Online education in a pandemic: shock innovation or new opportunities?

In 2020, the EdTech industry experienced explosive growth driven by self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. This opened up new opportunities for online projects and startups, but ordinary schools were not ready for this.


Online education or homeschooling?

Online education is a format in which the entire educational process is built around a specific online platform: lessons and assignments, tests and assessments, communication between students and teachers. These can be services for higher and secondary education, courses, master classes, intensive courses. The methods by which the classes are structured can be both traditional and completely author's. All technical possibilities are used: video tutorials, animation, VR.


What we faced during the period of self-isolation is, rather, distance learning at home. The nuance is that there is no single platform or tool that would solve all problems. Pupils and teachers have to use several services and communication means at once, as well as ordinary notebooks and textbooks. The educational process itself is structured in much the same way as in a regular school, without any technical innovations.


The most in-demand producers of online courses at EdTech are those who know how to pack educational content into a new digital format.



The main trends in online education, according to HolonQ:



According to the UN, more than 263 million children in the world cannot study full-time - due to geographical remoteness, poverty or the closure of schools in zones of armed conflict. Online training can solve this problem.


Big data and AI.

With the help of analytics and special algorithms, you can optimize the educational process and organize it so that it is convenient for everyone to work even with large volumes of information. AI will help personalize learning by tracking which student needs help in time.



New technologies give more freedom for creativity, non-standard formats and approaches to teaching - right up to AR and VR lessons. At the same time, routine tasks can be automated using the same algorithms, chat bots, and online reporting.



A method in which large amounts of information are broken up into small blocks to make them easier to digest. This is especially true now, when children are absorbed in gadgets and cannot concentrate on anything for more than a couple of minutes.


Online platforms and aggregators.

These are online resources like Coursera, iSpring, Skyeng, or Yandex.Textbook, where you can conduct online courses, school lessons, group or individual lessons. Unfortunately, there is still no single platform for public schools and universities: most classes are held in Zoom or other video chats, and assignments are sent by mail or instant messengers.


According to a study by TalentTech, Netology and EdMarket, in 2019 the online learning market in the world was measured at $ 6.5 trillion. The forecast for 2025 is $ 8 trillion, for 2030 - $ 10 trillion. 

According to HolonQ, the global online education market is growing at a frantic pace. Today, there are 19 unicorn companies (those that cost over $ 1 million) located in India, China and the United States. Over the past ten years, they have attracted more than $ 9 billion in investments.


In 2020, 42 largest EdTech companies held 58 mega-venture rounds (that is, they attracted investments of $ 100 million at the final stage of the company's development) totaling more than $ 16 billion.For example, the Chinese Zouyebang raised $ 750 million, the Indian Byju became the first EdTech project worth more than $ 10 billion, and China's Yuanfudao has completed the final series of investments for $ 1 billion - the world's largest fundraising for an education company.