What Shifting Back to In-Person Learning Means for EdTech

Sean Oakes bio picture Sean Oakes

Fall 2021 is still up in the air as school districts around the country consider whether to permanently end remote learning. 

In May, New York City announced that remote learning will no longer be an option for its students in the fall. In 2020, about 600,000 of its 1,000,000 students chose to learn from home. 

Meanwhile, more than half of San Francisco’s public school students are still learning remotely. Hybrid classrooms are expected to continue in the new school year.

What does the shift to in-person mean for the edTech industry? And how should you address it in your own product planning sessions this fall?

We break it all down for you below.

How Remote Learning Changed edTech User Journeys

The user journeys for edTech have officially changed. As they return to in-person or hybrid classrooms, teachers will be more fluent in technology, including edTech tools. They’re on the hunt for more sophisticated learning tools and interested in using edTech to extend learning outside the classroom.

Parents and school administrators are looking for ways to eliminate 2020 learning loss, too. edTech tools that can be used in both the home and the classroom will still have wide appeal. 

Finally, just because we’re making plans to return to school in the fall doesn’t mean COVID has left us for good. School districts and other buyers likely have new requirements for remote learning functionality in case COVID cases spike again. Your buyer persona will want the ability to address remote learning on a class-by-class basis, making flexible products even more appealing.

4 Remote Learning Take-Aways for In-Person Learning

No matter what kind of edTech product you’re building this year, use these 4 tips to help you stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Allow users to customize learning content.
    Learning content will benefit from teacher prompts and customized sequencing suggestions, making it easier for students to learn at home or on-the-go.


  2. Design for parent personas
    Parent personas aren’t going away. Address this new persona through onboarding, dashboards, and other product features.


  3. Prepare for hybrid learning
    Hybrid classrooms mean your remote-learning features might be a more permanent change.


  4. Schedule a classroom field test
    There’s a new user baseline for in-person teaching with digital tools. Test product features with your users in real time to find out how the last year transformed their skillset.

Additional Resources

Want to read more about how a year of remote learning will affect edTech next year? You might also like: 

  1. How a Year of Digital Learning Will Shape edTech in 2021 
  2. 6 Easy SEL Features for Remote Learning Products
  3. What Teachers Really Need in a Remote Learning Product
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