Last week, Mary Meeker, a US venture capital investor published her annual internet trends report. Alex Walters dives in to see what we as learning experience designers can learn from the emerging data….

1. Education technology is an internet trend

The first really obvious thing to say is that education features in this report for only the second time ever and the first since 2014. EdTech it appears is a global trend that the outside world is paying attention to and some of the data in the report shows why. Where the 2014 report picked out a handful of leaders like Duolingo and Coursera, in 2019 we are seeing a whole new generation of companies that are growing at an extraordinary rate.

2. Formal education is expensive 

Mary loves a chart that trends up and to the right and none are more striking than the costs that learners need to incur to complete an undergraduate degree in the US. Private and public tuition fees are rising steeply in the US and so is the volume of debt required to pay those fees. With 710m new internet users expected to join the internet in the next 7 years, most from developing countries, the economics of high quality higher education looks set for large scale transformation.

Undergraduate tuition and student loans
Bond Internet Trends 2019. Undergraduate tuition and student loans.

3. Offline institutions are taking their offering online 

And many of those high charging institutions recognise the importance of taking their offline offering online, with some using 3rd party platforms to do so. Students of computer science, data science and electrical engineering can now access high quality degrees via Coursera.

Online degrees Coursera
Bond Internet Trends 2019. Degree programs offered online via Coursera.

4. Rapid growth for a number of different companies

Growth and expansion is a common theme in Mary Meeker’s reports and it appears that in 2019, EdTech companies have given her plenty of ammunition. Whether it’s online graduate programmes like 2U, Coursera, Udemy or communications companies like Remind, there are now a number of organisations achieving extraordinary scale at extraordinary speed.

the top online courses
Bond Internet Trends 2019. Top online courses.

5. China and India

The ELT community has known about some of the big language learning apps for a while but recent rounds of investment are enabling already big companies to grow even bigger. VIPkids appears to have trebled its student learners in the last 2 years alone and Byju’s now has nearly 2m paying users from a near standing start in 2016.

Online learning continues to rise
Bond Internet Trends 2019. Learning English Online.

Mary rounds up the education section by saying that more growth, more users and more choice is driving down costs for learners. Watch this space, there is certainly more to come. 

Watch a summary of Mary’s Meeker’s 2019 internet trends report

If you enjoyed this article, check out our post: ELT and the future of the internet with the main takeaways from the 2018 internet trends report. 

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