The Power of Mobile in Changing Education (#mlearning)
We rely on mobile technology for many simple tasks, but we have yet to tap its potential to enable and even transform education. That’s why experts from McKinsey and GSMA published a report “Transforming learning through mEducation” last year(2012). It reviewed early initiatives that already enhanced learning outcomes worldwide. With growing availability and demand, the report predicted mEducation is poised to become a USD 70 billion market by 2020.
To view mEducation as “distance learning using mobile technology” misses the deeper point. mEducation represents a profound shift in the way education is delivered and received.
Our research shows that mEducation offers three advantages with the potential to improve education delivery and thereby enhance learning outcomes:
- It simplifies access to content and experts, overcoming traditional constraints of time, location and collaboration
- It personalizes education solutions for individual learners, helping educators customize the teaching process, using software and interactive media that adapt levels of difficulty to individual students’ understanding and pace
- It addresses specific challenges that lower the efficiency of educational systems worldwide. Case in point: MIT’s Education Collaboration Services gives teachers access to best practices.
The following trends were pointed out:
- Education spend will grow the fastest in developing Asia-Pacific at a CAGR of 54% between 2011-20, while North America will remain the biggest market in absolute terms with a total annual spend of USD 15 billion for mEducation products and solutions by 2020
- 75-80% of spending will be in higher education and K-12, while corporate learning will account for 10-20%, varying by market
- In parallel with online education spend, almost 90% of mEducation services will rely on content, enabling platforms and software.
Mobile operators can tap the potential of mEducation in three ways:
- Ride the connectivity wave: This is the immediate opportunity for mobile operators and where they have the most natural right to play. It will be worth approximately USD 4 billion in annual revenue by 2020
- Enable the mEducation ecosystem: mEducation providers will require a broad range of technical support and enablers such as IT, network, content, hosting and data management services. Mobile operators can develop their capabilities to offer this support, tapping into a revenue pool of approximately USD 20 billion
- Lead as an end-to-end mEducation provider: MNOs can invest upfront and enter the market on their own, providing the entire range of services that include in-house content and/or devices. This throws open the entire mEducation opportunity, worth approximately USD 70 billion.
mEducation could provide tangible solutions to these following issues:
- Lack of access to high-quality and relevant content
- Undertrained teachers
- Lack of tailored approaches
- Infrequent evaluation and feedback
- Lack of data and analytics to benchmark student performance
Mobile Apps have become the most popular medium for delivering education content. Consumers are also willing to spend on relatively more expensive educational apps compared to entertainment apps.
The device opportunity alone will be worth USD 32 billion by 2020. The seven product and solution archetypes of mEducation could be a USD 38 billion revenue opportunity by 2020. Almost 90% of the product opportunity will be in content, platform and software. Case studies on product opportunities and commercial business models were reviewed as well.
The report quoted a recent study on the long-term impact of education establishes that even slight improvements in the quality of education, such as a 25-point increase in PISA6 scores, would result in an aggregate GDP upside of USD 115 trillion over the entire lifetime of the generation born in 2010 for OECD countries. Governments around the world are warming up to the potential of mEducation.
The report can be downloaded here: GSMA and McKinsey: Transforming learning through mEducation.