Online education and courses have now become the norm, and are no longer non-native to the education sector. The COVID-19 pandemic not only gave the edtech sector the much needed push, but also gave the stakeholders a glimpse into all the benefits that online education has to offer. Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO, Simplilearn, in a conversation with Dataquest, highlighted on the impact that the pandemic had on the edtech sector, some of the top tech-related courses in 2020 and much more.
DQ: What was the impact of the pandemic on the EdTech sector?
Krishna Kumar: Even though online education through edtech platforms existed long before COVID-19, the crisis has been a major catalyst in the learning process of students and educators alike. With the lockdown giving professionals a little extra time on hand, many have opted to invest this time in upskilling themselves to gain that competitive edge over their peers. Consequently, during and post-pandemic, most edtech players have seen an increase in the number of students enrolling on their platforms. Even at Simplilearn, we witnessed more active learners on our platform and saw a surge in our B2B business too in the last six months. Over this period, we on-boarded over 50,000 corporate learners across 12 countries, led by India, the USA, Thailand, and Oman. Our monthly active users more than doubled, and today we stand strong with an overall learner count of over 2 million.
DQ: Which were some of the top technology-related courses in the year 2020?
Krishna Kumar: Digital skills remain the top-selling area for us, including Cloud Technology, Cyber Security, Data Science, and Digital Marketing courses.
DQ: What are some of the Edtech trends to watch out for in 2021?
Krishna Kumar: The modern education world is moving towards integrating the latest technologies to improve the way students learn. Technology in the classroom has always been a boon to education, allowing for individualized, mastery-based learning and saving teachers’ time while providing students with the digital skills they will need in the future. Below are some of the Edtech trends in 2021 that will further enhance the experience of learning-
- Virtual and Augmented Reality- Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the education sector, allowing students to benefit from cutting-edge innovations that make learning simpler. One such revolutionary technology is virtual and augmented reality, which helps students get an immersive learning experience.
- Online Bootcamps: Bootcamps are designed to help people develop skills in a short period of time to transition into new professions or enhance their competency in a particular field. I believe the Bootcamp style of learning will be a viable model for the future of education, where in-person components like- masterclasses, peer and mentor interaction, along with online components like videos, digital query forums will be combined optimally to enhance the quality of learning, and aid the growth of the students.
- Personalized Learning- Edtech programs strive to personalize the learning experience and meet the needs of all students. Online education programs offer students an advantage of participating in classes that are precisely tailored to their needs. This kind of learning helps in identifying causes, and reducing student downturns.
DQ: What does the future look like for the edtech sector and Simplilearn?
Krishna Kumar: The old proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, has become a reality during the pandemic in so many ways, even more so in the education sector. The necessity of remote learning has encouraged educators to innovate their teaching methods. Today, most traditional educational institutions are transitioning to online content delivery by forming virtual groups, distributing group tasks, and engaging with students digitally. The future of learning will see us increasingly move towards higher levels of engagement and personalized learning. Providing a seamless digital experience is what will drive users to spend more time learning on the online platforms. Personalized experiences at scale, interventions at the right time, and social learning will be the key pillars of a robust online learning experience. Technologies such as AI/ML will help deliver these enhanced experiences, and deliver the next wave of online learning solutions.