I see EdTech, or Education Technologies, as being at the service of pedagogy, where they are used to enhance the teaching and learning experience and to optimise learner engagement. 

EdTech is empowering; it can remove barriers to learning and widen teaching and learning opportunities, and it is from this perspective that I share my predictions for the trends that are likely to have the most impact on the teaching and learning experience in 2023. 

Personalisation of the learning experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated our lives in many ways. Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages,” AI means that computers can do things that could only previously be achieved with human cognitive abilities.

The recent media coverage of ChatGPT and other creative tools such as MidJourney and Dall-e, has raised awareness of advances in AI. When enhanced by data-driven personalisation algorithms, in an education setting, AI can tailor the learning content, pace of delivery and the framing of activities to best meet learners’ individual needs. Teachers can, for example, create presentations using AI tools like an AI presentation maker, optimising the process of content creation and saving time. AI-based constructive feedback can also guide learners in a timely manner to fill in missing gaps in their knowledge, and reinforce learning through effective spaced learning approaches.

Personalised learning, alongside cloud services and access to data, are boosting performance, trend identification and predictions. Effective data collection, processes and management can promote learners’ achievement by narrowing the time window between identified learning need and the assignment of required support resources. Harnessing AI in the training sector can potentially have a very high impact.

Driver: Technologies

Shift: Personalisation, trend analysis and prediction

New learning spaces with eXtended Realities (XR)

New learning spaces are emerging such as virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, and these will continue to transform education and the way we experience the world. The term eXtended Realities or XR is a catch-all term to include Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MX). 

Contrary to many assumptions, VR is not a new technology. In their paper for the ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Rustin Webster and Alex Clark cited Morton Heilig’s Sensorama, which was patented in the USA in 1962, as one of the milestones in the development of VR. They point out that the device was probably the first device to bring together immersion, interaction, and imagination – the factors described as the three I’s of VR by Burdea and Coiffet.

Over the last sixty years, the technology has developed further, and gone through radical evolution. While there are still significant barriers to rolling out XR, such as its price tag, and the time and skills to develop effective learning content, XR’s ability to widen the learning experience – thanks to access to new learning spaces – is considerable. 

It does this by adding a layer of information to our environment or enabling the performance of tasks and learning through safe immersive simulations and can be used to place students within real-world scenarios that will allow them to gain experience and understanding of specific subjects. According to Deloitte Insights, XRs are best used for settings that are difficult to experience directly, impossible to recreate or observe, and that are of rare occurrence in real life – for instance, enabling us to immerse ourselves in an environment totally outside of our regular size, positioning us in a new relationship with the world. Isaac Asimov’s Fantastic Voyage can now be fully experienced!

While XR’s associated price tag remains a barrier, in time, it will offer lower cost training than many traditional learning methods. This is because XR promotes instant access to learning and can allow for more training repetitions, especially when dealing with costly, rare, or dangerous environments. Another added value is holism, because the VR learning experience is holistic, it is also more memorable. 

Driver: Technologies

Shift: Immersive learning

EdTech 50 – UK’s most innovative education tech creators for 2023

Removal of barriers to learning

I was glad to see that BusinessCloud added a third selection criterion – Accessibility and Inclusion – to the 2023 EdTech50 Awards. Out of the 100 companies reviewed, only 38 had websites supporting good accessibility functionalities and, of those, only seven were fully meeting the Government’s public sector accessibility regulations

While the regulations are intended for the public sector, they are best practices, and the ethos should be embraced by us all. I welcome them; they act as a change driver and will make a real difference in taking down barriers to learning and learner engagement. 

At the Education and Training Foundation, we have done a lot of work to support those working in education by developing accessible learning content. We see accessibility as a critical factor in narrowing the digital divide and ensure we model effective practices for the sector. Our Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, which features offers focused on the use of Educational EdTech in teaching and training and on Essential Digital Skills for life and work, is underpinned by our accessibility statement and one of the competencies of the ETF’s Digital Teaching Professional Framework focuses specifically on accessibility and inclusion.

Digital is an enabler, and it is our responsibility as EdTech and Digital experts to empower others through tech.

Driver: Regulations

Shift: Taking down barriers to learning, equity of access, inclusion


As technology continues to evolve, EdTech is becoming increasingly important as a factor adding value to – and revolutionising – the education sector. It is challenging our education system and the way we measure training impact, knowledge and skills retention as well as competencies.

Digital is an empowering force and can facilitate a personalised, inclusive learning experience, with the potential for future XR interactions to fundamentally change the way we experience education and the wider world.

EdTech valued at £11m after £1.5m fundraise