Online education is growing at an impressive 20% year-over-year pace. 2019 was a major breakthrough for EdTech with lots of new projects launched and over 34% in growth. This year was also great for some emerging markets: e.g. Russian market almost doubled in 2019.
Gurucan team prepared a list of trends that we believe are going to rule the game in 2020.
We believe that in 2020 creating a topnotch online course is not enough to build a great educational experience. Come for the course, stay for the community is the statement of 2020.
We’re seeing that in almost any online course on Gurucan a significant part of the educational value comes from the community. Best content creators are now more focused on retaining their students and not on one-time sale of the course. And by that I mean not just adding a free tripwire course, but creating a great community of like-minded people that help each other and learn together. Learning from others and talking to great people might be even more helpful than just completing a top-level online course.
We’ve seen this idea work very well in some courses. For example, in one course on Gurucan platform we split all students into pairs. Every learner could talk to his partner about the course, get help and support. That boosted course completion rate from 60% to whooping 90%.
So if you’re thinking about launching your online course in 2020 — consider building a great community around it. I suggest at least creating a chat for everyone and moderating the conversation.
What is also cool about having a great community? Subscriptions!
Switching to recurring payments is a good way to have a sustainable business model that does not depend on single course sales.
Influencer and niche expert learning
This one is my favourite because this is the reason why we created Gurucanin August 2019. We strongly believe in the idea that education will be decentralized and people shouldn’t be tied to academic courses anymore. So you could learn anything from people you like. We think that this way the information is tailored to your personality and that gives the best results.
More and more influencers and opinion leaders are creating their online courses so that they won’t depend on ad contracts anymore. And that creates a strong competition which will force poor courses out of the market.
Influencer education is different. It’s also about creating personal brand, not just having as much traffic on your course as possible. Influencers care about retention and creating their content in their own style. And this style is one of the main reasons why people love them!
Also influencers tend to have their own audience already. That’s the reason why they would like to have their own website/app with an online course and won’t risk driving traffic to any of MOOC platforms.
We spent years of coding hours to create a super easy way to build “white label” educational mobile apps and websites. So any content creator can build ios/android apps with his own brand in a few minutes without having to enroll “How to start coding Java in just 5 years” course.
In november 2019 Harvard University lost a significant case to the N.A.D (National Association of the Deaf) and was forced to put captions on all the videos, live streams and other content both on the website and external content platforms like Youtube and Vimeo. Harvard was fighting this case for almost 4 years and we think this is a great example of the tectonic change that is happening in online education. Whether you want that or not, your online courses better be accessible.
And by being accessible we mean not just adding captions for deaf students. But to be available for anyone and anywhere.
This means being accessible:
- for students with poor internet connection
- for students who don’t have a computer
- for students with low-end devices
- for students with various disabilities
- for people all over the world speaking various languages
Ignoring these students and focusing just on privileged groups in 2020 is not the best strategy anymore. Gurucan is working hard to make our platform accessible for anyone, but there’s still a lot of work to do so we’re releasing a lot of accessibility features in early 2020.
AR and VR can be a great way to make education engaging. And with the release of ArKit and ARCore mobile devices are becoming the largest AR/VR platform and this technology is becoming easier and easier to implement.
For sure it is still hard to find a way to apply AR/VR in general knowledge apps. But a lot of specific education apps are being built, like: Sky App for learning astronomy, Froggipedia for learning biology, Dinosaur 4D+ in paleontology, or Human Anatomy Atlas for medical students.
Apps like this make learning fun, save money on pricy educational materials and make education available for everyone with a smartphone.
Also there is plenty of space for this technology in corporate education. For example the HRVR Academy is helping companies save money on training centres for employees.
What is adaptive learning? This is a principle of adapting educational materials to the student’s learning curve. Every student has his own learning curve and educational progress can be boosted greatly by adjusting and giving the right materials or exercises at the right time. The idea comes back to 50s and is considered to go down to B.F. Skinner (btw the man behind the biheiviorism theory). Skinner invented a machine that showed students some questions and depending on the answer was either repeating a question from this area or rewarding the student.
A good teacher or coach is adapting his course to the individual weaknesses and strengths of his student. That works everywhere: from academic education to fitness training plans. That’s why personal education is always more effective. B.S. Bloom’s “2 sigma” theory says that only 20% of students in class could reach the same level of learning as 90% of students on one-on-one education.
That is the reason why edtech companies and startups are struggling to solve this problem and provide every student the same level of flexibility and adjustment as a personal teacher can give. With impressive progress in AI and machine learning companies like Knewton, Mc Graw Hill, Quizlet and others might be improving results that students achieve.
But individual creators can also improve their course completion rates by implementing at least some adaptivity in their education process.
Education used to be one of the industries that didn’t change too much with the technology progress. Students are still sitting in rows in a class even though they have smartphones in their pockets that can process billions of operations per second. And the teacher is writing on a blackboard with a piece of chalk. But it is changing.
And online education is evolving too and finally seems to be out of childhood. Just creating an online course is not enough. A good course today is usually available for everyone, adapts to student’s learning curve and is something more than just some materials. That might be a community of like-minded people or even an AR/VR app. And that is good for everyone!