5 Reasons Why Combining EdTech and Digital Learning Create a Competitive Advantage for Higher Ed

Organizations are ramping up their education technology efforts like we’ve never seen before. In 2021, EdTech investments hit $20 billion, three times the pre-pandemic amount. EdTech became a necessity when the world locked down, but as we make the return to face-to-face interactions and instruction, it’s clear that EdTech isn’t relinquishing its seat at the table any time soon.

Although the surge in EdTech was born out of necessity, 2021 saw an even steeper increase in tech investment. Organizations have realized that a digital-first or digitally-inclusive teaching strategy provides universities, colleges, and other educational institutions with a competitive advantage.

Investing in EdTech goes beyond simply adapting to a new learning environment. Below, we look more closely at why EdTech is vital to your institution’s success.

1) Improves Accessibility

From providing more forms of learning to opening up to students in different geographical locations, moving learning partially or fully online greatly improves the reach of your institution.

While many students aren’t in favor of fully online learning, it’s worth considering how much of your learning can be translated into online modules, courses, and lectures alongside your live delivery.

With fewer students going to university or college every year, it’s more important than ever to provide them with the flexibility and accommodations they need.

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2) Opens the Doors to International Students

While many higher ed institutions offered places to international students before the pandemic, it was common to expect them to relocate.

However, with the possibilities now presented through technology and remote learning, it’s easier for universities and colleges to open their doors to more international students. And this will, in turn, help to bring in more revenue without drastically increasing pressures on the teaching staff.

We’re also seeing more international partnerships between institutions, with transfer or placement semesters that don’t require travel abroad. These can be a great opportunity for students that don’t cause them financial strain, which provides a huge competitive advantage.

3) Increases Student Intake Without Increasing Pressure on Teachers

While there will be certain pressures, like adapting to the technology, using more online teaching methods allows higher ed institutions to take on more students without stretching teachers too thin.

Being able to take more lectures and resources online allows teaching staff more time and flexibility to complete their other work. And adapting assignments can also reduce some of the manual workload of grading assignments.

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4) Allows More Students to Learn From Home

The financial pressures on students, especially in the US, are extremely tough. Enrolling in higher education can be expensive, and opening up online and distance learning makes the process more accessible to those who aren’t in the financial position to pay their way through college.

They’ll still need to pay tuition, sure. But being able to study while living at home with their parents or guardians can be a huge cost saver. It means that students aren’t limited by where they live or have to rely on scholarships to attend the universities or colleges they really want to.

5) Licensing Out Learning Programs

We’re seeing a big shift in the commercial models of higher education institutions. While not every university will be able to facilitate fully online courses, if they have online resources and modules, they do then have the option to license those out to smaller organizations.

Whether that’s a partnership with another higher ed institution or eLearning for corporate organizations, this is yet another financial incentive for universities and colleges to embrace online learning.

The pandemic created a boom in collaboration—from the students in their homes wanting to work together more to improve their social lives to the open-source community banding together to create innovations in LMS and eLearning technology.

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How Does EdTech Impact the Future of Higher Education?

Technology and learning go hand in hand, and EdTech isn’t going away. Institutions of higher learning will need to be aware of students’ expectations when it comes to how they’ll learn—especially as enrollment numbers continue to decline.

Students will continue to prioritize flexibility and innovation in their learning. They want accessible, affordable programs and lots of learning options. The universities and institutions that invest in EdTech and are able to provide these opportunities will have a competitive advantage above the rest.

Learn more about the future of higher education.

Discover how EdTech is impacting face-to-face learning and the latest higher education trends in our ebook, ‘Returning to F2F Learning and the Future of Tech in Higher Education.’ Download your copy today!

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