How the Pandemic Has Impacted EdTech

Jay Erickson, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer

Jay Erickson

Partner | Chief Innovation Officer

Schoolboy taking notes on an online session

Of all the industries that have had to adapt to a pandemic environment, education has been arguably the hardest hit. Prior to the global health crisis, governments around the world were already struggling to optimize the curriculums and environments that supported young learners. With inconsistent social distancing restrictions and reliance on poorly-constructed digital platforms, the entire industry has been forced to find new channels for delivering classroom experiences. Fortunately, some organizations have been able to adapt and come up with EdTech (Educational Technology) solutions that could revolutionize industries beyond just education.

Creating adaptable, long-term solutions

The greatest challenge for EdTech during the pandemic is environmental variability. One moment, schools are open and using smaller classrooms and distancing protocols; the next, they are closed and offering exclusively remote learning. This makes it incredibly difficult for any EdTech company to find a sustainable one-size-fits-all solution. For instance, trying to create an EdTech platform or application that accommodates one specific learning environment might be a lost effort. Simultaneously, adapting for all possible cases may lead to a product that isn't particularly effective in any one scenario. These two extremes demonstrate the complexity of the obstacles that many governments and industries are trying to overcome. Despite this challenge, however, some EdTech firms have found a way to navigate this oscillating environment with great success.

Visual learning

While remote-focused EdTech solutions may offer legitimate benefits and outcomes now, they may not be high-usage solutions once the pandemic eventually dissipates. According to TechCrunch reporter Natasha Mascarenhas, in order for EdTech to succeed in the foreseeable future, the sector will “have to shake off its short-term-fix mentality to evolve from tunnel vision to wide-pan ambition.” Essentially, education and other industries alike have to learn to create pandemic-oriented solutions that balance short-term fixes with sustainable success. One EdTech company, Sketchy, has been able to do just that.

Rather than focusing on video-based classrooms, Sketchy has created a service that can be useful to learners at any point in their lives – during and after the pandemic. Sketchy, for those who are unaware, is an online visual learning platform that attempts to overcome the inaccessibility of traditional studying methods by combining art, story, and memory techniques. Sketchy's co-founders, former medical students, came up with the idea for the startup after finding that their doodles were much more effective for remembering concepts and terminology. Utilizing the Ioci method of memory visualization, also known as the ‘mind palace’ technique, users can interpret and retain knowledge by picturing words and phrases as images rather than text. After several years of development and rising success, the online education startup has secured a $30 million investment from TCG. Concepts like this that suit pandemic and post-pandemic life are what private sector industries need to consider moving forward.

Adapting EdTech's journey to other industries

EdTech is facing a lot of challenges outside just a variable environment. A lack of digital access combined with the complexity of remote-based platforms has created serious challenges. These are challenges that industries outside of education also face. For firms looking to ensure their business's success, they will have to start adopting the lessons learned from EdTech and balance short-term needs with long-term sustainability. 

To learn how you can apply a balanced approach to your digital strategy, contact Modus today.

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