“Over the next decade, two industries will be majorly disrupted: Health and Education.”

T here’s no denying that traditional learning models have barely changed over the past 200 years. The most common approach to education still sees a teacher standing at the front of a classroom, explaining ideas and introducing facts, while students listen and follow along with their physical textbooks. But now, technology stands to change this forever. Despite not being a necessarily new concept, the “Edtech” sector is currently booming and is set to be 2017’s biggest, untapped investment opportunity.

Digital Disruption in Education

After healthcare, education is the second largest global market with an estimated value of $4.5TN. The Edtech industry is currently still in its infancy, but is already showing signs of what the future will look like. New techbology tools are set to enhance student experiences and increase engagement tremendously. In Britain, there are currently more than 1,000 Edtech startups which are set to lead the change in education innovation, such as Blackbullion or Knowledgemotion (also known as BOclips), which have both experienced huge amounts of success. Virtual and Augmented reality will also be used in education to engage students in a completely new and innovative way. Companies like Google, with their Expeditions Pioneer Program, or Alchemy VR, create immersive educational experiences on an impressive scale.

From textbooks to Raspberry Pi; it’s time to get our hands dirty.

We live in a world full of makers and creative, hackable toys that teach students the principles of electronics, robotics and coding through the use of gaming. For example, new electronic project kits by companies such as KitronikSphero, or the globally recognised Raspberry Pi, are set to make textbooks a thing of the past.

This new way of learning by doing is also enabling greater communication and collaboration between students, as well as new methods of learning through the use of more hands-on projects and less textbooks and Power Point presentations.

One teacher, a bunch of employees, millions of students

Teachers as we currently know them are also set to dramatically change; their role in the future will be to help students only in the areas where they need guidance. Today, many of the world’s top universities have embraced Massive Open Online Courses and have experienced high success rates.

Over the last 10 years, many exceptional educational projects have been launched that will lead the future of global education, such as the following:

Khan Academy: this non-profit educational project has a total of 130 employees, was launched in 2009 and has managed to build a global empire with 10,000 online courses available in 17 languages, 48.5 million registered users and 1.7 million teachers.

Udemy: founded in 2010 and with a current total of 160 employees, Udemy is an open, online marketplace where anyone can upload and sell classes. 7 million students can choose between 30,000 courses…

Udacity: founded in 2011 in Mountain View, California, this Edtech startup is the product of an experiment conducted by two Stanford University Professors, in which they offered their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online to anyone, for free. Over 160,000 students from more than 190 countries signed up. They invented Nanodegrees, such as the Self-driving Car Nanodegree, Virtual Reality Nanodegree and AI Nanodegree. Their website has over 4 million registered users and is managed by 130 employees.
Coursera: founded in 2012 in Mountain View, California, this company provides real, free college courses online to anyone, offering a broad range of subjects from arts to humanities, to physical science to engineering. By partnering with more than 100 colleges and universities around the world, they now have 20 million users and 145 course providers, with only 100 employees.