Trends that are changing EdTech in Russia: analysis by Umschool experts
Most of the high school students in regular schools lack quality exam preparation and practical subjects. Here is how EdTech is tackling this problem while following trends are shaping its development in Russia:
Trend 1. Interest in online training of schoolchildren is growing.
“Interest in online courses continues to grow in 2023, forming new demands for the EdTech market. For example, among teenagers there is a demand for a personalized approach, adaptation of text based content into videos, and gamification of the learning process,” says Dmitry Danilov, CEO and founder of the Umschool online exam preparation school.
Umschool experts conducted a field research on current trends in online education and ways to make the process of online preparation for final exams the most effective.
The study found: the more time a pupil dedicates to completing online preparation, the higher their score on the exam is. At the same time, boosting the number of subjects studied on the platform has a cumulative effect, which in the end leads to an increase in the average score. For example, if a pupil takes two subjects, the average score increases by 1.26, if four subjects are taken, the average score increases by 3.87.
In general, pupils of 9th-11th grades estimate that school helps them to prepare for exams to score 4.7 points out of 10. The main reason for turning to the online format for the overwhelming majority of pupils (87%) is the desire to prepare for the upcoming exam in a structured way.
Trend 2. EdTech is setting the standards for the field
Russian education is moving towards standardization. Federal educational programmes have been emerging while the Ministry of Education has been preparing unified state textbooks for all subjects to be used by both lyceums and rural schools.
According to Alexey Konobeev, Academic Director of Umschool.Academy, candidate of pedagogical sciences, associate professor at MPSU, the EdTech world is geared towards similar changes. As a result, in 2022, Russia introduced a federal list of electronic learning resources recommended for use in schools.
“In order to get on this list, resources need to undergo an audit by the Russian Academy of Education. A number of Umschool courses have already successfully passed this inspection. Now we are getting ready for the accreditation to be included in the federal list of electronic learning resources,” says Konobeev.
Trend 3. EdTech aims for personalisation.
Alongside standardization, a contrasting trend is developing too – customisation of education. Each person has different abilities, reaction speed and peculiarities of processing information. Therefore, EdTech companies make training courses flexible and personalized.
Digital resources provide users with a wide range of choices. For example, in Umschool.Academy, university students can decide whether to study a particular subject at a measured pace and to the fullest extent possible, or to take a fast track course in that subject to intentionally prepare for a specific exam.
What is more, students have access to extra subjects that are not part of the university syllabi. This allows them to learn new skills and take the first steps towards an additional qualification.
Trend 4. Tutors are revolutionizing online education.
The role of tutors as professional learner-focused educators who create stimulating learning environments will continue to grow in the sphere of online education. Tutors for children and teenagers have been communicating with online teachers and online schools a lot more lately as they seek to better customize education, says Artem Grigoryan, candidate of philological sciences, Head of the Russian Literature Department at the Dolgikh Technoliceum (Moscow Region).
“SEL (Social and Emotional Literacy) is taking center stage as its role in education has been increasing. In fact, SEL is even more important online: here we are physically further away from the child, we have fewer tools of communication and stimulative leverages, yet we need to keep the child’s attention,” Grigoryan points out.
Trend 5. EdTech market seeks to enhance learning.
Market stakeholders continue to look for more ways to accelerate the learning process for the users. For instance, tools such as intensive courses with multiple daily lessons have become available, with one of their main tasks being to support and motivate students. Another example is the use of AI applications that act as interactive assistants.
“This task is unlikely to be completed quickly as there are certain physiological limitations in terms of the speed at which new information can be absorbed. But every step in this direction, even a small one, does matter,” comments Alexey Konobeev.
Trend 6. The role of soft skills and practical skills is growing in education.
The need to change jobs has increased now like never before: oftentimes it is not just a transition from one employment to another, but it can also be a complete change of the field of work. Therefore, the role of soft skills is now growing – they are transferable skills that help to achieve pre-set goals and collaborate with other people.
Skills, unlike knowledge, can be demonstrated in practice rather than in tests, says Alexey Konobeev, Academic Director of Umschool.Academy. “The ways to measure the formation of these skills are being actively studied to figure out how we can establish the level of one’s mastery of such skills” he says.
In addition, Konobeev points out that online educators in the TechEd market are trying to teach users practical skills. This allows one to quickly provide students with entry-level professional skills that can be used in junior positions without having to study the basic sciences.
The results of the Umschool research indicate that, on average, the usefulness of skills in daily life learnt by pupils at school is rated as 5 points out of 10. At the same time, 30% of pupils reported that they lack the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge in a practical way, while 65% of high school students feel that there is a lack of subjects at school that are oriented towards real-life situations. As an example, some teenagers (25%) would like to study such useful subjects as psychology and financial literacy.
Concurrently with all the above said, online learning, which most teenagers choose as a structured way to prepare for final exams, also allows them to achieve their goal and significantly improve their final scores.
Umschool is one of Russia’s largest online schools for preparing for the online preparation for final exams. Since 2021 it has been a part of VK company and since 2020 a resident of Skolkovo. Over the 7 years of its operation, the online school has graduated more than 200,000 students: 3200+ passed exams with 100 points, 34,000+ passed exams with 90+ points and another 29,000+ passed the USE with “5”, and 49 kids became prize winners of various Olympiads in 2023. Umschool is a finalist of HeadHunter’s Russia Employer Rating 2022. It is in the top 10 of EDtechs rating for 2022. Dmitry Danilov, CEO and founder of the Umschool online exam preparation school, is the winner of Forbes “30 under 30” rating for 2023.