UX Trends in EdTech We're Looking Forward to in 2019

Education, as an industry, is flourishing with innovations. From rapid growth in learner-centred approaches and remote working, to new hardware that demands novel interaction design principles - there are plenty of challenges for UX professionals to tackle with their design thinking tools. Inspired by everything we’ve seen whilst participating in BETT 2019 conference in London last week, and reflecting on our own experiences in product design from 2018, we wanted to share our forecast of the major UX trends that we believe will make an impact this year in EdTech.

Learning analytics: Exposing the blindspots 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are still hot buzzwords, not only in EdTech. However, what is new in 2019 is that the application of these technologies is finding novel use cases in the field of education. These are mostly focused not on replacing the existing tools that are on teachers’ disposal, but offering tools that make new tasks possible. 

Now you may ask why would teachers already stretched on time want to do more? The answer lies in the impact of these new tasks in terms of improving quality of education, which more than makes up for the investment. Insights such as nuances of student performance, test performance, and signaling of both positive and negative trends in a school is a knowledge that will make it possible to act more efficiently than ever when and where it is needed. It is the promise to reveal unknown unknowns - things you didn’t know you didn’t know.

Incorporating these new technologies smoothly into everyday work of teachers and helping them discover all the benefits will be one of the challenges for UX professionals in EdTech in 2019.

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Why we’re excited

Inspera has its own R&D team who are working on a number of exciting projects in the field of learning analytics and psychometrics in partnership with both educational insitutions and other industry pioneers. Read more about it here.

Accessibility: Raising the adoption rates globally

A famous Gandhi quote says: “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” - and the same can be applied when thinking about the success of education and edtech - it is serving its purpose only if it’s working well for all categories of learners. Accessibility trends will also include demands for offline exam deliveries that can make EdTech independent of uninterrupted internet access, and removing infrastructure barriers to global adoption.

Accessibility has always been a concern for all UX professionals, regardless of their operational industry, but here in EdTech, it is now gaining considerable traction among decision makers of all types of stakeholders.

Why we’re excited

Inspera Assessment already supports offline deliveries, and has high accessibility standards, but we hope that this year we will be able to take this offer even further in order to expand our network of learners globally.

STEM: Great subject-matter match to the possibilities of EdTech

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is a group of subjects that are exact sciences often involving numbers, formulas, code, and drawings in assessment. These subjects have distinctly unique predispositions and challenges when it comes to EdTech use cases and adoption, especially in the area of online assessment. Therefore, it is not surprising that 2019 is seeing growth in interest devoted to specialised technology that is targeting this user group.

As UX professionals, we can help shape these technologies by discovering and communicating user needs, designing new question types and learning environments, and properly channelling the overall possibilities of this sub-domain.

Why we’re excited

Inspera Assessment offers extensive STEM support in form of specialised question types, and LaTeX or programming code input. These question types are often possible to be auto-marked, minimising the possibility of mistakes in marking. We are looking forward to the new challenges, and our R&D team already have their experimenting hat on.

Integrations: Cutting through the noise and connecting the dots

Teachers feel more empowered than ever to make use of the plethora of available online tools, with an objective to customise the learning experience to the nature of their subject, course, year group, and personal styles of teaching and learning. As online assessment is becoming a standard in supporting course delivery, and the market is maturing, it is now not enough for a software app to do its thing well, if isolated from the rest of the e-learning life-cycle. In particular, advanced practitioners want to match their vision of the digital campus with all the tools connected in the cloud, blending the borders between formative and summative by taking control of the data flow and merging of numerous resources. The eco-system of digital teaching and learning is becoming more complex.

Therefore, enabling the data flow between the apps, such as between VLEs and e-examinations tools, is necessary, in order to cut through the noise and connect the dots. That is not a purely engineering challenge - UX professionals are needed to help answer questions such as why the teachers need a particular integration, how to display to user the imported data, when the integration needs to be triggered in the workflow, what is the overall impact on the workflow, user engagement, and success in jobs-to-be-done.

Why we’re excited

Inspera Assessment is committed to enabling our clients to customise their platform so that they can make the best connection between all the links in their toolbox, with the power of industry standards and open APIs - and this year we’ll continue to expand what’s possible.

Learn more

Interested in our UX and product design practice? Read more on our Product page, and feel free to reach out if you want to continue the conversation.

Topics: digital assessment, e-assessment, online exams, usability, design

Anja Sisarica

Written by Anja Sisarica

User Researcher & Product Strategist - Inspera Assessment