Learner urgency to learn is a key area that providers and educational institutions look towards to understand how best to market themselves to their target audience. Knowing when learners will be most open to the idea of taking on a new course can help you target them in the most effective way. 

But what is the best strategy during uncertain periods or significant political reshuffles? For providers who want to appeal to learners at all times, knowing how to navigate uncertain times can be a game changer in driving up engagement.

Targeting learners who face unsettled finances

For learners who are facing unsettled finances, but are considering using education as a tool to find a better-paid job, or open up a new career path, committing to a course can be a tricky decision to make.

Demonstrate Value

In this situation, providers need to help learners see the value that the course can provide for them. Testimonials, job outcomes and future salary expectations can be a great way to encourage a learner to decide to enrol. 

Asking previous learners for testimonials, including questions on how it opened up new careers and increased their earning potential, is a simple way to ease worries held by financially strained learners.

Focus On Flexibility

For learners facing financial difficulties, earning whilst learning can be a huge factor in deciding whether to enrol on a course. When advertising course listings, ensure that the learner understands that they can take a flexible approach to course delivery, especially if they need to access learning outside of typical hours. 

Depending on how you charge learners for courses, taking a flexible approach to repayments, either through accepting credit or allowing learners to pay in instalments, can give learners the peace of mind they need to study with you, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be burdened with large, upfront costs.

Encourage Small, But Effective Learning Programmes

For some learners, committing to expensive courses that take place over a long period of time can be a daunting prospect. Providers who look at encouraging subscription-based learning may find that learners are more keen to dip into learning programmes as and when it suits them. 

Having regular access to courses through a subscription model allows learners to more comfortably allocate a budget towards development, similarly to how they might factor in a subscription service such as Netflix or Spotify into their monthly budget.

Targeting Learners During Changing Governments

A government that is perceived to be likely to change, or one that has just recently changed can affect learner confidence in enrolling. This is because they may expect government-funded courses to be expanded, or cut, and learners may be considering how a change in government could improve their job prospects, making them less inclined to turn to courses for career growth. 

With both Australia and the UK having fortunes rising for new parties who aim to take on a more hands-on approach to learning, some considering courses may wait and see what additional funding may be made available for them, which could stop them from exploring courses in the short-term. However, there are also opportunities providers can capitalise on as governments change.

Get Ahead of Government Commitments

Providers that want to make the most out of changing governments should keep a close eye on promises made by incoming parties and be ready to capitalise on new opportunities. 

For example, an incoming Labour government in the UK promises to launch a new skills body called Skills England, which will work with local authorities and learners who are looking for work to set them up with courses and tutors that can supercharge skills development in Britain.

Understanding where an incoming government is looking to build skills, whether that’s geographical locations or particular job sectors, can allow providers to get on the front foot and ensure they have the capacity and resources to work alongside a new government to deliver their educational goals.

Understand What The Public Thinks

Elections can be an excellent way to understand where learners’ minds are currently focused. An education-first party coming into power can give signs of a population that is calling out for skills development, whilst a tax-cutting, business-first party could indicate that the public is keen to use a thriving job market to develop their skills rather than education. 

The bellwether of an election can be a great indicator of how you should target learners and can give unparalleled insight into learner urgency, and what might be causing a change or deviation in typical learner behaviour.

Capitalise On Positive Momentum

If a country wants to adopt a new strategy for boosting productivity and improving its economic outlook, educators need to show learners how they can contribute to this change.

Communicating to learners how education can be empowering and help them achieve their goals can chime well with an incoming government that is encouraging learners to be more ambitious in contributing to a skills-first society.

During times of significant change, providers can feel wrong-footed and unsure of how to approach learners in the best way.

Rather than seeing periods like this as a hindrance, with the right planning and strategy, providers can find significant opportunities for engagement and build lifelong learning relationships with their users. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Quality education providers can help learners worldwide access courses to help them grow their career prospects, break into new industries and learn new skills. 

With the rise of online learning, providers can easily spread into new markets and look further afield. For those looking to tap into an exciting pool of eager learners, Ireland is proving to be an increasingly attractive prospect. In this article, we’ll go through some of the key reasons why Ireland is becoming an international education hub and could be the ideal place for provider expansion.

Ireland is seeking to grow its international learner base

Ireland is not just focused on local talent but seeks to attract overseas talent through the Global Citizens 2030 project, as designated in Ireland’s Talent and Innovation Strategy. This ambitious goal sets a clear path for educational institutions and providers to contribute to a national vision while carving out their global identity.

Through this project, The Irish government aims to grow the number of international students coming into Ireland by 2030, through increasing ties with European universities and targeting learners from Asia and the Middle East. The government of Ireland is eager to show off the country’s higher education system and ensure that, as well as Irish people, multinational learners can take advantage of further education.

Providers looking to expand into Ireland will find themselves entering an outward-looking market that is keen to pull in as many learners as possible, encouraging students from around the globe to take advantage of Ireland’s high standard of education. Irish universities are also highly regarded, with the education sector being a significant generator of income and employment opportunities in the Irish economy.

Ireland is an attractive place for learners

Ireland is rebounding after the post-covid and cost of living period, with employment and consumer spending rising with 90,000 jobs added to the economy over the last 12 months. 

Ireland is also an excellent place for highly-educated learners to begin their careers, with the the capital, Dublin, being the European base for Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Pfizer and Mastercard. Learners in Ireland can benefit from accessing high-quality roles after studying, all whilst staying within the country. 

