Insight: The promising future of learning technology

Lead Advisor Mia-Stiina Heikkala giving a keynote speech
Lead Advisor Mia-Stiina Heikkala giving a keynote speech

At Slush 2022 Helsinki Education Hub is providing an opportunity for attendees to experience the cutting edge EdTech innovations of the future. The EdTech showcase in Helsinki Partners Lounge on Thursday November 17th features four EdTech startups who will present their solutions and share a glimpse of the learning technology being developed to shape the future of education.

The mission of Helsinki Education Hub is to bring learning innovators (startups, investors, learners, pedagogical experts, researchers, private and public organizations) together under the same roof. Our target is to advance the business of learning technology startups and create new businesses by connecting and enhancing systematic collaboration from idea to innovation. We also bring out new perspectives and themes and enhance our stakeholders understanding of the growing importance of the industry’s potential, and that’s why we aim to elevate these four EdTech companies at Slush this year – to showcase the different themes and trends currently interpenetrating the industry. The startups are moving towards more fluid business solutions, creating contents and distribution routes to cater for the needs of both the public and private education sector.

Global challenges – Finnish pedagogical solutions

Do we know what the future needs of education providers and learners are? Not necessarily, but we do know that global events and paradigms such as climate change, political instability, and pandemics create instant and growing needs for learning. A need for educating vast amounts of people into new professions in an agile way has risen. How do we counter life-threatening conditions like heat and drought, or rebuild the education system of a country ravaged by war? How do we acquire and implement the resources needed to educate young and potential learners in emerging countries, accelerated by the rise of new economies?

These changes will happen with the help of digital learning solutions, and it is these needs and challenges the Finnish EdTech companies are striving to answer. Finnish startups strive to be evidence and research based, and at Helsinki Education Hub, we offer them the opportunity to co-create their solutions together with the end-users. The Finnish globally recognized pedagogical expertise heavily impacts the development of EdTech startups. This is enabled by the Finnish teachers, who are highly educated experts, and bring valuable insights into the solutions. We can state that our teachers are the crown jewels in creating true pedagogical impact.

The Finnish curriculum provides direction and functions as a basis for renewing education. Our pedagogical system is learner- and value-centric and our education system is highly valued with high quality. The future trend for Finnish education is to enable the capability to shape the world and solve challenges together for the learners. In order to achieve this, we also need international collaboration and expertise from abroad, which increases our understanding of global educational phenomena and new perspectives. Together we are stronger.

Impactful solutions developed for concrete needs

The EdTech solutions on display provide to and target a wide variety of learners, be it vocational learning through VR & AR, social emotional learning enhancing the life skills of youngsters, language learning in innovative ways, or health education in emerging countries on digital platforms. Examples of successful shifts within EdTech from recent years are the emergence of life-long learning and remote learning.

Highlighting progress from the Nordics, Finland was one of the fastest countries in adapting education to modern requirements and more fluid methods, enabling learning at and from households. In general, people are more eager to learn new skills, such as languages, with digital applications, and new EdTech services are attracting a growing number of private consumers. At the same time, corporations need proven and impactful solutions especially for enhancement of equality, remote working, multilingualism, and well-being at work. Corporations have started to wake up for building measurable and qualitative learning for their employees in order to enhance the attractiveness of the employer brand.

EdTech is agile, EdTech adapts, and EdTech anticipates

In recent years EdTech has been growing and fastening its foothold as a global trend. EdTech startups focus more strongly on the private sector, where both growth potential and needs exist. According to the Finnish EdTech Report 2022, 31 percent of Finnish EdTech startups focus on corporate learning, and almost 70 percent of companies are B2B, selling to education providers or corporations. Through education, we can create new research and innovate new solutions for both education providers and corporations. In addition, new and breakthrough products can change whole education systems as well. This means that EdTech startups are the key for a continuous momentum in creating innovative solutions to the market, both for the public and private sector. Furthermore, the possibilities don’t end there. The EdTech industry is also considered a vertical, which means that itconverges a lot of different industries and impacts for example the gaming and health industries.

The future of learning concentrates on individual and hybrid learning. In Finland, we already possess this superpower, as enabling learning is a crucial attribute in schools nationwide. We believe that corporations are re-inventing their learning enhancement methods towards more productive ways, and the usage of emerging technologies like AI and VR enable these major companies in different industries to boost up effective employee learning, for example in regulated industries like maritime and aviation. Summarized, we hope to see a change in mindset among industry stakeholders, especially investors, regarding the true and huge potential of learning technology startups. Hence, we invite all interested parties to attend the EdTech showcase in the Helsinki Partners Lounge at Slush 2022 – to experience the future of EdTech!

Mia-Stiina Heikkala, Lead Advisor, Helsinki Education Hub

Read more about the EdTech Showcase here: