Just over 30 years ago, the development of web-based learning management systems became a new form of textual communication, using education technology as an influential way to approach teaching and learning.
Since that time, education technology has gone beyond the use of educators and has become an increasingly popular approach for entrepreneurs and business leaders looking to improve team efficiency and growth. Most recently, the 14th annual ASU+GSV Summit brought together over 720 innovative EdTech companies, entrepreneurs and leaders that envision a new epoch related to the role of EdTech in developing educational pathways and valuable workforce skills for career success.
Recent advancements and opportunities in EdTech are paving the way for efficient innovation, now and for the future for teams of all kinds. Workplace training is often a mandatory requirement for employees and can result in a lack of employee involvement by nature, but leaders are recognizing that expectations regarding learning environments and the quality of training are steadily changing.
Here we will take a deeper look at how education technology is enabling new growth for teams and is driving innovation for small and large businesses alike.
1. Analytics and big data
According to a study by Gartner, the key to driving company innovation is by investing in the right initiatives and learning strategies to fill talent gaps and drive modern developments. The authors note that not only are diverse, cross-functional teams more effective at innovative thought leadership; the use of data and analytics provide the foundation of digital business transformation. They also facilitate the ability to overcome challenges and guide revolutionary thinking among teams.
Such would not be possible without companies like Dotmatics that use information and statistics from Project Discovery – Flow Cytometry’s data to help teach its R&D scientific software to facilitate a machine learning (ML) approach to flow cytometry. As a result, this opened the door to impacting the health and wellness markets for even more considerable medical discoveries. Therefore, companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck, and research universities like MIT and Oxford were able to make breakthroughs.
How This Has Impacted Today’s World
When COVID-19 began, the Vice President and Research Director of Dotmatics, Dr. Ryan Brinkman, led an initiative alongside the creators of Eve Online. The mission was to empower tens of thousands of gamers to become ‘citizen scientists.’ Dr. Brinkman and his team have noted a crucial element for scientists to understand diseases like COVID-19 or cancer. They must closely examine how human cells are being impacted with the use of flow cytometry. Flow cytometry is a technology used to analyze cells in the blood and develop new treatments.
Where Dotmatics’ software comes into play is using that same flow cytometry data to save medical professionals time. Essentially, it accomplishes this by turning the process into a more engaging and interactive approach to learning. As of 2023, Project Discovery has enlisted gamers to solve millions of puzzles, representing hundreds of years of traditional effort.
As the pandemic demonstrated, big data and analytics can be essential to maintaining team efficiency. And, it had to be done while also meeting the innovative demands of unexpected circumstances. Finding new approaches to consistently managing incoming data was vital. Without it, the national community of medical and safety professionals would not have so many of today’s significant medical breakthroughs. Likewise, modernized data and analytical tools can also improve small business success through more efficient and cost-effective team learning approaches.
2. Artificial intelligence
In recent years we have seen how artificial intelligence has just begun to revolutionize approaches to education. Yet, the coming decade is expected to provide business leaders with more tailored solutions based on employee learning data analysis. This includes the use of chatbots and AI-powered learning tools to replace real-time instructors and more relevant, personalized learning experiences.
According to a recent article by Angus Loten of the Wall Street Journal, AI-powered office automation is changing the way businesses approach internal operations and training developments. Across many industries, entrepreneurs and business leaders are recognizing how AI tools can greatly benefit team development and growth. But, they don’t want to add to the economic challenges of the present day.
Loten expresses that this is possible with the use of AI and other software automation tools. He attributes its success to the fact that it prevents the need to hire additional employees. Beautiful.ai states that 95% of managers have already adopted AI in the workplace because AI applications have been shown to support the growth of current departmental teams by heightening productivity and reducing costs.
At the same time, there is a growing understanding of the potential risks associated with AI technology. Identifying and navigating potential dangers are just a couple of things to factor in. This is why extensive global studies on the impact of AI on the future of U.S. and European workforces are informing leaders of the policies that need to be understood and executed to safeguard their companies.
3. VR and AR scenario-based learning
The opportunities and challenges of a Millennial workforce have demonstrated the vast benefits of virtual reality and augmented reality scenario-based learning opportunities for employers.
