BETT Blog: Creating a Common Language in the Education Market

Racepoint Global

Following our interview with a Looked-after-Children’s (LAC) on how technology has created a culture of  haves and have nots in education, Mark Fowler looks at how technology companies can tackle communication in the sector.

The traditional pathway from education to career seems obvious: primary through to secondary school and then to college or university. But that journey is not quite as uniform as it seems. Budgets, social factors and technology may have created more choice for students but it has  left the sector fragmented. Institutions will need to rely on technology to deliver services that are both effective and more desirable to students. However, it has become a crowded marketplace for those hoping to expand their service offerings into education. While budgets will always remain tight in education, how can businesses successfully communicate the benefits of their solutions, when their audience is so varied?

Multiple Divisions

Annual league tables of schools and universities regularly draw attention to the disparities in results across the education sector but the depth and breadth of divisions go much further than we realise. There is, of course, the traditional have and have-nots of North and South; a situation that has created such a divide in standards and achievement that Chief of OFSTED, Michael Wilshaw, identified as a contributing factor for Brexit. Across the board, however, state school budgets are shrinking. In fact, it has been reported that Grammar Schools in England (typically located in more affluent regions) will charge parents of pupils to bolster their budgets. The divisions go even further with academies, increased presence of private providers in higher education, and growing competition among universities to attract students. All of this has created a much more diverse landscape based on choice.

Learn your own way

At the same time, the way people learn is changing. Learning by rote, verb tables and handwriting tests are out and tablets, coding and even VR are in. Technology has allowed for structured and private learning to become more flexible, more interactive, more fun and (most importantly) more effective. Take a look at your phone. You quite possibly have some form of learning app – Duolingo or Babbel for languages, perhaps – installed. Learning has become a persistent and personal process driven by technology. It’s for this reason the global education technology market is set to grow to $252bn by 2020.

It’s a huge opportunity for those technology firms selling to this sector, but the fragmented nature of this industry makes communicating to education providers – all of which have very different considerations and needs – a massive challenge. Engaging with struggling primary schools and best in class universities takes a very different approach and requires tailored messaging that acknowledges the unique obstacles faced by each segment of the market. Positioning your business in such a way as to stand out from the crowd without alienating anyone will be the key to unlocking your share of that $252 billion.

If you want to discuss how your company can bridge the communication gap in education, Racepoint will be at BETT in London’s Excel Centre, 25-28 January 2017.