The EdTech industry is now well on its way to being bigger and better, and even though we can’t attribute all of its progress to the jolt that is COVID-19, we can definitely place on record that the pandemic has played a part in further accelerating the wider growth, influence, and acceptance of this burgeoning sector.
Ever since 2013, at the Eruditus group, as employee #13, I have had a privileged vantage point from which to view the industry. I have seen it dramatically transform from its early days when I was tasked with exploring how education could transition into the online space through what became Emeritus. This was at a time when just a few of the business schools we worked with had just started experimenting in online courses with us. Subsequently, we developed the SPOC model – Small Private Online Courses, which were considered disruptive at the time, and paved the way for what we now consider to be the mainstay of executive education. Emeritus has never looked back!
Getting aboard the online juggernaut
When the pandemic struck, education in every form, and almost at every level had to go virtual. While a few universities and institutions, such as MIT Sloan Executive Education, had built up a portfolio of about 18 to 20 online courses and were thus able to pivot, the vast majority of executive education divisions at universities were unprepared. Consequently, business schools, engineering schools, or in fact, most educational institutions have subsequently had to pivot to online learning.
The chance to make an impact
At every startup I have been at, I’ve relished the opportunity to disrupt the industry in question, and with Emeritus, it has been no different. The education industry was ripe for disruption. I was also excited by the massive impact we could make by making higher-education accessible around the world. The prospect of democratizing quality education, and thereby improving lives made the opportunity to join the Eruditus family impossible to turn down.
Challenges and successes
To my mind, I think the industry faces three broad challenges. The first challenge is convincing schools that online learning is the way forward. The second is strengthening our existing partnerships with top-tier institutions while selectively growing our network of university partners. The third challenge is scaling the number of courses while extending coverage to more diverse and previously untapped areas of education, such as manufacturing and healthcare.
As far as victories in the everyday go, I consider a good day at work to be one where I am pleasantly surprised by learners posting on social channels about how the course they just completed has transformed their professional lives. Seeing a post like this gets me excited to start my day, as real success is when more professionals are inspired to take such courses. I feel ecstatic when this happens because, through this, we excite our university partners to create more courses that impact more learners across the world.
When it comes to innovations, I’d like to highlight two examples.
Secondly, the launch of Professional Certificates, a.k.a Bootcamps, a new product offering that enables learners to be job-ready at graduation. We have successfully transformed Bootcamps from an offline, in-person environment, and onto the online sphere.
Kellogg Executive Education’s Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing is a perfect example of this evolution. This course is a 6-month deep dive into digital marketing taught by the world’s best university known for marketing. It prepares graduates of the program for entry-level jobs in digital marketing, earning an annual compensation between US$60,000 to US$75,000.
Another example is Dartmouth’s Applied Data Science Professional Certificate that gets graduates of the program ready to get jobs as entry-level data scientists or analysts earning US$80,000 to $90,000 a year.
Looking forward to the next 5 years, I believe that we can be one of the largest education players with 500k learners, taking 1,500+ courses, with 100+ university partners. We are always on the lookout for passionate professionals to join us on our journey to make quality education accessible to the world.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse