It’s true that you have to keep in mind a wide range of characteristics that impact the design of all educational products, but it is inevitable for companies to have a key focus on the importance of the blend of design and digital trends to create products with an edge.
With the growth of the Edtech sector, we are witnessing the launch of a lot of education products and apps to drive better adoption by their stakeholders; and there are no points for guessing that a good UI, UX, Design is the core reason for the product usage. Edtech space holds a lot of promise in India, considering how digital technologies in education can significantly improve affordability and distribution, which are both equally important to make a difference in a demography as of India.
Challenges and Growth aspects of Education Technology industry in India
As far as the growth of Education Technology is concerned, the Industry in India is second to none on the global scenario. Companies such as Tata Interactive, Extramarks, Educomp etc, have already made a huge impact in this country and will continue to do so, in the next 10 years. With a country this large in size as well as demand for education, EdTech is not a choice for us, it is a necessity. However, as it is the case with many Industries, not much R&D spending is seen in this technology and the reasons are many.
A few of the unique challenges for the Indian Edtech market:
- Affordability is of prime concern and spending in R&D is usually recovered through the pricing of the successful product. Since we are a predominantly price-sensitive market, it will take a few more years for us to see proactive R&D spending in this domain.
- Because of our sheer diversity, we tend to see extremes. While on the one hand, we have an upwardly mobile upper-middle class with access to state-of-the-art educational systems, on the other we see challenges in the delivery of basic quality of education and infrastructural challenges.
- One of the biggest impediments to EdTech is the quality of infrastructure or the lack of it. It demands internet connectivity, availability of uninterrupted power among others.
- Another big challenge is the ICT skills of teachers. A vastly varying levels of ICT skills among teachers exist and it becomes a very big impediment in depending on them for advocacy and delivery.
Considering UX and Design’s core proposition in charting Edtech’s way ahead
There are a few domains where UX is far more important than the others; Education is one among those. As an EdTech company, your growth will majorly depend on transforming conventional educators to digital educators and it would take a well thought out and executed UX to ease that transformation.
Adoption rate is directly proportional to the quality of User Experience. For entrepreneurs in education and Edtech startups a few points worth noting would be:
- Most of our assumptions in terms of tech-savviness and familiarity with interfaces can be proved wrong by our users. Hence, it will be an absolute necessity to involve end-users in design sprints by way of conducting concept, usability and proposition tests at various stages of the design development process.
- It will be important to build your interfaces for beginners, not experts. A very large percentage of the users will belong in the beginner category, hence, setting this as a baseline for ease of use is essential.
More than any other domain, the Education domain requires a careful balance of Value vs Pain equation. What is the value we are providing for the pain user is subject to? Researched subjects reveal that many stakeholders feel technology in education as an additional job, something they are forced to perform, in addition to what they are already doing. In simple terms, they are not getting the value vs pain equation right.