For learners looking for part-time or full-time placements during study or those who are keen to continue their professional development post-study, Ireland is a great place for finding high-quality work.

Ireland has seamless access into UK and EU markets

Ireland has full access to EU learners, meaning that any providers who expand into this = market gain access to a market of 448 million people, a larger population than that of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. 

Ireland’s position as an English-speaking nation within Europe makes it an attractive prospect for learners across the continent, as  over 50% of those living in the European Union speak English as a second language. 

Furthermore, thanks to the  Common Travel Area, students in the UK have free access to learn and live in Ireland. This puts UK-based providers in an enticing position where they can gain new access to a medium-sized country that also connects to the wider EU population, through Ireland’s continued membership of the European bloc. 

Providers  based in, or considering the UK should bear in mind that the country could be at risk of losing its reputation as an international learning hub. Post-Brexit, EU learners are turning to its English-speaking neighbour across the Irish Sea to access the  same tuition fees as Irish locals, rather than pay higher rates as international students in the UK. 

Ireland is already scooping up would-be UK-based learners, with applications to Irish education institutions by EU learners  rising by a third since Brexit. Although the UK is still worth investing in for education providers, expanding into Ireland could be a natural next step for those wanting to keep enrolments high by maintaining access to the EU market.

Candlefox’s successful venture into Ireland

In March 2023,  Candlefox branched out into Ireland, setting up a new course comparison site that allowed users to find courses from Ireland-based providers. Expanding into this exciting new region allowed our brand to regain a foothold in an EU-based market and help our UK-based providers find new learners in the bloc.

Candlefox originally started in Australia in 2011, then expanded into New Zealand and set up shop in the UK, and now has been operating in Ireland for over a year.  Our business is an excellent example of how to access the huge pool of eager learners spread across the globe. 

Our eagerness to re-enter the EU market and expand into a second European country led us to the natural conclusion of entering Ireland, and this is a path that providers could also take if they are keen to reach new students outside of their current region. 

Ireland offers many opportunities for providers wanting to grow in an English-speaking country that has unlimited access to EU learners. Choosing Ireland as a base for education is a brilliant choice, thanks to its focus on internationalisation and its reputation as a leading centre for upskilling and lifelong learning.

Providers and higher education institutions who are keen to expand beyond their current area should look to Ireland as a thriving international learning hub. Moving into this exciting market could bring plenty of new opportunities for providers wanting to reach new learners and set up shop in a healthy and outward-looking European economy. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Education is at the forefront of the AI revolution, and providers can use it to their advantage to reach more students than ever, whilst offering outstanding comprehensive engagement and support service. 

With the power to offer students 24/7 chat support, auto-translated full-scale content and social media campaigns, how can providers utilise this technology and implement AI to make it a core part of their business model?

AI’s potential within the education space

Artificial intelligence is becoming a headline topic within almost every industry, but is it actually making an impact within education?

According to a report by Technavio, the global AI market in education is expected to grow by $3.68 billion during 2021-2025 at a CAGR of over 47%, demonstrating that AI will be a defining feature of education marketing over the course of the 2020s.

For some providers, embarking on an AI-led engagement strategy might seem like a difficult task, but trendsetters in the marketing and engagement space have provided a blueprint for using AI to its full potential, regardless of industry or market. 

AI allows for an evolution of student-targeted content. The days of generic, one-size-fits-all marketing strategies are numbered. AI opens the door to personalised newsletters, tailored content recommendations, and real-time messaging that can cater to the unique journey of a prospective student.

AI-Driven content creation: diverse and data-informed

One of the most significant advantages of AI in education is the ability to produce diverse, high-quality content rapidly. Content is the core of marketing, and AI enables providers to tap into an extensive pool of resources to create eloquent and engaging pieces that can resonate deeply with students.

AI-driven content creation tools use data analysis to understand trends, demands, and preferences to write tailored emails, social media posts, or even blog articles that are more likely to result in conversions. The analytical power of these systems ensures that your message is on point all the time, helping you speak to potential students in their language and on their terms.

Creator marketing platform CreatorIQ found that 66% of brands and agencies said they used AI over the past year, with 42% using it for social media captions and 36% for brainstorming. 

For smaller providers who are eager to open the floodgates when it comes to content and social media-led engagement strategies but don’t have the human resources or budget to achieve that goal, generative AI can be a marketing lifeline. 

Looking at a specific use within the education space, Duolingo launched a new, in-depth user interaction service that gives more detailed and personalised feedback for users that is entirely generated through AI. 

Through generative AI, providers can open up far more opportunities for user interaction and engagement without the need for existing marketing teams to spend valuable time creating content from scratch.

AI chatbots: The 24/7 prospective student companion

Students can be eager to learn more, but they don’t stick to regular business hours. An AI chatbot on your site can be the always-available point of contact, ready to provide the information, support, and guidance a student might need, regardless of the time.

More advanced than simple decision trees, AI chatbots harness natural language processing to understand a student’s queries and provide meaningful responses, even leading them through the application process. It’s a seamless experience, and this kind of convenience and accessibility can be a game-changer when it comes to student engagement and retention.

Providers might be concerned about leaving their student acquisition and enrolment process in the hands of an AI, but recent reports from IBM found that 60% of Gen Z students actually preferred interacting with chatbots to human representatives. 

AI Chatbots can be a powerful tool for education providers and can go far beyond a simple call-and-response engagement tool. Expedia’s ChatGPT-powered chatbot tool acts almost like a miniature search engine within their site, offering in-depth answers supported by the AI’s ability to pull information from the site, as well as the wider web, seamlessly giving a user an experience akin to an in-person interaction. 

