Throughout the last couple of years, the ed-tech market has seen rapid growth, boosted by the cautious preventive virus spread measures and demand for affordable and accessible solutions. The valuation of the ed-tech market has reached USD 85 Billion in 2021 and is expected to climb further with a 17% annual growth rate (source).
As an ed-tech market player, we’re curious to look at what could this year bring to the market table, so in this article, we will focus on the trends of the ed-tech market for the year 2022. To elaborate, we will take a look at the ed-tech unicorns in the field of corporate learning, analyze what are the customers looking forward to in 2022, create a list of must-have features for ed-tech software, and take a look at the potential of ed-tech in the metaverse framework. Hope you are as excited as us to dive in, so let’s start!
Ed-tech unicorns in Corporate Learning in 2021
The results of the business year 2021 were shining for some ed-tech market players in the field of corporate learning, and as a startup in this industry, we are highly interested in the alpha players and their products (to make our product even better, of course).
BetterUp (US) is the first company on our analysis list. Currently, the company is valued at USD 4.7 Billion, and recently it has USD 300 million in Series E. For corporate clients, BetterUp offers a scalable AI-based coaching solution to boost employees’ professional and personal growth. The service offers to match each employee with a professional coach to fit the individual growth need. One of the greatest benefits offered by the company is a massive reduction in the burnout rate, together with a promise of performance enhancement.
Another unicorn on our list – Articulate (US) – in July 2021 the company has gained USD 1.5 Billion in Series A, bringing the corporate valuation to the level of USD 3.75 Billion. The company provides a B2B learning management system for corporate clients to create and manage courses designed to fit the individual needs of their employees.
Number 3 – Andela (US) – the company is currently valued at USD 1.5 billion, with a recent gain of USD 200 million in Series E. The company focuses on a specific niche – helping corporate clients find talent in the sphere of engineering. The EdTech part of the company’s activity is to build, onboard, and scale the engineering team for each specific client.
Go1 (Australia) is another innovative ed-tech startup with a unicorn status reached in 2021. In July 2021, the VC Round brought the company USD 244 million, bringing the valuation up to USD 1 billion. Go1 focuses on the upskilling of the corporate workforce with the massive e-learning library of content by qualified specialists. The platform is designed to meet each learner’s unique needs and requirements by providing them with the most suitable content suggestions. Go1 solution can be used as a plug-in to the existing LMS system or as a stand-alone learning content system. The system also allows clients to create custom assessments and quizzes for the employees to take.
The last company on our list is Yunxuetang (China), with a valuation of USD 1 billion, the last round of financing took place in March 2021 and resulted in USD 190 million in Series E. The company provides industry-focused and general business training for corporate clients. Case-based studies are used for each field to boost the learning experience and make it more applicable. The company offers onboarding and training solutions.
Learning from this year’s unicorns, we can see that companies, attracting the most funding in the field of corporate learning, are focused on a solution that automatically adjusts to each individual user, using the highest degree of customization. As well, the solutions from the unicorn list all offer trackable learning, in other words, all corporate clients are interested in trackable and measurable, and positive return-on-education. Additionally, talent acquisition solutions and tracking employees’ job satisfaction and detainment levels are gaining momentum for EdTech software developers.
Market Demands 2022
#1 – Learning that adopts the global changes
The world around us is changing rapidly, and even if we try breaking it down to one specific industry or market niche – even there the daily changes are constantly reshaping the way we do business, hence one of the core demands of corporate clients is to make learning adoptive to the business environment. This can be reached by linking a learning solution with a database that is updated with fresh content on an ongoing basis, or by introducing the self-adaptive algorithms into the system, which will ongoing update the content in a specific pre-defined way.
#2 – Inclusive learning
Learning programs, affordable and available through all geographical regions and for people of every race, sex, and belief, are crucial. The current volatile situation with traveling restrictions revealed that learning should be available not only in class, which is still a major concern for students around the world, as not all the universities have introduced online programs for distance learning but online from every corner of the world. But here we would like to raise awareness of the market need for affordable and fruitful learning programs.
#3 – Theory is not enough, experience is needed
Hundreds of books are written about leadership skills and how to become a better leader, a more productive person, an entrepreneur, etc. We’ve all read at least one of those, and the conclusion can be made: almost nobody finishes the book with the total skill-set the author tried to convey, with some good conclusions – maybe. In our fast-paced environment, theory-based knowledge becomes less and less relevant in many industries. Specifically, in the field of professional education, experience-based learning is gaining momentum as both students and professionals need to upgrade their know-how toolboxes to keep up with the industry pace and maximize the opportunity flow.
Case-based learning allows one to experience, make mistakes, and feel a “teaser” of emotions of the real-life scenario, which accelerates the efficiency of learning, moreover, such experience is more memorable due to the emotions achieved through the learning experience.
#4 – Social learning
Whether we are in a classroom or in a Zoom call, we communicate with other people, deal with challenges together, sometimes enjoy cooperation, other times are irritated by another person – this general social learning environment is sharpening our soft skills, while we are consciously focused on developing the hard skills. In the era of temporary or permanent isolation, online communication is crucial to keep our social skills alive, as well as to bring some emotions into the typical learning routine of reading and writing.
Metaverse and corporate training
Metaverse is riding the wave of global attention, and leaving it out of our analysis would be truly unacceptable. So, what is metaverse? According to the global wisdom source Wikipedia, A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Metaverse experience includes elements of virtual reality and augmented reality.
Using Virtual Reality (VR) for learning has been in place for a while already, for example, Unimersiv company has been using VR technologies to link their students with language natives around the globe for a more social language learning experience. In the field of corporate business education, metaverse can be used to make case-based education more visual and social. Additionally, using virtual reality for our games would help players exercise their negotiation skills while facing an opposite team. Currently, the general game constellation goes in the following way: the team is introduced with the existing business scenario, and they have to cooperate between team members to enhance the company’s market position and performance through a line of corporate challenges. If metaverse is used for the same model of training, numerous new features will be enabled, such as stimulating an in-office environment for more emotional experience and making it easier to relate to the case, therefore more interesting to solve it.
Currently, numerous companies are exploring metaverse for their purposes. Facebook’s rebranding into Meta was one of the main info-events which brought the attention back to metaverse technology. Microsoft is also exploring the possibilities of the metaverse for their products, with a big focus on Microsoft Teams to offer a more personal online meeting experience.
So, for the companies that are currently using Microsoft infrastructure, it will soon be possible to handle online business in the metaverse and turn the typical work routine into something more gamified, at least for the beginning.
Where do you think the metaverse experience will take the corporate learning industry? Share your opinion in the comment section!