The digital economy requires people with a different skill set to excel. And personalized learning is the way to develop the diverse skills needed.

An education system that measures success in terms of academic results tends to create a learning environment that is focused on cramming for tests and exams, private tuition and the pressure and stress that comes with it.

If it’s tough for educators, it’s also as rough – if not worse – for students!

Learners today require a different skill set to excel in the world of tomorrow. And true learning to meet the diverse needs of the digital economy can only happen when it is delivered in a personalized way.

How effective is personalization in education, leveraging technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence?

DigiconAsia talked to Jamie Ang, founder and CEO, Flying Cape, to find out how EdTech solutions can meet the needs of equipping students for the workforce of tomorrow in the fast-evolving digital economy.

What are some exciting EdTech developments in the region, especially in South-east Asia and China?

Ang: The EdTech industry in South-east Asia and China has been growing steadily over the past few years and received a huge jolt of energy and recognition in 2020 as the industry rallied around showing how they could contribute during the Covid-19 pandemic. Needless to say, the EdTech space today looks very different now compared to 2 years ago and this has set the stage for more exciting developments in the future. 

Firstly, we’ve seen an unprecedented interest in and adoption of EdTech solutions. From end-consumer adoption towards learning at home to the public education systems in each country, we’ve moved away from the cursory dabbling of technology when it comes to education towards a real discussion on its role for education in the future. The Singapore Ministry of Education has recently invited the private sector EdTech companies to showcase their solutions to explore future collaborations and more end-consumers are adopting digital solutions over traditional methods of learning. 

Secondly, the EdTech industry has seen an overwhelming influx of new players into the scene. Born out of need, traditional brick and mortar education businesses are now fully embracing technology to deliver their well-tested and proven pedagogy and curriculum. With more players in the pot, we can expect greater innovation and competition to come out of the EdTech industry.

Last but not least, with the explosive rise and interest from the markets, we have also seen the private and public sector moving towards regulation and, in some cases, extensive cooling measures. This is likely to create opportunity for new EdTech startups to gain market share from the dominant EdTech players in the market today.

The recent education policy clampdown in China and the swiftness in its implementation has shone a spotlight around the growing conversation towards the definition of education. In the past, education has been focused on achieving academic success and this has been the primary domain of EdTech companies that have done well. With the recent shake up in China, we have seen a shift towards a rise in solutions that can offer a more holistic support towards education as well as which companies can gain access to venture fundings.

The focus and excitement towards the China market have also cooled with more Chinese companies looking towards South-east Asia. Singapore, as a gateway to South-east Asia, is well poised to have a center stage in the exciting developments that will continue over the next few months.

In many countries in APAC, students experience high stress levels in the pursuit of good academic results, often driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO). How could such stress be alleviated?

Ang: As educators, we already know that learners today will require a different skill set to excel in the world of tomorrow. The conversation regarding moving away from academic success as the driving force for measuring learning or as an indicator for future economic success is gaining steam and we have started to see changes in the national schooling system in many countries to address this. However, until we reach across the board coherence in the global education system as well as stabilization of education policies, we can expect that the fear of missing out will still drive a lot of stress for learners today.

On an individual level, learners must realize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach towards education. As you navigate through the school system or even perhaps life-long learning for that matter, it’s important to recognize how you, as an individual, learn differently so that you can make more informed choices towards learning what you need to learn. Certainly extrinsic factors can impact your life’s journey in learning but it is also important to work towards understanding your intrinsic motivation as well. Having a strong internal anchor will help to alleviate stress caused by a fast changing world and also prepare you to better weather the challenges for the future. 

A one-size-fits-all approach to education is far from ideal, especially in multi-cultural societies. What can be done to improve the approach?

Ang: The one-size-fits all approach has greatly alleviated the masses towards low-cost education. With the support of technology, we can now move towards recognizing how each of us have different needs and learning style and to afford more personalized education in a sustainable way.

Today’s students have an even wider selection of education offerings than before, yet they still face the same challenge of understanding which choices fit their needs.  To address this, Flying Cape helps learners understand their needs better and help match them towards the widest selection of offerings through a marketplace aggregation platform. Our engine tracks the efficacy of our recommendations which adapts and changes according to the learner’s feedback and thus we can personalize how learners can be supported in making the best education choices for themselves. 

How can technology help in transforming the future of education for the region?

Ang: With learners now being able to transcend physical boundaries to access the best teachers and learning opportunities based on their needs, technology has helped to create a global economy of learning. We believe that this is only the start of education reformation.

The future of education will see greater adaptation and utilization of automated technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence, and personalized learning and measurements will change how education is consumed and support can be rendered in a sustainable way. This will pave the way for a higher order of thinking when it comes to education. 

How is Flying Cape contributing to this transformation?

Ang: Today, Flying Cape has helped to create a global system of learning and is central to helping each learner select the best learning options for themselves. By bringing together an international selection of education offerings, our customers can browse, select and gain access to the best options that work for them individually.

As a company, we continue to invest heavily on our research and development programmes with esteemed universities and academics from all over the world to refine our technology in AI and machine learning. Our vision is to adapt and grow with our customers and be a life-long partner to their learning needs. We believe that we will not only be able to help each individual connect the dots to their learning across their life stages but to play a crucial role to build confident learners and champions for the future.