This technology is particularly exciting for smaller providers who have limited resources or who are unable to run 24/7 student support. With the use of AI, small or medium-sized providers can compete with the enrolment and support services of some of the largest education providers in the world, all within an affordable budget.

Preparing for the AI educational marketing revolution

AI isn’t just a novelty or a luxury; it’s a necessity for any educational institution looking to excel in recruitment and student engagement. Using AI can allow education providers to revolutionise their marketing strategies and also continually refine and innovate how they can best serve the students of tomorrow.

Investing in AI can seem daunting, but early investment in this area can have a huge impact on education providers. By adopting these AI-driven strategies, providers are not just staying competitive; they are leading a transformation in how students engage with education.

Are you eager to learn more about the latest trends in martech and educational marketing? 

Follow our blog for regular insight into innovative marketing and engagement strategies, as well as updates on wider trends and news within the world of education. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

TikTok is a growing arm of marketing across different industries and sectors. But is it now breaking into the education space to connect with learners in new ways?

If marketers in education want to pull this new lever of engagement, what is the best way to do it, and what opportunities can be found from utilising this exciting engagement tool?

Is TikTok the future of education marketing?

According to recent data from Hootsuite and Sensor Tower, TikTok has over 50 million active users and has been downloaded 3 billion times since its launch, making it one of the most popular social media apps in the world.

In an interview with Digiday, Rob Jewell, chief growth officer at Power marketing agency Power Digital, described how marketers are embracing TikTok. “While TikTok accounts for less than 10% of total spend for our marketing firm, it has more than doubled year over year,” he points out, “Advertisers that have tested TikTok generally see success in driving incremental revenue, and are continuing to double down on the platform,”

Large education institutions are embracing the trend of TikTok as well. Anu Hautalampi, head of social media at the University of Cambridge, spoke to Times Higher Education, saying that, “as our social media platforms are ageing, the users on them are also ageing, and we noticed that we weren’t really reaching the prospective student audiences anymore.” This led to the university embracing the social media app to connect with Gen Z users, saying it was a “no-brainer” of a decision. 

Providers can follow in the footsteps of major universities and connect with a wider range of users, most notably young learners aged 18-25.

Decide on your budget and goals before starting

Before starting a TikTok project, think about the specific goals you want to achieve. Do you want to increase enquiries or just raise your profile? Understand why you’re using it in the first place, and if you’re worried about investment risk, create more frequent content that is simple to produce.

If it doesn’t suddenly generate more money, don’t blame the platform. Think about whether your strategy is driving a user towards converting or whether it is there to raise awareness. If it’s the latter, you may have to wait longer before seeing the impact of TikTok, but it can pay dividends in the long run as you raise your profile amongst a younger audience. 

Decide on your style of content

TikTok content can focus on building your brand, which is done through Persona content, or you can seek to connect with your audience through a specific niche, known as subculture content.

Persona content is purely about getting your name out there. A good example of this is Duolingo, who successfully increased their market share on TikTok, amassing 7.8m followers  through their entertaining content. The key thing missing from their content was any kind of invitation to convert, focusing entirely on producing videos that featured their owl mascot ‘Duo’ in entertaining situations. 

Meanwhile, for brands that want to take a subculture-led approach to connect with users by focusing on a specific niche, such as course content, speaking to leaders in a space about innovative new products, knowledge, or topics can be a good engagement strategy. 

Providers can opt for a mix of these two styles, showing learners both their expertise in their space as well as showing their more entertaining side.

Be authentic

TikTok differs from most other social media platforms, whereby users mostly interact with content on their ‘For You Page’. This means that users are less likely to actively follow pages but wait for the algorithm to work out what it thinks they will likely do and then automatically provide them with the content when they open the app. 

This means users can be more wary of inauthentic, spammy or salesly content. The best result a marketer can hope for is for users to stay on their video when it pops up, similar to how they will interact with non-marketing content. Marketers are competing against millions of videos, and users are creating content for entertainment, not marketing, so it’s important to engage with the user genuinely and put them first rather than seek to put salesy content in front of them.

Training.com.au – a TikTok marketing success story

One of Candlefox’s course comparison sites, Training.com.au, managed to fully utilise the potential of TikTok when one of their posts went viral, amassing over 3.1 million views, 500,000 likes and 46,000 shares. 

Speaking about the success story, Content Specialist for Training.com.au, Kristen Michealides, explained the planning and process that went into the brand’s TikTok strategy.

“We launched the TikTok campaign to support the business’s audience expansion efforts. It’s been an exciting journey as we’ve continuously experimented with various video formats, concepts and trending sounds,” Kristen said.

After months of planning and working on their TikTok content, Kristen discussed the moment she realised they had gone viral.

“The team’s dedication to the process and the unwavering support from the business as a whole paid off recently, with one video standing out.” She said, “Leveraging a clip from a popular TV show that resonated with a broad audience, our team member Rory Lippell suggested we create a “meme” type video that made a joke about people who are always swearing too much in the office. The video got 3.1 million views, over half a million likes, and more than 50,000 saves.”

TikTok’s algorithm can be hard to understand at times, but Kristen explained how having a good-natured and fun approach to their content was the key to going viral.

“While TikTok’s nature can be unpredictable at times, this video seemed to have resonated with multiple groups of people, including fans of the show, office workers, and anyone who appreciates a good laugh really!” Kristen explained, “We’re excited to continue the TikTok journey and engage more people in our community.”

