The Battle of the Learning Apps
May 17, 2021
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by Arabella Seebaluck

How Covid-19 effected on the growth of learning apps

Educational apps grew by 23.13% in 2020. This will increase by a CAGR of 26% by 2024, or $US 46.88 billion. The COVID19 pandemic caused learning institutions to be shut for 1.2 billion students in 186 countries.

“Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19,”  the World Economic Forum estimated.

It was to be expected that some of the EdTech companies in the market would review their offerings in the light of this new large-scale development. One of these is Byju’s, an Indian start-up with the world’s highest valuation in its category, according to this article. The Bangalore-based company has even teamed up with Disney for some of its products. Among its acquisitions are also White Hat Jr and more recently Aakash Educational Services Limited in a 1-billion dollar deal.

Covid impacts Edtech positively

This goes to show that education technology is one of the few industries to be positively impacted by the pandemic. Byju’s, in particular, seems to be on a rampage to acquire companies which haven’t fared so well since, as is the case with Aakash. The latter is an exam-preparation-focused company, who trains young Indians for the country’s competitive entrance exams. Since its premise is physical, it can be presumed to have a taken a hit from India’s schools remaining closed and students staying home.

This sets the tone for Byju’s, which incidentally is backed by the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative and other Silicon Valley high-flyers. It’s becoming a bit of the tenor on the Indian EdTech scene, at least. So much so, that this is what might have caused Indian whistle-blower Pradeep Poonia to call out Byju’s and White Hat Jr on some of their practices.

In India only, the online education market is worth US$ 247 million. It is estimated that this industry will grow eight-fold in the next five years. With this type of money involved, companies are going to be pulling out all their stops to stay in the game. That is going for any other major player in the EdTech segment across the world.

But the industry is as varied as can be expected, for all of the different learning categories and needs out there in the world. For instance, among the top apps downloaded during the peak of the pandemic in May-June 2020, there were apps as different as Google Classrooms  – which is like a videoconferencing tool for students and learners – to Cake, which teaches simple English to beginners.

This shows that learning apps cannot dominate the market as single entities. Even if the giants like Google or the aspirants like Byju’s can hope to enlarge their catalogue of offerings, there is still room for apps like Photomath to progress.

Enter Youpal Group’s Youschool. This is a learning solution which includes technology’s latest must: pen and paper. Yes, good old traditional methods, which as our cover story this week reads, is more effective than just screen time, as per a new study endorsed by Microsoft.

Youschool comes with 3 moving parts: the Yougismo, which is a unique clip-on reflective device available nowhere else; the Youcam, which is a web-based camera and a sign-up software, which integrates easily on what users already have at home. The Yougismo is a light gadget which can fit on any of the 3.8 billion smartphones in the world. It enables students and teachers to show each other what they are doing.

Imagine you’re in a Math class online. You have missed an important step of solving a problem. Your teacher is showing you on a board which is too far away for you to properly see and you have no one sitting nearby. Yougismo is the band-aid which comes to fix this panic situation. It reflects what your teacher or friend is doing on pen and paper and allows them to view if you’ve understood correctly.

For STEM, Youschool is a saviour. But it’s also coming to bridge an important gap in the EdTech app grouping. The Yougismo isn’t a chip or complicated device which is going to cost a bomb to… quite the contrary. It’s going to be like candy in a bowl in all the classrooms of the future – on and offline.

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