- Graduates with skills in gaming, simulation design, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence building new ways to improve literacy and essential skills to dramatically improve the productivity of Canadian companies and organizations.
- Health care professionals having on demand access to the latest skills and knowledge needed for effective practice.
- Apprentices able to call for assessment of their skills and competencies on demand and securing validation of their knowledge, skills and capabilities quickly.
- Every company and organization having access to quality training “on demand” in the new skills needed to fully leverage artificial intelligence and analytics in the workplace.
- EdTech as an engine of employment growth in Ontario.
These are the kind of developments which we are beginning to see in Ontario and around the world.
What will it take to accelerate the growth of the EdTech sector in Ontario and see it as a major opportunity for reskilling?
- On demand micro-credentials, in English and French, equipping learners with the knowledge, skills and capabilities needed to be successful as someone working in the EdTech industry. Lifelong learning is key as technology developments occur rapidly. All learners need to stay current with their learning portfolio.
- Greater investment in supports for the growth of the industry through Ontario’s innovation system.
- Focused venture capital funds to help EdTech companies grow.
- Incentives in workplaces for training and development, including access to micro-credentials and programs.
- The development of an EdTech industry strategy, which creates industry-led partnerships with government, education and others to enable growth.
Imagine Ontario expanding its EdTech sector so it outpaces employment growth in manufacturing. Imagine the post-COVID Ontario as a jurisdiction in which technology-enabled learning is a feature of all of our lives, powered by “Made in Ontario” technologies.
Fact: Ontario is home to a growing number of the more than 100 established and recent start-upsin educational technology (EdTech) who provide a range of services from one of the world’s leading learning management systems, one of the most robust peer assessment systems, a powerful content management system and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled technologies for learning and simulation.
Fact: Education worldwide is a $6.5 trillion industry, growing at 5% each year. Within this industry, the educational technology industry is estimated to be growing at 11% each year and will reach $341 billion by 2025 in global sales, up from $245 billion in 2019. This estimate was developed before COVID-19 and before 1.6 billion learners engaged in some form of distance education, much of it online. The general expectation there will be an acceleration of trends already apparent. The technology enabling online learning is now in the position e-commerce was in 2004: about to launch.
Fact: Ontario leads Canada in digital and online learning. Ontario, before COVID-19, according to the Canadian eLearning Network, had approximately 65,000 Ontario elementary and secondary students from public and independent schools taking at least one online course in 2017-2018. In 2019, 150,000 college and university students took at least one fully online course as part of their program of studies (550,000 course registrations) with every institution offering online courses. Ontario’s college and university students can choose from some 20,000+ online courses and over 980 fully online programs. Post COVID-19, these numbers will grow significantly, helped by Ontario’s decision to require all high school students to complete at least two credits through online learning before graduating.
Fact: The information and communications technology (ICT) industry, as a whole, is a major engine of growth in Canada, employing over 531,000 people directly and an additional 478,000 indirectly, twice the number employed in the energy sector. It contributes $70 billion to Canada’s GDP and accounts for over 5% of Ontario’s GDP. Over 47% of those who work in ICT are university graduates, with Ontario being a major hub for the ICT industry. The industry in Ontario secured over $541 million in venture capital funding in 2019. EdTech is a key part of the ICT industry.