TikTok can be an excellent engagement tool for education providers and course comparison sites, driving up awareness and potentially leading to increases in revenue. 

Sites like Training.com.au demonstrate how taking an innovative approach to marketing and audience engagement can pay off in the long run and show what success looks like in the TikTok viral lottery. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Chatbots are becoming an increasingly viable marketing tool that can offer a human-like interaction for a fraction of the cost. 

But can this technology be applied by providers in the education space? Are chatbots a useful tool to drive up lead volume, or are they just a gimmick? In this article, we’ll go through the ins-and-outs of chatbots, and demonstrate how providers could benefit from using this piece of tech.

What are chatbots?

The term ‘chatbot’ refers to a program that’s designed to act like a human, and issue human-like responses to inputs. 

Chatbots can appear as a pop up chat box on a site, or can be a more complex conversational tool that’s located elsewhere on a site. Some chatbots use a path system of questions and answers, and have pre-assigned responses, whereas other chatbots can utilise AI technology to create on-the-fly responses to more complex questions. 

ChatGPT is the most advanced version of this technology, and uses what’s known as ‘natural language processing’, where a program can be interacted with using normal, conversational language. This is more advanced than typical chatbots, as the program can answer almost any question, and isn’t limited by predetermined answers.

Are chatbots the future of audience engagement?

Chatbots are becoming a valuable tool for companies to rely on in order to drive up audience engagement.

Meta plans to launch an in-depth AI-powered chatbot that aims to create new opportunities for audience engagement on Facebook. The bot will offer users new ways to search through Facebook, find information that’s based on Facebook, and get personalised recommendations. Chatbots will have different ‘personalities’, giving users as close to a human-like interaction as possible. 

More widely, technological research firm Gartner predicts that interactions with customer service agents could become a thing of the past, saying that one in ten interactions will be automated by 2026. Representatives from Gartner pointed out that,  “Conversational AI can automate all or part of a contact centre customer interaction through both voice and digital channels.”

“While automating a full interaction, also known as call containment or deflection, corresponds to significant cost savings, there is also value in partial containment, such as automating the identification of a customer’s name, policy number and reason for calling. Capturing this information using AI could reduce up to a third of the interaction time that would typically be supported by a human agent,” says Gartner.

Looking beyond a simple chat function, chatbots could be utilised by companies from all industries as an in-depth engagement tool that could take on multiple roles that would otherwise be filled by human employees. 

How can education providers use chatbots?

Education providers often use audience engagement strategies to drive leads and improve conversion rates. With this in mind, chatbots can be a useful tool for providers, and can help them stand out in the education space if utilised correctly. 

Help Users Navigate Your Site

UX is a vital element of audience engagement, but even the best-laid out sites can be tricky to navigate for certain users. Having a chatbot option on site can quickly direct users to the exact pages or content that they want to access. 

For example, a chatbot primed with a prompt such as ‘need help finding your way around?’ can be programmed to direct the user to course pages, help them explore content on the site, or be directed to contact pages if they need more information about a course or provider.

Increase Interactivity and Engagement

Chatbots can also be deployed on course pages, and can be used to answer simple questions a potential learner might have about a course.  For example, users could ask questions like ‘is this course fully online’, ‘can I study this course whilst working part-time?’, or ‘what areas does this course cover?’. 

Typically on a site, course content is displayed on a page, but having the user be able to access information through a friendly, human-like interface allows them to get quick answers to particular questions. If a learner is looking at many different providers and wants to get the ideal course for them quickly, being able to dispense important information like this in seconds could be the key to unlocking a valuable conversion.

Enable Seamless Course Enquiries

Chatbots can also double as enrolment services personnel, as prompts can be set up to directly collect and pass on details, arrange face-to-face calls and book open days, all within a chat feature on a site. 

For enrolment services employees, setting up a process like this could be as simple as including a prompt that encourages users to send an email to an ES employees address in order to get more information, or book into an open day. More complex bots can do this automatically, allowing you to engage with students at any time of day, and even during periods of office-wide leave periods, such as Christmas and New Years.

Chatbots can be a useful tool for all companies, with especially useful applications for education providers. 

For those wanting to embrace Martech trends like this and increase audience engagement, chatbots can form a key part of a wider marketing strategy. With large companies such as Meta opening the lid of the opportunities this technology can bring, education providers and large companies alike may reap the benefits of this exciting form of marketing and UX. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Marketing technology (Martech) is an exciting and innovative approach to generating awareness and lead volume for education providers. By putting tech-led marketing at the forefront of a student engagement strategy, providers can tap into new marketing channels and discover exciting opportunities in the education space. 

In this article, we’ll explain more about Martech and its applications in the education sector, and discuss the exciting opportunities it can bring.

What is Martech?

Martech is the utilisation of different technologies and methods to help promote a company or organisation in order to achieve awareness or revenue goals. 

This could be using analytics tools, SEO practices or helping companies use different methods of engagement through dedicated tools. Martech puts technology at the heart of any marketing goal and goes beyond traditional methods seen in this field.

Why is Martech relevant for education providers?

Education providers are always looking for new ways to connect with students and enrol learners in their courses. Generating awareness is a central aim for smaller providers as they try to make a name for themselves against larger, more established providers. 

Marketing is a key aspect of most education providers’ outreach, but not all providers utilise the opportunities that Martech has to offer. Going beyond simple marketing methods, Martech can be a key tool in allowing providers to reach new audiences and outperform competitors in generating enrolments, awareness and revenue. 

