The digital revolution is closing in on education. Electronic media is supplanting costly printed textbooks. Online platforms are making round-the-clock instruction available to anyone in the world, be it taking up a new language or taking in lectures from famous scholars at world-class universities. At the same time, augmented and virtual reality are taking digital learning beyond the lecture format, immersing students of all ages in the events of a different place and time.
And with the advent of artificial intelligence, cognitive algorithms will soon take on time-consuming tasks such as grading exams, identifying performance gaps and personalizing lesson plans — leaving faculty free to engage students via inquiry, insight and debate.
Exciting as it is, however, breakthrough technology isn’t enough to guarantee success in the education industry. An education technology (edtech) offering must also be fairly straightforward to acquire and implement. Its value to students and educators must be clear. And the market for it must be big enough to sustain a profitable business — now and for the foreseeable future.
How we help
L.E.K. combines primary research with advanced analytics and strategy consulting to help institutions and incumbent companies strengthen their presence in the digital arena. We likewise work with investors and entrepreneurs to identify investment opportunities and ways to maximize their returns.
Institutions and incumbent companies engage us to:
- Fine-tune existing digital capabilities. This includes assessing your organization’s digital health in light of the latest edtech innovations and solutions at each stage of the student life cycle. We can also put together a playbook for closing any asset or capability gaps.
- Uncover new opportunities. We can work with you to identify technology investments that can yield new revenue streams, additional market share, an improved student experience and/or better student outcomes.
- Set change in motion. We help you evaluate existing and potential competitive differentiators and then prioritize opportunities for the use of technology according to best practices in each education subsegment. We also can assess barriers to edtech adoption and ways to overcome them.
- Draw linkages between technology and outcomes. We can set up mechanisms that educators can use to gauge the value of an edtech application. Importantly, this includes working out how much influence the application is having on both the teaching and learning experiences.
Investors and entrepreneurs engage the Global Education practice to:
- Spot new ventures. We help you size up geographies, subsegments and other markets in the education landscape that are ripe for edtech disruption. On the flip side, we can also create a framework for evaluating an edtech investment opportunity in light of key factors, ratios and performance statistics.
- Develop and test new offerings. We can generate product or service ideas for meeting unmet needs, along with the business case for developing each one. We help you determine not just new formats but pricing as well. Beyond that, we can lay out a process to bring ideas to fruition.
- Identify and target priority customer segments. This includes influencers, decision-makers and consumers. We can help you define value propositions tailored to the needs of each segment, as well as ways to optimize the economics — from the perspectives of both provider and customer.
- Create go-to-market strategies. This involves both product launch plans to get your offering to customers and marketing plans that get your message in front of the audiences you need to reach. The goal is to direct your resources efficiently in stimulating sales and market positioning.
For more on how we help clients create value in edtech, consider the following examples:
- Digital transformation strategy for a private institution. We worked with this leading European institution of higher education to differentiate and strengthen its market positioning. Across the student life cycle — from student acquisition to alumni management — our team identified, assessed and prioritized the latest technological innovations. After that, we created a plan to carry out digital transformation in line with the institution’s stakeholder and financial objectives.
- Product strategy for a language-learning company. A China-based provider of online language instruction engaged us to help strengthen its position in the 10- to 16-year-old customer segment. We examined motivations of existing users and identified unmet needs within the segment. Based on these insights, we recommended an optimal product configuration and delivery approach, and then worked with management on tactical initiatives to put the changes in motion.
- Due diligence for a private equity firm. This group of investors engaged us to look under the hood of an Indian edtech product that had caught their interest. We evaluated the edtech company’s attractiveness in terms of its market, customers, competitors and potential for growth. This enabled the investors to make an informed decision on how to proceed.