26 January 2023

Future of edtech: Top five education technology trends to watch in 2023

Education technology

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Josh Carson

Our client base at GearedApp is broad, from government educators to the private sector, so our view of the education technology landscape for the year ahead is comprehensive.

Trends often vary from brand new innovations to repurposing and refining existing technology. Here we’ve picked out five that our in-house experts predict will be big in 2023. They are:

  • AI-enabled remote self-learning
  • Remembering often forgotten details – especially UX
  • Gamification and the rise of bite-size learning
  • Streamlining through automation
  • Addressing education’s technical debt

Here’s a bit more on all of them.

1. AI-enable remote self-learning

The traditional model of learning – a tutor standing in front of a classroom or lecture hall of students – still has its place in education, but it’s quickly being supplemented (and in some cases usurped) by alternatives.

Self-learning was previously dismissed as directionless educators passing the buck to individuals to lead their own learning. However, the introduction of ever more sophisticated remote modules and artificial intelligence (AI) as an increasingly viable support network means self-learning is becoming more and more popular.

In 2019, a Duffin study showed 52% of US graduate students preferred their online college-level education to the classroom – and we’ve had pandemic-driven developments in this area since then.

Maths tutoring platform Thinkster is one of the prominent leaders here, using AI to help students identify areas of their learning they need to develop and tweaks their educational curriculum in real time. Expect more to follow and build on this trend in 2023.

2. Remembering often forgotten details – especially UX

Intuitive, effective user experience (UX) is an invaluable part of any great product. It’s so often overlooked when developing software though – especially in the education space, where core functions can take up most of a project’s time.

Payment systems, search boxes, database interrogation functions – these are often now central to core educational institutions like schools and libraries. And, with people now more accustomed to what smooth usability looks like through popular user-centred apps like Uber or the social media giants, edtech needs to keep pace.

UX can easily become marginalised or deprioritised whenever budgets are squeezed or time constraints are tight, but a seamless experience should be the cornerstone of any user-focused software.

3. Gamification and the rise of bite-size

On the subject of time, bite-size ‘nanolearning’ is growing in popularity alongside the gamification of the industry.

With entire learning modules that last anywhere from two to ten minutes in total, nanolearning options like language tutoring platform Duolingo cater to our decreasing attention spans. According to recent studies, they’ve shrunk from 12 seconds in 2000 to just over 8 seconds today.

By providing students with short text, audio and video content to learn from, or using frequent gamified ‘rewards’ to give our brains the dopamine hits they love, it’s a good way to deliver concise learning for hectic modern lifestyles and all their distractions.

4. Streamlining through automation

As well as the continual distractions of everyday living, digitisation means things are moving faster than ever before so driving efficiency is important.

Education technology is no different, and the trend of automating administrative tasks has gathered pace in recent years.

At GearedApp we’re in the process of developing our own software to support parents, admission staff and caregivers in applying for early learning places, called Admit. It takes care of a vast amount of the admin surrounding the application process, on both sides, including automatic sorting and prioritisation.

This venture will be one of many this year that attempt to reduce the burden on educational administrators and free up time and resources for more cognitively challenging tasks.

5. Addressing education’s technical debt

Online learning was unexpectedly fast-tracked during the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns. Previously the domain of early-adopter tutors and academics, remote learning tools jumped the queue in 2020 to become a critical element of every educator’s armoury.

This lightning-fast development had many benefits, but it’s also resulted in what we know as ‘technical debt’ – where a product or software’s time-to-launch has been prioritised above any comprehensive restructuring of code to future-proof it or streamline its effectiveness.

This year will see many developers returning to products of the last few years to refine them in a way that may not have been possible during the pandemic-induced mad dash to release.

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