But how can education providers practically apply martech in their day-to-day work? Below are some key elements that can be used by martech-focused providers in order to drive up engagement and revenue.

Benefits of implementing SEO best practices

For providers who are keen to reach out to new learners, having a solid search engine optimisation (SEO) plan in place is vital. 

Search engine optimisation refers to the process of including certain keywords, as well as using linking strategies and ensuring a website is fully optimised from a technical point of view. 

By using tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to get up-to-date information about keyword rankings and site information, providers can appear as the top result on Google when users type in a particular keyword. 

For education providers offering the same courses as their competitors, implementing a well-thought-out SEO practice and appearing at the top of Google’s search results will allow them to be first in line for any eager students looking to enrol. 

SEO can be a core part of a martech strategy or a key cornerstone of how a martech company gets results. By using analytic software and having a deep understanding of how the hierarchy of keywords on Google can be manipulated, any company from any sector can get tangible results and achieve ambitious revenue and awareness goals.

Benefits of utilising analysis tools

For education providers, understanding how users interact with them in a digital space is vital when planning marketing efforts and goals around generating awareness.

Without using analysis tools, such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, Hootsuite and Google Trends, providers have no idea about the journey a user takes to find their courses. This means that providers could be missing out on key engagement opportunities and potentially missing out on thousands of potential learners.

Benefits of partnering with martech companies

For education providers who want to get results but are unsure of their ability to manage ambitious martech strategies in-house, using an external martech company can be the best option. 

Martech companies are dedicated to using all of the technological tools available to deliver leads as well as marketing goals for education providers. Often at the forefront of martech innovations, partnering with companies like this can be an ideal solution to any issues with lead volume or course awareness. 

Martech brands can use martech-led strategies such as content campaigns, digital marketing methods and social media awareness drives, as well as use analysis tools to effectively find and target different student segments.

Should more education providers pivot to become Martech companies?

There are many benefits associated with becoming a Martech company in any industry, but there are unique opportunities for education providers that should be considered. 

Student engagement is central to how education providers find leads and drive revenue. With this in mind, marketing is the most useful tool at providers’ disposal, and should form a key part of their wide engagement strategy.

The benefits of becoming a Martech company are wide-ranging and can help reinvigorate student interaction and create new opportunities for engagement. 

Understanding how to use Martech or pivot towards being a Martech company is a smart decision for companies who want to be at the forefront of brand awareness, customer engagement and digital presence. With more marketing channels opening up for businesses and providers, there’s never been a better time to utilise this approach.

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Growing into new international markets can be an exciting and rewarding endeavour for education providers. But what are the challenges that come with it, and how can providers properly prepare for an international expansion?

In this article, we’ll go through some of the key considerations for providers and share insight into how Candlefox has successfully broken into new markets worldwide.

Understand the market

Before launching services in a new country or region, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of that area. Although learning and education delivery can share similarities in many different markets, it’s important to know any key differences that would require you to alter strategies that have worked domestically. 

Research local job markets and popular sectors

Although almost every country on Earth aims to provide decent learning opportunities across all areas, often, there can be shortfalls in education that lead to skill gaps opening up within an economy. 

For example, recent data shows that workers in the British Isles and Oceania are suffering from poor numeracy skills. This opens up the risk of labour shortfalls in sectors that require employees to have an advanced maths skill set. 

With this example in mind, education providers could use data like this to find opportunities and obstacles they might face. As an example, providers who offer numeracy courses may have to adapt their domestic strategies to focus more on generating greater student urgency. This is because they are trying to attract local students in a market where they are less motivated to become qualified in maths.

Elsewhere, assessing strengths within an education market can also allow providers to understand how they might fit into a region’s landscape. If a market is already highly receptive to subjects you offer, but you still face competition from many local providers, you may need to spend more time assessing how you can stand out in a crowded field.

Market your brand to reflect local needs

Education can be an incredible problem-solver for both nations as a whole and for individual learners. It can be used as a tool to improve job opportunities, deliver more fulfilling work, and increase pay packets. 

When launching in a new market, it’s good to understand how the local population views education and its ability to improve citizens’ everyday lives. For example, as inflation and the cost of living hits employees’ spending power, citizens in the UK have increasingly looked to education as a way to improve their chances of a lucrative promotion or career move. 

Exploring this example demonstrates that, despite already being a highly educated nation, British citizens are willing to invest more in education to help them navigate turbulent economic periods, making them more receptive to taking on educational opportunities long term. 

Looking at typical trends of a market’s learner base can also allow you to market yourself effectively as a problem solver for the citizens of a particular country. 

For example, some markets may have little faith in local education institutions or may not be able to afford local higher education paths and may be more receptive to budget-friendly short courses. Meanwhile, other markets may already feature highly educated learners that are seeking out in-depth, long-term courses, comfortable in the knowledge that it’ll open up job opportunities for them that will more than repay the investment they’ve made. 

Based on in-depth research, you can apply tried and tested marketing strategies, such as creating personas to refer to when establishing a marketing strategy or coming up with a sales plan that is highly localised to your target market.

The variable nature of different education markets means that knowing how to properly market yourself and connect with local learners is a valuable asset and one that can allow you to break into a new market and have an immediate impact.

Leverage your reputation

When launching in a new market abroad, it can be good to understand how education providers within your current country are perceived internationally. Providers that come from a country with a strong reputation for excellence in education can leverage this when entering new markets. 

