Education Technology (EdTech) refers to teaching and learning materials and processes using technological tools and applications. The terms online learning and e-learning are often interchangeable with EdTech and encompass digital educational tools and the internet, where students and teachers interact and course material is distributed. Instruction may happen solely online or include some face-to-face interaction (called “blended” or “hybrid” learning). While the industry spans from early education to adult learners, the focus of this report is the K-12 end-user market.
Online learning is not a new concept; however, it has experienced a tremendous surge due to school closures following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the advantages of online learning, there are also significant challenges, and sustained growth post pandemic is far from guaranteed.
EdTech content and technology tools surged during the pandemic:
Registered users of Khan Academy increased by 33% year-over-year (YoY) in 2020 to reach 120 million.
Since March 2020, Outschool enrollments have increased elevenfold. Enrollment in September 2020 exceeded 300,000 compared to a total of 80,000 in the three years to mid-March 2020.
Enrollment at Apex Learning doubled in March 2020.
Between March and mid-June 2020, around 50,000 new Moodle sites were registered by schools, universities and educational institutions.
Google searches for “online learning” increased globally by more than 400% YoY as of November 2020.
Online learning platforms offered free access to their services in response to the crisis
Outschool offered USD 50 in free classes for families affected by the pandemic
Increasingly more US school districts partnered with online learning platform providers to gain access to virtual classrooms, digital resources, and communications solutions
Between January 2019 and June 2020, there was a more than 50% increase in the number of institutions that transitioned to the SaaS deployment of Blackboard Learn (Blackboard’s learning management system) to scale their online learning programs and accelerate their online learning strategies in response to the pandemic
In May 2020, Stride Inc. launched a consulting service (‘K12 Learning Solutions’) to help school districts implement an online or blended learning program
In June 2020, Connections Academy introduced five new services for school districts, teachers and education professionals
The EdTech market for K-12 students can be categorized broadly into online school operators, content providers, and technology providers. The industry is dominated by incumbents that have grown both organically and via acquisition as well as large technology companies that have expanded into the education space.
The K-12 online learning space is inundated with players offering a variety of platforms, products, and solutions. Among these are applications with unique offerings or unusual ways of delivering solutions, some of which are featured below.
In the online school operator space, Stride, Inc. is one of the top two education management organizations (EMOs) in the US alongside incumbent Pearson. Content-based product and technology-based product providers usually develop their own products and are varied in terms of what they offer. They are also diverse in terms of funding with some being non-profit based, being funded by government agencies, universities or foundations. Some of the key disruptors we have identified include Kahoot!, Duolingo, Age of Learning, DreamBox Learning, Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, and Brightspace.
Inspired Education Group owns and operates more than 60 private K-12 schools across 20 countries with a student body exceeding 50,000. The group’s first online offering, King’s College Online, was launched in late 2020 and offers a blended learning option. In April 2021, the group acquired private tutoring company Ostaz (founded in Lebanon in 2017 as Synkers) to strengthen Inspired’s online education business portfolio and expand Ostaz’s reach into new markets. A group company, Inspired Education Online, plans to acquire London-based Wey Education, a provider of online classroom instruction.
In April 2021, Inspired Education Group launched its online offering in the UK with King’s College Online, allowing GCSE and A-Level students across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to apply for enrollment in September 2021.
Online school operators:
Extra-curricular learning; college and career readiness:
Online school operators are mostly for-profit corporations that run state-funded, tuition-free schools as an alternative to traditional public schools. The main players in this space have built their own platforms. Pearson is one of the top two education management organizations (EMOs) in the US.
Content-based product providers offer a variety of curricular and extracurricular classes to enhance students’ traditional education. They can be further categorized into curriculum-based learning, language or technology learning, test preparation and tutoring, early childhood or special education, and so on. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), McGraw-Hill Education, and Cengage are top providers in this space reaching a large share of US school districts, teachers, and students. As established providers of content and learning solutions for students, instructors, professionals, and institutions, they have extended their offerings to include digital platforms.
Technology-based product providers can be further categorized into learning management systems (LMS), testing and assessment, operational, reference and search, and networking. Incumbents in this space include global technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon who have introduced various digital solutions for the education sector.
No investor data is available