Educational technology (EdTech) refers to the management of teaching and learning materials and processes using technological tools and applications. The terms online learning, virtual learning, and e-learning are often interchangeable with EdTech.
Reliance on EdTech for enterprise-level workforce training is increasing, as organizations seek to onboard new employees, retain and motivate staff, and bridge skill gaps with limited learning and development (L&D) resources. Many specialized jobs also require continuing education and accreditation which can be supported by EdTech tools and services.
The modern workforce’s drive to learn new skills and take on new challenges have also influenced the adoption of EdTech with e-learning now representing 21% – 40% of the median organization’s learning portfolio in contrast with 1% – 20% five years ago.
Corporate educational technology (EdTech) products and services can be broadly categorized as content-focused, service-focused or providing a delivery solution.
The EdTech corporate learning market is dominated by incumbents specializing in content, services, delivery solutions or a combination of these factors. Disruptive EdTech startups are mostly early- and growth-stage firms that have attracted investor attention on the strength of high-quality or unique content, efficient delivery methods, affordability or a combination of these factors.
Leading content providers such as Skillsoft, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight maintain extensive reach by catering to both individual learners and corporate clients with a mix of freemium and subscription-based business models. That reach is extended through partnerships with firms in the service and delivery solutions space.
Many of these companies also operate across academic institutions as well as business organizations. Kaplan’s (a business of Graham Holdings) higher education programs, professional training, certifications, test preparation, and student support services are used by academic institutions and businesses, while Pearson’s solutions span PreK-12 education, higher education, and industry and professional education.
Distributors of learning management systems include SAP, Adobe, and Microsoft. These companies have grown their portfolios by expanding—often by way of acquisition—into content and support services such as authoring and communication, as well as human resource functions like recruitment, compensation, and performance evaluation.