When looking at the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2023, the UK had universities in positions one and three, with seven others ranking within the top 100. The US had universities scattered across the top 10, with Harvard in second place and Stanford joint third, and took up around a third of total spots in the top 100. Countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Australia and China also had high-ranking spots, despite not ranking in the top 10. 

Of course, providers cannot solely rely on the reputation of education quality within their country. However, when entering a new country to compete with local providers, coming from a highly respected market can allow you to stand out from the crowd.

Recently, Deakin University in Australia put this theory into practice by launching the first foreign tertiary education institution in India by establishing a campus in the southern Asian country. Australia is a highly popular destination for Indian students, in part thanks to its strong reputation as an education hub in the Asia-Pacific region. 

By leveraging this reputation to enter into a new market and compete with local providers, Deakin University demonstrated to other providers the exciting potential for success foreign providers can have in non-domestic markets.

Candlefox – an international success story

Since beginning as a course comparison site in Australia in 2011, Candlefox has launched multiple sites in New Zealand, the UK, and most recently, the Republic of Ireland. 

By establishing partnerships with well-known educational institutions in each respective market, Candlefox has helped connect thousands of international learners with in-demand courses. 

Following a tried-and-tested formula, Candlefox has been able to replicate the success first seen in Australia in nearby regions like New Zealand whilst also embarking on markets further afield in Europe. 

By establishing a presence in two of the biggest education markets in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as getting a foothold in the UK, one of the most significant educational markets in Europe, Candlefox has reaped the benefits of a globally-focused strategy. Best of all, by expanding into the EU via the Republic of Ireland, Candlefox sites can now be used by over 700 million EU learners who wish to access Irish courses. 

Course comparison sites such as Candlefox demonstrate the power of an internationally-focused mindset, and are an excellent template for education providers who wish to expand their brand beyond their shores and connect with learners around the world.

Expanding into a new international market can be a great way to attract new learners and find new opportunities to connect with users. Universities and education providers can access millions of new learners through a well-thought-out expansion strategy. 

Looking to other providers and course comparison sites that have broken into new markets successfully is a great way to begin your expansion strategy. By leveraging the reputation of learning in your country or your reputation as a course provider, you can significantly increase the number of learners and students who want to begin their education journey with you. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Numeracy skills are used throughout a learner’s life and career, but is the modern workforce equipped with the knowledge they need in this area? 

In this article, we go through some of the key challenges Oceania and the British Isles face in terms of maths education and examine how EdTech could play a role in preparing young people with the skills they need to succeed in a maths-focused career.

Workforces suffering from poor maths skills

Skills in maths are becoming a weak point for Australian, New Zealand, British and Irish workforces. All four countries rank outside the top 20% of OECD countries for maths performance and understanding of numeracy in a test of 15-year-olds. Poland and Belgium in Europe, Canada in North America and South Korea and Japan in Asia, were amongst the best performing countries. 

As a result of poor numeracy skills, the UK government recently declared that an anti-maths mindset was damaging the UK economy and announced plans to make studying maths compulsory up until the age of 18. 

Meanwhile, a report from the productivity commission found that Australians are falling behind when it comes to maths and English skills, which is having a knock-on effect of a decrease in employment rates for VET and university graduates, leading government ministers to set out foundational learning as a top priority for the new Labor government. 

An OECD report found that countries with higher numeracy skills had higher average wages for workers. This demonstrates that if countries don’t ensure young people can utilise strong numeracy skills in the workforce, they could be doing serious damage to their economies long-term.

How can edtech and online learning help?

Utilising edtech can be a great way to encourage learners to improve their maths skill set and have the confidence to apply numeracy in their careers. 

Increase Engagement

Maths can be difficult for visual learners or learners that are more creative than purely logical. With this in mind, edtech has the chance to make maths come alive through interactive and engaging games, videos and experiences. 

Moreover, allowing learners to practise skills in a digital space creates a learning environment that everyone can access equally, with multiple students accessing personalised and dedicated learning at the same time.

Reduce “Maths Anxiety”

Many learners can find maths an intimidating subject. Using Australia as an example, studies have found that up to 17 per cent of people in the country experience regular anxiety around maths, reporting feelings of worry, confusion and stress when presented with maths problems in a learning environment or in the outside world. 

Edtech can help to solve this issue in a number of ways. Online learning allows users to work from the comfort of their own homes and work at their own pace. Often, being surrounded by others can add additional pressure, and learners can feel embarrassed by their level of knowledge. Online learning can give users the privacy and time they need to tackle questions in a comfortable environment, reducing the risk of “mathxiety”.

Which Edtech companies are leading the way in maths learning?

Edtech companies have been at the forefront of numerical tuition, with innovative platforms seeing huge boosts in investment and revenue. 

Spanish startup Innovamat recently announced funding of $21 million as they seek to revolutionise maths education in schools across the world. Using a mix of traditional learning methods, as well as virtual maths games, they aim to make maths more accessible and help students apply it in real-world scenarios. Furthermore, the edtech company uses bespoke tracking software to ensure that teachers can get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their students and alter learning plans accordingly.  

Elsewhere, Norwegian startup House of Math raised over $4 million to go further with their maths platform that uses gamification as a core part of learning. This form of learning can have a big impact, as gamification can drive up learner urgency and engagement, and it has been used by some of the biggest edtech companies in the world to bring in many new learners. 

Meanwhile, online maths school Breakthrough Maths, based in Ireland, has made waves in the Republic after finding success during the COVID-19 pandemic. With plans to expand to the UK, Breakthrough Maths takes a digital-first approach to maths tuition, utilising the flexibility of online learning to teach maths amongst small groups that are encouraged to collaborate on solving equations and sums. 

