India’s online education market is expected to grow 5x to touch $3.5 billion by 2022, as per the latest industry reports. This growth is undoubtedly pinned by the increase in digitalisation, hybrid model of learning with introduction of industry-relevant courses by several top-rated universities/colleges, ease of payment, growing awareness as more institutions turn to edTech tools to support the transition, funding by investors in the sector and supportive government policies.
The inevitable impact of Covid on education at a time when the industry was set to adapt to newer policies, curriculums and learning formats/preferences have revolutionised the overall edTech sector in a way. Globally, the education system has been a gamechanger and has made virtual classrooms a reality through various interactive formats and learning preferences that includes several VC tools, virtual discussion forums, recorded lectures, etc.
While 2020 saw the adaptation, 2021 marked the innovation and therefore, as we see 2022 approaching, we can expect the sector to witness multi-fold growth on the back of the following three mega trends:
While online learning has become popular, it is also propelling the demand of ‘LifeLongLearning’ among professionals. It lets them attain a degree, which is globally recognised and get hands-on with a new skill for becoming both market and future-ready, without having to bear the opportunity cost. In 2022, this trend will continue to see an upswing and reach a new peak, with old learners returning to up-skill themselves as repeat enrollments, for a second or third degree across domains to further strengthen and develop newer skill sets. Therefore, the very phenomenon of LifeLongLearning will run a full cycle for the first time. Learners, who have previously completed their Bachelor's or Master's degrees, will seek out newer avenues to up-skill themselves in order to drive professional growth, owing to the constant market evolution and the demand for data-driven skill sets across organisations. And this LifeLongLearning phenomenon will continue to grow in the years to come.
With the return of old learners, ‘Repeat Learning’ in online edTech will see an exponential increase. In times when the industry is witnessing innovation every day, it wouldn’t be incorrect to expect the emergence of newer and niche job roles, which will require deeper subject knowledge and evolved skill application. Hence, to address the rising demand for online ‘quality’ education, which is far beyond just live and recorded lectures, edTech players are working to identify, analyse and deliver extremely personalised and data-driven learning experience, based on their existing skills, work experiences, career aspirations, and sector-specific trends. Such circumstances have increased the demand for the AI-adaptive learning, which also allows professionals/companies to personalise their services based on customer’s evolving preferences and drive meaningful business results.
Such in-depth understanding will be a key trend to watch out for in 2022 as data can map the entire career engine for a user and provide an immersive learning experience.
Coaching and Mentoring
Online learning is no longer a content delivering game but has evolved to a point where learners are now looking out for expert guidance and assistance that can help them with rewarding career growth. Education or edtech is a subset of a larger ecosystem of coaching, guidance and mentoring and we have differentiated ourselves by leveraging the human touch delivery engine and building a strong coaching and mentoring layer, which indeed is critical for correct decision-making.
Such personalised services to handhold learners throughout the course module and assisting them with strong placement support will become even more important in 2022 among universities and corporates for creating a skilled workforce.
Investments, Consolidation and Developments
There have been several initiatives by private companies to launch L&D oriented programmes and invest heavily in the education and training sector. According to June 2021 reports, investment is bound to increase in edtech with 100% FDI allowed by the government in the education sector and India emerging as a hotbed for edtech entrepreneurs. Market consolidation is also likely to happen in such a fiercely growing sector, however, the mergers and partnerships will only fuel the upward growth.
Moving from a traditional learning and teaching methodology, the online system has reformed the way of imparting knowledge. It’s more of an engagement era vs a content era wherein learning formats are more interactive, and skill based. AI-enabled games, VR, ML tools will see an uplift from education providers to facilitate effective online sessions. As of now these learning programs and tools are largely in English which will continue to be the platform language - there is an opportunity and scope for regionalisation to ensure the online edTech model reaches remote areas as well and smaller colleges where language could become a barrier. This will run more at a district-level for language-specific learner base.
Furthermore, with online mode of education being used by several educational organisations, the higher education sector in India is set for major change and development in the years to come.