Shifts in EdTech: What This Top-Level Hiring Trend Means for You

Sean Oakes bio picture Sean Oakes

Tech-focused edTech startups are ramping up their hiring, especially for roles at the intersection of UX, product, and technology. 

Over the past month, new chief product officer positions have popped up at:

  • GoCoach, a professional development and education platform
  • DreamBox Learning, a math software company
  • Sketchy, an illustrated learning platform for medical and pharmaceutical students

What does this shift in edTech hiring mean for you and your company? And how can you get ahead of the curve through UX edTech research and product planning?

We break it all down for you below.

Why Smart edTech Start-Ups Are Investing in UX 

Shifts in edTech are happening faster than ever, and smart product leaders are essential to weathering these changes. Product leaders must have their finger on the pulse and be able to encourage their team to adopt and maintain a nimble mindset. 

As edTech start-ups mature, they’re finding new opportunities to invest in leadership, review their products, and address UX challenges. By refining the experience of their products, these start-ups will likely see bigger gains in adoption and customer success.

When chief product officers know how to build for this level of flexibility and adaptability, they’re better able to respond to the needs of their customers and incorporate new technologies more quickly into the classroom.

From B2B to B2C: The Great edTech Pivot Continues

This hiring mindset is likely driven by the industry-wide pivot from B2B product to consumer technology. The pandemic shook things up so much that the fastest-growing edTech companies are now thinking about multiple markets. In order to expand their reach and appeal to family consumers, many of these companies are pivoting B2B learning tools to commercial products.

When edTech companies pivot to the B2C market, their products must be more user-friendly than ever. Under these conditions, investing in UX is a smart move. It allows your sales team to market and sell your products more easily—and has the added benefit of making your customer service team’s job easier, too. 

This also means that edTech companies who keep chief technology officers in product development positions risk getting out-maneuvered. After all, technology isn’t usually the differentiator in edTech products. UX is. 

3 Ways to Futureproof Your edTech Product During a Pivot

Changes in leadership ahead? Still figuring out how to design for that consumer audience? Adjusting to these shifts in edTech isn’t easy–these three best practices will help you focus on user-centered design.

  1. Take advantage of discovery
    More thorough discovery sessions will set you up to build the right thing, right now. When the market is changing this quickly, any time spent conducting competitive analysis or internal UX audits is worth it.
  2. Invest in user-centered research
    User-centered research is more important than ever. UX research is now your mitigation against building the wrong thing or missing an opportunity to introduce a helpful feature.
  3. Use UX research to optimize your workflows
    Investing in UX up front helps optimize your workflows. Nail down the most efficient development process and make your dev team happier than ever.

Additional Resources

Want to read more about industry-wide trends and investing in UX? You might also like: 

  1. How to Pivot Your edTech Product Directly to Consumers
  2. EdTech Product Design: Why Smart UX Saves You $$ on Technology
  3. How Competitive Audits Ensure User-Centered edTech Products
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