Investing in a Testbed…for EdTech Companies

There are key benefits for all stakeholders involved in a testbed trial. For EdTech companies, direct consumer feedback and quick adoption by a new partner, are just a couple of the exciting prospects of joining a program of this model.

What are the key considerations when joining an EdTech testbed program? Fundamentally: research can change how you position your business to the world. 

The Global Victoria EdTech Innovation Alliance supports partnerships between Victorian EdTech companies, education institutions, and international organisations, and promotes the efficacy of Victorian EdTech products for export growth.

For an EdTech company, joining a program like the Alliance can have real long-term benefits to update, maximise, and share the success of their solution. From interpreting research with a commercial lens to exhibiting export potential, explore some of the benefits of investing in an EdTech testbed trial. 

Research guides help narrow focus
Research isn’t just academic
Gain an understanding of timing 
Connect with both management and educator
Contribute to the growing body of literature
Evidence for marketing and brand awareness
Show your export potential

Research guides help narrow focus

Education technology is part of the social impact space. Founders want to change the way we think of education and learners of the future. The mission is often about revolutionising and changing — positively impacting learners all around the globe. But it’s important to pause and reflect: what are we actually trying to achieve? 

A research guide will consider the EdTech solution and the possible datasets that can be obtained. Then, they will help narrow what outcomes would be most useful to measure as a business. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Each innovation deserves its own plan that will be of practical value to both the business and their partners.

Research isn’t just academic – it’s commercial too

A common assumption is that researchers will only have an academic perspective on data. But the importance of a research guide in a testbed trial is their deep understanding of the commercial benefits. 

If a company is working within the K-12 space, what kind of research outcomes would be most appealing for administrators at schools seeking a new solution? The research guides understand that these are the questions worth considering when both designing a research plan, as well as collecting and interpreting the data.

Gain an understanding of deployment timing

The education systems in the southern hemisphere and northern hemispheres naturally differ — and it’s certainly worth considering how this may impact a testbed trial. While the Australian schools and institutions kick off their school year between January and February, this is weeks into the third term of the academic year for schools in the United States, Europe, and much of Asia. 

While the differences in timing should not exclude partnerships with these schools for a testbed trial, it is worth considering how this may impact the strategic objectives of the project. This may mean updating aspects of the budget, project plan, and the research plan, in order to accommodate the needs of schools in the northern hemisphere. Working with the management team and the lead educators at the education partner institution helps with preparing for any timing challenges.

Connect with both management and educators

Most often, EdTech companies are working with management and administrators to adopt and deploy their solutions. They will be really enthusiastic about the opportunities of what they’re offering and how it can impact their learners. But what do the educators think?

From the teacher to the principal, the project team works to get everybody on board. Not only is it worthwhile explaining how to deploy the solution technically and what it can do, but explain how their expertise is crucial to its success. Each of these project team members from the education partners have differing professional backgrounds and roles, and each will bring critical feedback to the table that will improve the solution and improve learning for their students.

Contribute to the growing body of literature

The scale is much bigger than the school or institution. Taking part in a testbed trial program involves producing real research outcomes and insights that can then be a part of education technology literature. 

An EdTech company’s name will be attached to learnings that could support educators around the world that want to incorporate innovations into their curriculum. Through the literature that is produced, the EdTech’s data could inform the decision making process and ultimately influence if a solution is deployed into their school or institution. 

Real evidence is central to education, and especially education in Australia. After completion of a testbed trial, that evidence will be ready to share.

Evidence for marketing and brand awareness

Did we mention that obtaining fresh, exciting new evidence of product efficacy is invaluable for EdTech companies? Through a testbed program, participating organisations have the opportunity to gain real end-user feedback, make updates, and share these exciting changes with their current and prospective partners. 

The results can be used as ongoing content to promote the true impact of the solution — backed with the names of the organisations that helped facilitate. It becomes a network of connections and supporters: the education partners, the program facilitators, and the researchers. Through this expanded circle and the program learnings, an EdTech brand can reach farther and wider.

Show your export potential

It’s a challenge to get to that next stage of growth for an EdTech company: finding and securing partners in international markets. The testbed trial model is particularly beneficial for EdTech companies that have yet to export their solution overseas, or in the early stages. 

Through the structured framework, EdTech companies in a testbed trial have the support and financial backing they need to successfully deploy their solutions overseas. With every question or challenge that arises, there is the project team, the research guide, research leads, and veteran industry participants of the EdTech ecosystem to provide help. 

This model wants the EdTech testbed trial to succeed and expand their partnerships in new markets. It shows that your solution can not only impact learners in a local context, but offer value in a variety of education settings — regardless of the cultural context.

The Global Victoria EdTech Innovation Alliance program is funded by the Victorian Government as part of the $3.6 million International Research Partnerships program under the International Education Short-Term Sector Recovery Plan.

For more information about the initiative download the framework or visit Global Victoria EdTech Innovation Alliance.

Designing an EdTech Efficacy Research Report - Cover - Global Victoria EdTech Innovation Alliance

Framework

This document provides an overview of the Global Victoria EdTech Innovation Alliance, the successful Innovation Sprint pilots, the types of EdTech solutions being trialled, the educational settings participating, and the key benefits of this type of program for EdTech companies, education institutions and the State of Victoria.

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