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AR/VR To Casual Learning: Breakthrough Edtech Trends For 2020

AR/VR To Casual Learning: Breakthrough Edtech Trends For 2020

Online test preparation is easily the most prominent sub-sector within the edtech ecosystem

The interactive nature of AR/VR-based models will play a crucial factor in their adoption among kids

The quest for continuous personal growth and enrichment is driving the demand for new subsectors

With increasing digital adoption, online learning has become the defacto method of gaining knowledge for school and college students in most Indian cities and larger towns. Live interactive sessions are becoming the unique selling proposition (USP) these days, with the likes of BYJU’s, Vedantu, Unacademy and Toppr setting the ball rolling. Led by these startups, there has been an influx of edtech startups which are ready to grab their share of the massive Indian market.

Deeper internet penetration and the rampant use of smartphones and other connected devices have exponentially increased the capitalisation opportunity in Indian edtech. This trend is gaining investors attention resulting in huge funds coming in Indian startups way. In FY 2018 alone, the gross merchandise value of edtech startups was above $120 Mn, which is a surge of 48% compared to the previous year.

This indicates that edtech startups are poised for bigger growth as the market conditions and reception for the products and services are likely to increase. With technology spreading its wings across every sector, edtech is another new thing which is gaining attraction and is on the rise.

From online test preparation to experience learning using AR/VR, edtech is gaining its momentum. So here’s a look at what trends one can expect to see within edtech in 2020.


Online Test Preparation To Continue Its Edtech March

Online test preparation is easily the most prominent and aggressively-growing segments in the Indian edtech landscape. The combined market size of the online test preparation and certification segments is estimated at $978 Mn by 2021.

According to DataLabs By Inc42’s The Future Of India’s $2 Bn Edtech Opportunity Report 2020, capital inflows into the test preparation and online certification segments are significantly higher relatively speaking to other edtech sub-sectors. Together, these two make up for 88% of the total funding in all edtech startups in India.

AR/VR To Casual Learning: Breakthrough Edtech Trends For 2020


This is expected to continue into 2021 as the flexibility, low cost of learning and convenience continue to drive the adoption of products and services in these two sub-segments. But within these, we can identify a few isolated trends.

Adaptive Learning On The Rise

Given the ever-increasing cost of education in terms of tuition fees or school fees in the private arena, there is a high need to condense the cost of education bringing online learning products into the picture. The support of the government in encouraging online education, rise in mobile usage, strong internet infrastructure in terms of high-speed internet are other strong factors that capitalise on the growth of online learning in terms of online test preparation and online certification.

Anywhere, Anytime Learning

Supported by cloud computing and storage, study material will continue to become more easily accessible from anywhere — despite geographical disparities within the Indian territory and political hurdles that block the movement of students such as the recent protests in colleges.

AR/VR Learning Models Demand Boom In K-12 Domain

The AR/VR technology has the potential to be the biggest breakthrough in edtech this year when it comes to school-level products or K-12 edtech products. Experiential learning through AR/VR is being implemented in India in various forms such as virtual spaces in terms of classrooms or labs and gamification of learning.

Technology has made headway in revolutionising learning and teaching methods. There was a time when augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology was extensively used in the gaming arena. But, as we step into the next phase of digital transition in terms of media transformation, AR/VR is becoming the hottest tools in learning technology.

AR/VR market in India

AR and VR are credit with creating an engaging and integrated learning experience without paper-based or device-dependent textbooks and barriers of physical entry. With such technology coming into the picture, learners are free to explore content that cannot be adequately represented in textbooks and choose to learn newer concepts in a more conducive and almost-live environment.

For instance, students can be taken on a virtual tour to any place or to anything using a smartphone app or VR glasses without having to step out of the classroom or their home, thus exposing them to an active learning environment.

“For more advanced ages, we are already seeing a lot of hardware development being done in terms of AR glasses. These will enable grasping and practicing concepts more profoundly with the help of life-size 3D animated content that students can manipulate and observe in their learning space,” said Vivek Goyal, cofounder of AR edtech startup Playshifu.

In addition to K-12, AR/VR modules will also be used in training for jobs such as pilots, emergency services and engineering as has been demonstrated through some of the existing applications geared towards entertainment.


Demand For Casual Learning Platforms Set To Rise

AR/VR To Casual Learning: Breakthrough Edtech Trends For 2020

For anyone trying to pursue some off-beat fields or learn unconventional skills, edtech has come as a boon as it removes many of the physical and economic barriers. Anyone can start a new career through online casual learning — just search for any topic on YouTube, and one is likely to find many how-to videos to start with.

Apart from serving specific skills, the online casual or hobby courses are in high demand as modern-day Indians strive for continuous personal growth and enrichment outside of work. For some, it can become the means to earn extra income or branch off independently into new businesses.

However, the market for casual learning is seen as a nascent market. Currently, there are limited Indian startups exploring this trend with plenty of free players such as YouTube making hay through ad revenue. That’s the chief problem that Indian startups have to solve — how to convince an unwilling population to pay for such courses, which are largely available for free.

The market size for language and casual learning is predicted to grow by 42% CAGR from 2016-2021. The market is mainly driven by English language learning and is dominated by B2C with some C2C presence in respect of platforms acting as enablers for C2C interaction as per a KPMG study.

As per The Future Of India’s $2 Bn Edtech Opportunity report by DataLabs, User-generated content will occupy a large proportion of the overall content volume in this domain as proven by 3 times surge in the viewership of hobby-related YouTube videos from 2017 to 2018.

Supporting the causal learning online trend, there is another pattern to look for, which is the rise in popularity of short-length explainer videos

With ever-growing social media penetration, the popularity of short-length video is on the rise; In 2018, the average video length was 4:07 minutes compared to 6.07 in 2017, indicating a plunge of 33%.

TikTok is a major driving force in the edtech market, as it had more than 240 Mn downloads in India as of 2018. K-12 supplementary education will be the primary target for short-length content and TikTok is cleverly tapping into this with its #EduTok campaign and investment. So 2020 may yet deliver some surprises in this regard for the edtech ecosystem.

DataLabs has analysed the future of educational technology and has recorded the growth prospects, the market and consumer-related insights from the booming Indian edtech market in its latest report — The Future Of India’s $2 Bn Edtech Opportunity Report 2020.

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