Finally, on a governmental level, edtech and online learning is playing a greater role in helping children to access maths tuition in the UK, with the British government announcing free online numeracy lessons for students in small islands such as Guernsey. As a result, online learning can help to deliver high-quality maths tuition, even in areas that previously may have struggled to provide a solid education in numeracy.

The edtech sector is brimming with innovative and exciting companies that are aiming to change our approach to maths tuition forever, instilling a new generation of learners with an eagerness and excitement towards numerical learning. 

Education providers specialising in maths can feel emboldened to lead the charge in improving the numeracy skills of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and countries around the world through innovative educational technology and online learning. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Gamification in learning could be the next big trend that education providers can utilise. This style of learning could be a vital tool in increasing learner engagement and completion rates of training and inspire learners to seek development opportunities proactively. 

But how does gamified learning work, and how is it being used to promote positive learning outcomes in the edtech sector?

What is gamification in teaching and learning?

Gamification is an approach to learning that adds an element of competition or reward to the learning process. This could be in the form of offering points or rewards for right answers, adding in a scoring system, or setting up learning in a way that has a level system similar to the ones seen in video games. 

Shifting the focus from styles of learning that place a strong emphasis on listening or watching a teacher for extended periods is another key approach of a gamified learning experience. Instead, more importance is placed on learner-led experiences that focus on short bursts of learning followed by engaging tests. 

The main goal of gamified learning is to engage the learner, with the aim being that the learner will retain more information than if they interacted with a more traditional form of teaching.

Examples of gamification in learning

Learners can currently access high-quality, gamified learning through a wide range of apps and websites. Whether it’s learning a new language or getting to grips with coding, there are many different ways to access this innovative style of learning. 

Hack the Box

Hack the Box is a platform that allows users to learn about cybersecurity and ethical hacking in a gamified environment. With hundreds of ‘hacking labs’ users can interact with, the idea is for learners to gain an understanding of cybersecurity in a fully gamified space. 

Speaking to Tech Crunch, the CEO and founder of Hack the Box, Haris Pylarinos, said, “Our mission is to create and connect cyber-ready humans and organisations through highly engaging hacking experiences that cultivate out-of-the-box thinking.”

This approach to learning has garnered success, with the platform currently hosting 1.7 million users. Hack the Box uses a subscription model that can allow individuals to access the platform or packages that L&D professionals can use to train entire teams within a company. 

Skill sets in tech often lend themselves to a gamification model. For example, those working in cyber security, coding or working as an IT technician are often solving issues and using their learning in a practical way, not dissimilar to how a game will set a challenging goal and then encourage the player to get to the bottom of it. Hack the Box takes this idea to the next level by setting up scenarios of varying difficulty that encourage learners to use their theoretical skills in a practical environment. 

With the UK, US and Australia seeing large shortfalls in tech-related talent, the success of learning platforms like Hack the Box demonstrates the power gamified learning can have in driving learners to upskill in tech. Other industries that are struggling to upskill their staff to fill in shortages could be encouraged to use this style of learning as well.


The language learning app Duolingo has been a huge success story, with 4.2 million users at the end of 2022, and has established itself as a household name in gamified learning.

Duolingo uses a level system that encourages learners to get to grips with their chosen second language through interactive guessing games and chatbot conversations. This model allows users to learn and test as they go, and users can choose specific topics to learn more about.

The app encourages daily use, rewarding users for completing ‘streaks’ of multiple consecutive days of learning. Designed to be a fun learning activity rather than a chore, Duolingo blurs the line between game and learning experience. 

Becoming the world’s most downloaded language app in 2022, Duolingo proves that gamified learning is becoming the preferred method of foreign language learning. Education providers, especially those within the second language space, could also benefit from the excitement and high levels of engagement Duolingo has received from embracing a gamified learning method.


Set up in 2012, Kahoot has made waves as one of the most popular choices for user-generated quizzes and is used by over 9 million teachers annually. Using a simple format where users can set up personalised, interactive quizzes that can be accessed virtually, the platform has proved to be a useful engagement tool for teachers to use with learners. 

The core idea at the heart of Kahoot is to create a fun and engaging learning experience. By giving users a chance to create interesting quiz content that focuses on any area they choose, it can be used to help learners engage with subjects in new ways.

The platform is another example of how eager students are to access quiz-based learning and how it can be used as an effective tool to boost engagement.

What lessons can providers learn from these examples?

Each of these examples demonstrates the power that gamification can have in learning. With millions of people using these gamification platforms, it’s clear that this style of learning is appealing to students.

For providers who are keen to boost engagement and enrolment, gamification could prove to be a useful tool. Engaging with students in this way can help them apply and test their knowledge in a practical way, all whilst working in a virtual environment. 

For online providers that are looking to increase the interactivity of their courses, a gamification model could be a great way to get learners to interact with course material in a fun and engaging way. During periods of low student urgency, gamification could be a powerful tool to tempt learners into engaging with and enrolling on courses.

Gamification is an innovative and exciting approach to learning that providers could use to increase enrolments and improve engagement levels. 

Learning lessons from some of the biggest providers of gamified learning is a great way to get inspired and think about the different ways in which you as a provider can adapt your course content to suit a gamified model. If you’re looking to reinvigorate your content, gamification could be the way to level up and drive your courses further. 

