EdTech in post Covid era- OMO (Online Merge Offline)

As Covid lockdowns have eased out, education industry is on a soul searching journey again. After spending a year learning online, students are excited to go back to schools & offline tuition centres

Covid 19 accelerated growth of online-first education platforms and EdTech received massive interest from investors, in India as well as globally. During March-June 2020, when lockdowns, were imposed, the annual revenue run-rate of online first EdTech companies grew by manifolds and they were able to raise capital at high valuations.

Now as Covid is easing out, schools and offline centres are opening up, traction of these online first players (especially in K12) have been seeing a downward trend; and revenue is also declining. 

The post-lockdown reduction in the traction of online EdTech players brings me to the billion-dollar question- Is online first EdTech a trend or a fad? Short answer: It lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s explore this further.

Advantages of online education for students/ parents (3As): 

  • Access 
    Students can access best teachers across the world and study subjects which they might not be able to study in their neighborhood. It can be done at their time of convenience and location, given a good internet connection.

  •  Affordability  
    With plethora of choices available, parents can choose the education platform based on their paying capacity and association with the value proposition. 

  • Attestation 
    There are several data points which can be generated with ease for the students to identify the gaps and focus on those areas. Moreover, there is potential for companies to use this data and build personalised learning modules. 

Problems with online education (4As): 

  • Access
    Because of poor internet connectivity in certain parts of the country, it is seemingly difficult for the students there to access online education. Given the low GDP per capita, not all households can afford to buy laptop/ tablet/ mobile phones for their children. 

Since there was no other choice, students and parents had to rely on online education but the NPS is low!

Operational Issues with EdTech: High CAC!

Due to increasing competition in the online education industry, all the companies are bidding for same audience, which is making it very difficult to acquire customers at sustainable costs. In the offline world, schools could cater to hyperlocal demand, which still kept CAC in check.
I discuss more problems with EdTech here

Back to offline?

As Covid restrictions ease out, students and parents are flocking back to schools and offline institutes. (you only realise the value of something when it’s taken away 😉). 

I believe that online medium for education is unsustainable, especially in after-school K12 tutoring and test prep. How can we combine the advantages of both online and offline? Here comes Online Merge Offline (OMO). 
PS: In my opinion, it’s not correct to use ‘omnichannel’ for OMO, since that refers to the sales process and not delivery of product/ service.

Online Merge Offline- OMO

Combining elements of online education with elements of traditional offline education leads to a blended learning model- Online Merge Offline. There can be several models that can be curated in OMO fashion in order to provide for scale, personalisation (online education) and real, effective learning experience (offline education).

BYJU’s plan to acquire Aakash for $1B is a strong signal for the relevance of offline space for the long haul.  There is a lot more that can be done under the OMO umbrella. Feel free to reach out for a chat: rahul@beenext.com, in case you are building/ thinking in that direction.