Global Spending on K-12 Digital Instruction and Assessment to Double Over Next 4 Years, Analysis Predicts

Staff Writer

Global demand for K-12 digital instruction and assessment will more than double by 2025, as schools’ reliance on digital learning continues to grow.

That’s according to a new analysis released this week by global education research and intelligence company HolonIQ.

Amid the spike in remote learning in 2020, schools’ and governments’ spending on ed tech worldwide rose to a total of $19.4 billion last year, up 21 percent from 2019, according to HolonIQ.

Global spending on digital content and assessment is expected to surge to $42.5 billion in 2025, steadily rising from a baseline projection of $22.7 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent year-over-year.

The analysis does not include what are typically some of the biggest areas of ed-tech spending by school system, such as devices and data platforms, and focuses more on instructional resources. 

Five major factors will drive this growth, according to the study:

  • K-12 resources continue to shift from a print to digital format. Curricular materials have progressively shifted from print to digital formats over time, and HolonIQ expects that trend to continue, with print formats being reserved mostly for supplemental materials.
  • There’s an increasing interest in the flexibility provided by online learning. Schools are looking more and more for versatile solutions that can be used in both virtual and in-class environments. “Providers from both ends are now supporting those needs – whether LMSs incorporating content, or publishers providing digital learning environments and we are likely to see more convergence in this space,” the report says. 
  • A shift from summative to formative assessment. As the world continues its overall trend of transitioning away from high-stakes assessments, technology development has lowered barriers for adoption of formative assessment in the K-12 space. Teachers can provide digital feedback and use analytics to check and report on students’ academic progress.
  • Internet connectivity and device uptake is ramping up worldwide. Governments around the globe are rethinking ways to provide equitable access to education after the pandemic exposed the K-12 digital divide, HolonIQ said. Schools have been working with companies through funding initiatives to strengthen internet connectivity for K-12 students and teachers at home and at school, the study says.
  • Curriculum is becoming more applicable in the global context, moving beyond local markets. Curriculum is growing in relevance across national borders, the report says, especially in foundational areas such as STEM and literacy, as well as in the area of social-emotional learning. Digital materials with interactive elements that can be tweaked for context and local standards can find new regional or global markets, HolonIQ said.

For purposes of the analysis, HolonIQ broadly defined digital instruction and assessment as digital platforms and content geared toward core and supplemental learning, including curriculum, courseware, formative testing and assessment, digital supplements, video, and interactive assets.

The report excluded student information systems, learning management systems, hardware, and physical classroom technology.

In developing its revenue estimates, HolonIQ indexes thousands of public market sizing estimates for global industries and education subsectors, HolonIQ co-CEO Patrick Brothers wrote in a blog post.

In addition, HolonIQ uses machine learning to estimate revenue of companies in each market based on several variables, including country headquarters; number and growth of employees; known revenue trends based on public disclosures, web traffic, and hiring; and, web technology spend.

“Once considered ‘nice to have’, digital educational content and instructional materials are rapidly becoming a foundation for learning in K-12 settings and working their way deep into federal, state and district budgets around the world,” the report says.

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Image by Getty

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