Recap: Learning Re-imagined

Kicking off The Big Picture series, Patrick Brothers shared the latest innovations and insights from across the educational landscape, fresh off the stage at the ‘Incubators and Accelerators’ session at Reimagine Education in Philadelphia.

Watch the full Big Picture recording here or catch some headlines and highlights below:

Students are back in focus

Trends and ideas in education can feel like they go through endless pendulum swings. For the last two decades, the student-centred learning movement has been strong and building momentum, but only recently appears to have reached a tipping point. With technology advances we’re now looking at truly personalised, social and rich media-enabled learning; these elements are making their way into the education sector along with the general consumer-led trends we see in other industries.

Bringing UX into education

Some are turning to the User Experience (UX) and Design disciplines to understand how we can create the best possible student experiences. So what if every tertiary education institution had a UX team? Here are some principles they might work with:

  1. Know the user. Consider how many of our systems and assumptions are still designed around an image of a young college student playing sports and enjoying free time on campus. These days, however, more than half of students in the US are working part-time, and a quarter are parents, which means their education needs are shifting, and we need to understand how education can respond.
  1. Know the user’s expectations. Related to the first point, education providers also need to understand what users expect from their experience. This can reveal both minor and major misalignments between the user and the institution, from student support and workload right through to difficulties finding relevant work after graduation.
  1. Map the user’s interactions with the system. Do we know enough about how students engage with current systems before, during and after their period of study? Some data comes when it is too late to become useful, particularly where struggling students are ‘flagged’ in a system, whilst other interactions may not be captured at all. Even before students have decided where to study they may be asked to navigate through endless tables of alphabetically-ordered units on a college website as they figure out what to study and how it might fit into their already busy life. There are so many opportunities to understand education much better from the student’s perspective.
    With this in mind, one UX initiative taking hold is the #shadowastudent challenge, ‘a fun, illuminating, and supportive journey where school leaders come together to empathize with their students and take new kinds of action at their school ( Those reflecting on their experiences have shared moments of insight into how teachers communicate with students, how much (or little) interaction there is in class, and how hard it is to sit still for so long as a student!

Back to the Big Picture: 5 major trends driving change in Ed Tech

What’s next on the horizon?

How can we form a reliable picture of the Ed Tech market, including all the new starters and emerging markets at play? Sophisticated data analytics and visualization tools have helped us to look across nine-thousand Ed Tech companies in order to understand our competitive landscape.

Navitas Ventures just finished our first piece of research on Global EdTech and found 16 innovation clusters grouped into 6 themes. That’s over 2,000 companies around the world representing $16b of investment. We are launching Project Landscape as (eventually) a global, open source, community-driven initiative to help us understand what the next 10 years in education might look like.

Take a sneak peak at our data visualisation:

The clusters are starting to tell a few stories. For example, Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality is a clear cluster, grouped together as Immersive technology, and being led by Chinese Ed Tech investment. Recent technical advancements and global investment in VR – $4 billion since 2010 – have accelerated the practical uses of VR far beyond flight simulators and gaming. Click through here or in the Twitter post above to see more cluster visualizations.

Listen to the recording of the Big Picture webinar here or dive in to Yammer to continue the conversation from this inaugural Big Picture speaker.

patrick-brothers2xPatrick Brothers joined Navitas in 2014 and as Chief Development Officer, his focus is ensuring Navitas is a global leader in the future of education and work.  He is responsible for strategy, learning & teaching, new ventures, business development and our global marketing offices. He is also CEO of Navitas Ventures.