LONDON: The GSMA today announced that mobile has the potential to dramatically change the way education is delivered, enhancing learning for over a billion people around the world. 'Transforming learning through mEducation', a new report from the GSMA and McKinsey & Company, reveals how a number of early trials in mEducation across diverse geographies and education segments have successfully improved education outcomes, indicating tremendous potential for mEducation in the future of learning worldwide.
"mEducation is poised to lead to a major transformation of the education landscape," said Ana Tavares Lattibeaudiere, Head of Connected Living at the GSMA. "Mobile operators can play a significant role beyond that of connectivity providers by developing products and managing systems. Teachers can teach in a more innovative and personalised way, leading to greater student engagement, higher attendance and improved achievement. Increased support by governments can assist the process of moving on from pockets of innovation to widespread mobile use in education and ultimately help drive global adoption."
Emerging Promise of mEducation
Early trials of using mobile technology to facilitate education in Asia have already resulted in substantial improvements to learning. For example, in India, local teachers introduced a simple mobile-based game to help primary school pupils from rural, low income households develop English-language comprehension, sentence construction and spelling. As a result, students' test scores improved by almost 60 per cent.
Meanwhile in the United States, teachers in New Mexico are using mobile devices to assess the reading progress of kindergarten pupils and develop their communication skills. Within the first three years, the percentage of children reading at the level expected for their age group went up from 29 per cent to 93 per cent.
Trends Leading the Education Revolution
Despite the momentum, there are still a number of barriers to overcome in both developed and developing territories. These include the perceived extra burden for IT departments in facilitating teaching through tech-based products; cultural resistance from some teachers who are reluctant to integrate new teaching methods into their classrooms; and some negative perceptions that still exist around the introduction of smartphones and tablets to the classroom.
To help overcome these barriers, the following trends support mEducation adoption:
- Growing support and promotion by governments worldwide for mEducation initiatives within schools, colleges and other education and training establishments;
- Mounting evidence highlighting the success of mEducation in improving access to education, learning outcomes and efficiency of education delivery;
- More mEducation pilot projects leading to commercial models that are sustainable for both education sector customers and service providers;
- Better understanding and sharing of mEducation innovations and best practices so these can be utilised, where applicable, in different learning scenarios around the world; and
- Increasing availability and affordability of mobile devices suitable for mEducation.
mEducation Market Opportunity
The mEducation market could generate a global revenue opportunity for mobile operators worth US$70 billion by 2020. mEducation products and services will represent a US$38 billion market, nearly 90 per cent of which will be generated through content such as educational e-books, software including educational apps and platforms such as learning management systems and mobile learning environments. The opportunity for mEducation devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will be worth a further US$32 billion by 2020.
Scope for Growth
The core opportunity for the mEducation market is the K-12 segment of kindergarten to grade 12 equivalent students, aged between six and 18, which receives around 55 per cent of global expenditure on education. Another key segment is higher education, which commands around 30 per cent of global education expenditure.
The market is predicted to grow at 50 to 55 per cent CAGR(1) between 2012 and 2020 in developing regions such as Latin America, developing Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa, compared to 25 to 30 per cent for developed regions of Europe, North America and developed Asia Pacific. Due to factors including first-time provision of the internet, lack of fixed line infrastructure and the more cost-effective deployment of mobile networks, mEducation spend will grow the fastest in developing Asia Pacific, while North America will remain the biggest market for mEducation products.
How Mobile Operators Can Enter the Market
Providing connectivity for mEducation products and services could be worth US$4 billion in revenues by 2020. However, a bigger opportunity for mobile operators is created across the entire value chain. For instance, enabling the mEducation ecosystem - through technical support such as IT, network, content and data management services - could generate revenues of US$20 billion. Taking the lead as an end-to-end mEducation service provider could open up the full US$70 billion opportunity. By assessing their capabilities, aspirations and risks, operators can determine their position in the future of the mEducation market.
"Mobile technology now has the potential to revolutionise education for people of all ages across the world," added Ms. Tavares Lattibeaudiere. "With the growing availability and demand for mEducation solutions, mobile operators can seize this opportunity to transform the classroom forever."