a FREE TRIAL and start optimizing your business today!

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Author
Matthew Cooper - Marketing Automation & Operations Manager, Global App Testing 

Matthew Cooper is the Marketing Automation & Operations Manager at Global App Testing, a best-in-class spectre testing testing company that has helped top apps such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Craigslist deliver high-quality software at speed all over the world. Matthew has over 14 years of experience in the I.T Networking, Software & Services Industries. He is highly skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Digital Advertising, Social Media Management, WordPress, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, CRM, and People Management. You can find him on LinkedIn. He has also written content for DZone and BigCommerce.

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