Studies have found that scenario-based education technology addresses how employers can effectively adapt theoretical knowledge into practical applications. These innovative methods provide employees with a safe environment to learn without the fear of making mistakes, in turn decreasing the potential of repeating preventable mishaps on the job.
The utilization of VR and AR learning further submerses employees in real-world experiences with life-like, simulated scenarios. Moreover, these virtual reality scenarios produce a fully immersive simulated environment to learn in. And augmented reality scenarios display 3-D images on a screen.
In the past, many business leaders have refrained from investing in such innovative education technologies. But, the advent of new products by Adobe, Gartner, Trivantis, and other e-learning solution providers are starting to provide VR and AR learning applications that are more affordable with reduced lead times. In turn, businesses are beginning to witness the true potential of VR and AR scenario-based learning applications that help learning objectives be well-comprehended and remembered by employees, while also significantly increasing user engagement rates.
4. Mobile learning
As reported by The New York Times, the use of mobile technologies only began to catch fire in the last 7 years, in which leaders witnessed a major shift of EdTech moving from higher education classrooms to company boardrooms. As the use of smartphones and tablets has become a normal part of everyday life for over 5 billion people and across over 27 billion devices connected to the internet, 87% of businesses rely on their employees to access and interact with mobile learning opportunities found on company applications.
For instance, the company 2U helps employers and institutions build a sustainable future, offering opportunities for people to enhance their careers. Only a year ago, the company acquired edX and has since become the world’s leading online platform. And, it has over 230 top-tier universities and companies supporting the market leader’s bright future. The mobile learning platform has over 4,000 online learning marketplace offerings. With that, it is leading more diverse and qualified teams with a variety of experiences and backgrounds. Consequently, this produces better innovation and results from the team’s work.
How This Method Advances Education
Their vision was to create new learning opportunities and solutions. Because of this, 2U CEO Chip Paucek recognizes that, “There is an urgent need across society to make learning affordable, accessible and equitable – for all learners everywhere,” and “That’s the mission we now advance together, helping higher education institutions and employers build a sustainable future, offering the continuum of high-quality learning experiences people need to enhance their lives and careers, and making all of it possible on one of the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online learning platforms.”
A supporting 2021 Gallup study has shown that when employees have consistent, open access to training materials from any location, they can create their own schedule and work at a pace that aligns with their work habits and behaviors. The 2U program has upskilled diverse populations and built a diverse talent pipeline across 6,700 major companies. Additionally, it has increased median salaries by $11,000 for boot camp graduate participants one year after completing the program. For companies, mobile learning provides the opportunity to enhance user engagement. It also allows the capability to use analytics to track employee performance. And all of this is made possible with its flexible, updated, and relevant continuous learning applications.
We have seen leaders gradually implementing a range of advanced technologies to boost team training and innovation. Likewise, businesses are also learning that microlearning is essential to employee development and workload balance.
This has included the use of various microlearning platforms. Specifically, these platforms are seeking to make education for in-house and remote employees alike more engaging and less time-consuming. The benefits of microlearning for corporate employees are many, reducing the impact of information overload during single training sessions and resulting in poor retention and engagement rates.
Thus, improving your business with a winning team and a microlearning training approach meets employees at their preferred point of need to identify specific, bite-sized learning outcomes and improve concept absorption. Today’s consumers prefer visuals and images to stay engaged and interact with online content. Similarly, employees are also more likely to participate in microlearning environments that offer concise, easily digestible visual elements. These might include things like videos, infographics, images and audio materials.
There Will Be a Continued Shift in EdTech to Help Improve Employee Efficiency and Innovation
For decades, EdTech has combined proven educational best practices and advanced information technology tools. In turn, this has facilitated and enhanced learning across the education industry. Now, we are seeing a great shift towards entrepreneurs and business leaders, furthering the potential of innovative education technology and the ability to close learning and productivity gaps for employees.
Companies in the U.S. and worldwide are continuing to heal from the pandemic’s effects and recent economic collapse. But they’re also recognizing the need to approach professional development in the workplace to retain valuable employees. Not only are they working to improve efficiency and annual profitability, they’re also driving greater innovation among teams.
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