Technology is disrupting every sector, and digitization of most services is a reality. Ordering goods online or booking table in a restaurant by a tap on one’s mobile has become so common that the pace of this digitization is going unnoticed. How could then this wave not touch one of the most basic services- the education sector? Learning by way of physically attending the classroom is being increasingly outshined by digitization of classrooms where not only tutors interact with students over the internet, even games and other interactive means utilize to engage the user. Over the years, technological advancements in the education sector have seen many shifts. It doesn’t remain confined to digitization of textbooks alone or use of digital means, including tablets, to impart learning in classrooms. EdTech, as is the sector famously referred to, has seen adoption of sophisticated tech, and this presents a significant growth opportunity for businesses in the city-state of Singapore.
Top 3 Reasons Why Singapore is the Best Market for EdTech?
Building on the momentum, taking the lead further:
Singapore ranks at the top in terms of the learning potential of students is a well-documented fact. In the global study – Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) -conducted by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Singapore is at the peak position, thereby recognizing and establishing the competence of the city-state’s school-going children. While on the one hand, this means that Singapore has already made enormous advancements concerning the learning and development of students. On the other, it challenges the city-state to adopt fast new technologies in the field of education to sustain the lead. Businesses and first-time entrepreneurs have much to explore in the EdTech sector.
Demand will never fade away; the appetite is endless
Education spending is inevitable. SMEs must realize that even during periods of low growth or recession, people may cut their spending on non-essential items. Still, quite often they maintain the same level of expenditure on the education of their children. It means that revenues for businesses in the education sector are almost guaranteed. And since many of these businesses will sooner or later integrate the latest tech in how learning gets imparted, EdTech startups can envisage a surge in demand soon. The HSBC Value of Education Report states that more than half of Singapore’s parents are ready to avail loans for education of their children. As many as 73 percent of parents start planning for their child’s education ahead of her/ her having begun to attend the school. Not only are the school children the potential users of EdTech, the increased focus of companies on upskilling of labor-force provides enormous opportunities for SMEs to target this sector.
Tech penetration is deep, will act as an enabler
The adoption of technology is so fast and widespread in Singapore that reports duly establish that most of the Singaporeans own smartphones and use the internet. That’s not all. The National University of Singapore has revealed in its study that a child as young as 12 tends to use electronic devices for almost 7 hours a day. That children are far more inventive when it comes to using smartphones, and in many cases, they even surpass adults to how to best use all available features in the phone is well-known to all. Until a few years ago, digitization of education got confined to the online availability of learning material. New technologies, however, are expanding the EdTech sector in an unprecedented manner. Nobody could have ever imagined that kids would impart learning through online gaming. But this, also known as gamification, is a well-adopted technology today. Not only this, analysis of data has found its way to the education sector with companies analyzing education and learning data to deliver perfect solutions.
As per Shivanu Shukla, CEO and Co-founder of Teamie, says –
Edtech in Singapore has evolved. In the early days, it was limited to online content access. Today, edtech has grown to include learner data analysis, gamification, social learning, and personalised learning solutions to help students learn more efficiently.
Edtech companies in Singapore
Let’s find out more about some of the most exciting edutech players in the industry:
1. One of the most emerging startups in the EdTech scene of Singapore is XSEED. Adopted by thousands of schools in the city-state, the XSEED method combines teacher training and integrated curriculum, besides replacing the conventional teaching approach by inquiry-based approach, thereby making students much more interested in the content and the process opted for teaching in the classroom.
2. Another important player in the sector is one that has made the best use of personalized learning and gamification to inject interest in the learning space. This app-based learning portal, Knowledge Platform, has designed games and various other activities that engage the learner in such a way that knowledge acquired without feeling burdened or experiencing boredom. Knowledge Platform has also embedded social networking features that allow users to interact with one another and join forces to achieve shared success. This startup uses data analysis to track the progress of learners and inform them of gaps and improvement areas.
3. Cialfo, has taken the game to the next level. Learners planning to pursue higher studies in the United States or the United Kingdom can assess where they stand by using the services of Cialfo. The platform gives feedback on how well the application has been drafted and also analyses the student’s profile to suggest which college and university best suits her/ him. The startup also helps students in getting proper counseling and mentorship to realize their aspirations of studying abroad effectively.
4. EdTech, as discussed earlier, is not confined to school-going kids alone. Companies are looking to upskill their employees are increasingly relying on web-based solutions that are easily accessible and, at the same time, effective. One of the players in this field is Gnowbe. The app-based service provider brings learners at one place and enables them to update their skills through short videos. The users can engage in group discussions and can use games and other engaging content to learn during the process. Gnowbe also uses data to help employers identify the strengths and weaknesses of their personnel. A blend of formal training and peer learning is what makes Gnowbea a formidable player in the EdTech market.
5. Another startup, Tueetor, enables learners to find tutors based on their specific requirements. The startup has targeted two of the critical points in the education segment- affordability, concerning hiring a tutor for a child, and accessibility, to how easy it is for the learner to take lessons. The business offers its services free of cost and connects learners with those intending to teach.
These are just some examples of the many startups in the EdTech sector that are making their way to become formidable players of tomorrow.
Technology that Defines the EdTech Sector:
EdTech combines various tools to bring technological revolution to the field of education. Though some of these tools are still not developed specifically for the education sector. They have found their way into it, and with the right adaptation, they have taken the game to another level.
One that is already in use is Gamification. As we know that much of the resistance to learning comes from the attached boredom since not many people find knowledge-enhancement exciting. By use of games, learning can be made entertaining and interactive. It comes with various other pluses, including teamwork and social-economical learning (SEL). Games can be the perfect way to digitize the traditional education sector. Users feel rewarded when they advance to the higher level and challenge their abilities to deliver extra with learning at the same time. Gamification is one way of imparting learning, and some of the startups are already using it.
Another is personalized learning, or what we can call Adaptive Learning. Here, the learner’s ability and her/ his interests get specifically targeted to design the learning process. Personalized learning used as a way to make learning sessions more productive.
In the field of education technology, an emerging tech is Immersive Technology. Heard of virtual reality? It is what Immersive Technology in EdTech is all about. Learners are provided with augmented reality tools to introduce them to real-world settings without needing to step out of their homes. In the comfort of where the learner is, virtual field trips get enabled, and learners become a part of settings that are beyond the reach of traditional textbooks. While textbooks make the field of study look theoretical and can invoke lesser interest of the learner, but by using Immersive Tech, virtual on-site training can effortlessly get imparted. This method is both cost-saving and effective.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another disruptive force in the field of education. There are different ways in which AI is enabling advancements in learning, and one such route is a voice-based platform that interacts with learners and functions as a trainer. Robotics is finding its way to classrooms and used for on-site training of the labor force. Edtech, in this sense, is evolving, and the opportunities for SMEs are immense.
Singapore, known as the second Silicon Valley outside the United States, presents excellent growth opportunities in the EdTech Sector. Funding from global sources has seen a surge given the competence of SMEs based in the region. EdTech remains an area where much work needs to get done, and the enterprises of Singapore have a much wider region to serve. Many EdTech companies headquartered in Singapore have now started operations in overseas markets. Not all schools, where students are the targeted users and not all companies, where the labor force can be the potential user of EdTech services have adopted the unconventional way of learning. These are to be tapped by the startups, given that digitization of education will happen sooner than later. The government of Singapore is an enabler, and SMEs will find themselves best placed when looking forward to tapping this sector.