Five edtech predictions for 2015

Justin Beck, Vice President of Education, at video technology platform Kaltura, gives his take on the months ahead

1. MOOCs will be ‘reinvented’ as a highly effective marketing tool 

In 2015 universities will start to re-evaluate MOOCs, viewing them as a positive extension of their brand and an effective marketing tool, rather than a disappointing new venture that didn’t quite work out. In the world of marketing, the 5-10 per cent MOOC completion rates compare incredibly favourably with results from standard marketing tools such as email campaigns, where click-through rates are generally below 5 per cent. We believe that over the next 12 months the more progressive universities will recognise that MOOCs offer an extremely valuable content marketing platform and will encourage their marketing teams to incorporate MOOCs into their overall marketing strategies.

2. Many Adaptive Learning platform vendors will disappear 

With over 50 firms currently developing “adaptive/personalised” learning platforms – many of them VC-funded – the sector is ripe for consolidation and acquisition. During 2015 we believe there will be a shake-out, similar to the one that happened with the LMS vendors. We will eventually be left with five or six dominant adaptive learning players, which will make it much easier for educational institutions to evaluate and select a technology partner that has staying power.

3. Smart universities will begin transforming themselves into media companies

Institutions are sitting on a potential gold mine of video assets that are spread across campus. In 2015 we anticipate that we will see more universities making the most of these assets as they consolidate, repackage, repurpose, share and monetise their content – and in so doing transform themselves into media companies. Tagging every video asset using metadata opens up a whole new world of opportunities for universities: your own branded Xbox channel; the sale of repurposed, easily searchable content to other institutions around the globe; an improved discovery experience for existing students; and bite-sized chunks of video incorporated into marketing programmes.

4. Will the battle between open education resources (OER) and the major publishers reach a conclusion? 

Some forecasters expect OER to finally derail the traditional publishers during 2015, boosted by initiatives from organisations such as the Merlot cooperative, who have developed a range of new business models. However we believe these initiatives have not yet reached critical mass. Meanwhile, the traditional publishers will continue to build their online/digital resources in a bid to leapfrog the OER community. The jury will still be out during 2015 on whether open education resources or the educational publishers will prevail. 

5. Accessibility moves up the agenda 

During 2015 technology providers and universities will take further steps to make digital learning more accessible to disabled students. As more countries bring in anti-discriminatory laws that mandate a level playing field for all digital learners, tech providers and universities across the world will concede that accessible design equals good design. Designing tools and applications that work for everyone and making digital content easily accessible to all – by adding captions and transcriptions, for example – will become best practice.