EdTech opens new realms for education. Studying does not mean sitting at a desk anymore. The development of education can be described in four words: blackboards – whiteboards – Trello boards. There is nothing wrong with the classical approach. But it has a better version of itself.
EdTech startups bring a lot of advantages for both students and teachers: for example, students can benefit from essays at Writepaper.com, while teachers find automatic home assignment check-ups useful.
Yet, despite all the benefits, EdTech startups face pitfalls. How do they, technically speaking, fail? What challenges do they face? And most importantly, is it possible to overcome these pitfallbs?
Failures and Challenges vs. Solutions and Opportunities
1. Lack of Professional Development
Using educational technologies needs proper pedagogical training. Instead, teachers study basic skills of using various gadgets and widgets. The value of EdTech cannot be appreciated when teachers direct their efforts into learning to project illustrations on the board.
It is necessary to use training aligned with the vision for technology use. Also, there should be a rewards system to support teachers who show progress. It can encourage their fellow colleagues to master and implement the new skills.
2. Resistance to Change
It takes two weeks to form a habit. And we are talking about years of traditional teaching approaches. Many teachers find the new opportunities and approach fascinating. Yet, a lot of them resist change.
No is the first answer of our subconsciousness to anything new. That is why nobody likes changing the usual status quo. Sometimes these are not even tutors themselves. Instead, there is a higher level of resistance – school leadership. Some principals believe that schools have to educate, not experiment with recent technologies. Demonstrating measurable results can help to solve this problem.
3. Formal Learning
A flipped classroom model allows the tutors to blend formal and informal approaches. In its turn, this mixed technique helps students study better and retain more. On the contrary, lecture-and-test models are not engaging at all. Instead, they discourage students from learning, and this is another pitfall.
4. Impersonal Learning and Inadequate Assessments
In a traditional classroom, teachers can read their students like psychics. Their experience allows them to sense whether the students are comfortable with the topic. They can detect if the class is tired and need a switch in activities. They suss out if the students only pretend that they understand the concept.
This magic does not work outside Hogwarts. The screen works as a shield against personal learning. Of course, with enough desire, it is possible to overcome it. But nowadays, most tutors lack this insight.
Besides, it becomes difficult for teachers to assess their students. Do not get this wrong; EdTech offers different ways that are effective. But teachers cannot know what the student is doing during the assessment. It is a question of honesty that one cannot control online.
5. The disconnect between educators and business owners
Student performance and numbers are two different units of measurement. At the end of a TV show season, producers often make a summary where they tell how many miles of lipstick was used during the filming process. Makeup artists would not know this. They could probably tell the quantity. And this is the core of the problem. Speaking different languages.
Startups focus on:
- action items
Education is about:
This is the difference in basic ideologies. Startups would need to embrace the academic world through communication.
Different mindsets conceal real business opportunities. Business growth and sales targets are clear exponents for business owners. Teachers assess the impact of your product on the students in the long term. You can bridge this gap by listening to teachers.
6. Low Usage and Retention
Traditional business models need upsells and follow-up deals. The lack of usage is a threat to EdTech products because it undermines trust. Be optimistic and see this challenge as an opportunity to improve user engagement.
7. Slow Monetization
The history of EdTech shows that growth can be easy for startups. But monetization is a different story. Investors often have unrealistic expectations, which result in frustration. Building a sustainable business model is a possible solution. For instance, you could make a free app for schools but charge parents for extra materials.
8. Global Expansion Costs
EdTech globalization is facing different challenges:
- foreign regulations as a barrier to expansion
- currency stability
- difficulties of localizing educational content
- risky partnerships
- complexities of local markets
- data protection
It may sound easier than it is, but you should consider using cost-reducing partnerships.
9. High competition
There has been a real startup boom over the past couple of years. The number of EdTech companies is going to grow, and you cannot affect this. But what you can do is develop a unique value proposition. It should make you stand out. And before long, you are likely to find your company on the list of best EdTech companies to work for.
10. Long sales cycles
Figuring out the differences and networking with decision-makers takes time. Time is money for startups, so delays mean financial losses. So do your best to reduce the layers of approval. It is a great time-saving strategy.
11. Privacy concerns
Many connected devices with poor protection are a threat to students’ data. They can be tracked across the Internet, which means compromising their privacy. You can bridge this gap by building a reputation for security. This can only happen if you can clearly explain the safeguards of your product. You should sound convincing but not too technical.
12. Insufficient infrastructure
You clearly need a plan and a budget for all necessary support requirements to avoid failure:
- ancillary devices
- future upgrades
- staff support
13. Rolling out the technology before the software is fully functional
Make sure you include the following expenses into your budget beforehand. Beta test new technologies with a focus group of thoughtful users. Before presenting your software, make sure it is fully functional and error-free.
14. Useless technology
It is about knowing your target audience and their needs. Involve educators. They may not speak the same language as you. But listen carefully and try to understand their needs. Otherwise, they are not going to use your software. And this means that all time and money investments were in vain.
Instant Success Hand in Hand with Constant Problems
The amount of startups has skyrocketed. And most of them are in seventh heaven because of immediate success. Failures and challenges can steal the show. But only if you let them.
High competition? It is an opportunity to come up with a unique value proposition. Are you facing resistance to change? Overcome it with measurable results. Low usage and retention? See it as an urge to improve user engagement. Do not see difficulty in every opportunity. Find an opportunity in every difficulty.