Tag Archives: Udacity

The rise of ed-tech

As people begin to embrace the digital age and acknowledge the benefits of online learning, the e-learning market has continued to grow. According to Docebo, the worldwide market for self-paced e-learning has reached $35.6 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow to $51.5 billion by 2016. It’s no wonder that many investors have now set their sights on the ed-tech space with the hopes that a few will go the distance and be the next Lynda.com that was acquired for $1.5 billion by LinkedIn earlier this year. This week, the funding continues as startups like HotChalk, Udacity, Authess, Schoology and VersaMe all caught the eye of investors, while Instructure, a Utah-based ed-tech company, went public on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. On the acquisition front, Fronter and InfoSnap were acquired by itslearning and PowerSchool, respectively. As the ed-tech industry continues to transform our traditional education system, we expect to see this trend to continue in the coming months.

A special time for education


Have you ever imagined what education will be like in the future? Ten years ago, the iPhone, Android phones and tablets did not even exist; but today these devices have moved into classrooms worldwide and have triggered the start of a tech revolution in learning. Content based online education has been around for a while, but the recent innovations in mobile content-delivery, functionality and interactivity, are now allowing students and teachers to share ideas and conversations anywhere/anytime, taking learning well-beyond the confines of a classroom. Investors are clambering to try to get a piece of the fast-evolving ed-tech market. This week, Udacity, MasteryConnect and Jike Xueyuan, a Chinese IT education startup, all received funding. In addition, Blackboard, the Washington DC-based ed-tech behemoth acquired UK-based Requestec, a provider of custom-made SMS and MMS applications. With more and more investment pouring in into the multi billion-dollar ed-tech industry, analysts expect to see continued innovation and some sizeable exits. In the words of Bill Gates, who’s a firm believer in the future of ed-tech, this is indeed “a special time in education.”

Udacity’s audacity


Online education has changed the face of education. Free courses called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have given people from all over the world, from all walks of life, access to high quality, free online courses. One of the startups that led the revolution was Udacity. This year, Udacity teamed up with AT&T, as well as other tech firms such as, Cloudera; Salesforce; Autodesk; Google; Hack Reactor; Facebook; and MongoDB, to offer Nanodegrees. Nanodegrees are scholarships being offered to high school graduates, aspiring programmers and data analysts who want to build their tech skills. The beauty of the Nanodegree is it provides students with affordable, short, career-specific training programs that can create a viable career path. AT&T, which invested $3 million into Udacity to develop a series of courses, has sponsored the first program that will include web development, iOS development and data analyst courses. The company also offered 100 paid internships to top graduates of the Nanodegree program. Today, Udacity has raised $35 million additional funding to further bankroll the program.

You can read about the funding here.