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham

Universities, schools and education providers have growing concerns about the effects of the free AI software ChatGPT. Students now have the ability to generate detailed essays on any topic that can beat industry-standard plagiarism software, and many education providers are worried that this could undermine the value of degrees, qualifications and other certifications.

In this article, we examine the risks and opportunities ChatGPT has for education providers and look at what the future holds for AI and the elearning industry.

ChatGPT explained

Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is a product created by OpenAI, a research laboratory set up by wealthy investors, including Elon Musk. 

According to OpenAI, their mission is to “ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity”. ChatGPT can be used for free by anyone after they’ve set up an account and is a text generation software that responds to prompts. 

As a demonstration, we input the prompt “write a list of US presidents of the 20th century”. An accurate list was written for us in just 20 seconds. As a more complicated prompt, we gave ChatGPT the prompt “write a 2000-word essay on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the impact he had on the US civil rights movement”. After just one minute, an accurate, lengthy and well-written essay was produced.

With those examples in mind, it’s clear that ChatGPT is a hugely powerful tool that could have large ramifications for educational institutions that rely on essay submissions as an assessment tool.

What issues is ChatGPT causing for education providers?

ChatGPT has been causing concern in schools, universities and among education providers at large. Shortly after its release, schools in Western Australia, and a third of British Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, banned students from using the software.

A lecturer from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, spoke to The Guardian about her concerns that over one-fifth of assessments were found to have used ChatGPT, demonstrating the immediate impact that the AI tool is having on education providers. 

Meanwhile, the ability to submit essays as a form of assessment was revoked at University College London after it was feared that students could submit AI generated work that would get around plagiarism detection software.

As AI gets smarter, education providers at all levels have legitimate concerns that tried-and-tested forms of assessment, such as essays, could be completely undermined. Valuable marking time could also be taken up by looking for indications of AI involvement rather than purely focusing on the quality of the work.

Does ChatGPT open up any opportunities for education providers?

Although ChatGPT brings up some challenges for education providers, it could also open up some exciting opportunities. We listed AI’s role in education as one of our education technology and learning trends to look out for in 2023, and for good reason. For teachers and students alike, there are lots of practical applications that can be used to boost engagement and improve learning outcomes. 

Universities in South Australia have already accepted that ChatGPT could offer benefits to learning and should be embraced, citing it as a useful tool to improve literacy and help learners that have been held back by their struggles with English writing. As AI becomes an ever-increasing part of our lives, other benefits and applications for ChatGPT could be considered by universities and education providers.

Helping students to understand writing styles and tone of voice

Users can instruct ChatGPT to rewrite any passage of text in a certain tone of voice. This could emulate an author’s signature writing style, invoke the speaking style of a famous politician or even write a passage written in the phonetic style of a distinctive accent. 

Although these applications can be seen as a little silly, asking ChatGPT to rewrite pieces of text in different tones of voice can be an effective way to demonstrate to students how they can adjust their writing style to different audiences.

For younger students that struggle to write in standard English, ChatGPT can transform their writing and help them to easily spot the elements of their writing they need to change in order to write in a professional and academic manner.

Helping students for present and explain concepts

Not every discipline or field of education requires strong English language and writing skills, but despite that fact, many learning environments require students to present and explain concepts using exemplary language and advanced English skills. 

Although ChatGPT should only be reinterpreting information that students have researched and collected themselves, using ChatGPT to turn detailed notes into an easy-to-understand speech or explainer removes the unfair bias the educational system can have towards those that have an advanced understanding of English and writing.

A source of easy-to-comprehend information

ChatGPT can be used as a research tool, much in the same way as Google. Although it’s always worth double-checking the information it gives you, it can be relied upon to explain complicated concepts in simple terms.

Similar to how an author of a textbook would use multiple sources to write a clear and understandable paragraph, ChatGPT can pull in many sources from the Internet and rewrite them in a succinct manner, allowing users to get fast answers to complicated questions. 

For teachers and tutors, this interactive style of questions and answers isn’t that dissimilar to the learning style of a seminar. Students can be encouraged to get access to interactive learning environments around the clock and be inquisitive through software like ChatGPT and get more compelling answers than they would through directory-style browsers such as Google.

What does the future hold for ChatGPT and education providers?

Universities and education providers are already becoming wise to the risks ChatGPT poses to academic integrity, and they’re taking steps to mitigate these risks speedily. 

Plagiarism detection software company Turnitin, used by tens of thousands of universities and schools around the world, announced a ChatGPT detection tool, which would allow education providers to accurately test whether or not a student had used the software to generate an essay. 

Despite these attempts to get ahead of ChatGPT, many universities may still find themselves one step behind. OpenAI has already announced that ChatGPT’s successor, GPT 4, is now available for paid OpenAI users. Reportedly 100 times more powerful  than its predecessor, education providers may feel defeated in their efforts to catch up with AI software.

However, rather than posing more problems for the education sector, GPT 4 aims to be a help, not a hindrance, to those who are keen to improve access to learning. OpenAI has introduced exciting applications in language translation, visual impairment tools, and now provides more considered and reasoned answers to questions. 

This upgrade is aimed at producing a better, more responsible piece of software than the previous iteration. In other words, AI is here to create more opportunities for learning, not get in the way of them.

AI and learning’s relationship has had a rapid evolution, and there are likely to be more twists and turns to come. 

Keeping up with the latest developments may be nail-biting for education providers, but ultimately should provide them with many exciting ideas and opportunities to advance learning and open up new channels for engagement, improving educational outcomes in the process.

iconmonstr user circle thin
Joshua Stoneham
disk 1s 111px 1