The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of educational institutions around the world, but now schools are gradually opening up again across Australia.

New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT will re-open schools in the coming days while South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory only closed for the school holidays.

Victoria has maintained its hardline stance against re-opening schools, while Tasmania advises parents to keep kids home if they can.

In March, EdTechs saw a boom in demand considering they were the only choice and the educational outcomes for millions of children were at stake.

Tom Richardson from Janison Education (ASX:JAN) said last month,”what was going to happen over five years, has really happened in two months.”

Benjamin Weldon an executive at app performance solution provider, AppDynamics, which serves edtech clients also witnessed this demand.

“An EdTech provider’s digital capabilities have never been more important or under more pressure to perform optimally,” he told Stockhead.

But Australian school children are preparing to return to physical schooling if they have not already. Was this just a temporary bubble that has now burst?

The share price movements of some ASX small caps suggest so. 3P Learning (ASX:3PL) rose to 98c on April 7 but has retreated 23 per cent in the last month.

Janison Education (ASX:JAN) and ReadCloud (ASX:RCL) have cooled in recent weeks. Schrole Group (ASX:SCL), however, has gone the other way and risen to 1.5c from 0.9c last month.


Stop-gap solutions may decline, but pre-COVID trends will continue to accelerate

Stockhead spoke with OpenLearning (ASX:OLL) CEO Adam Brimo and he said anyone observing the sector had to distinguish between stop-gap solutions (online video conferencing) and longer term trends.

He thinks while the former may decline as physical classes are allowed again, the latter was already accelerating pre-COVID-19 and the pandemic will only increase awareness further.

“Some [EdTech] products that are stop-gap solutions only adopted for a short period of time, those types of products saw an increase and I guess will see a decrease when things come back to normal,” Brimo told Stockhead.

“We are in a different category — a lot of things we’re doing are medium-term solutions that address challenges that the higher education sector is facing.”

OpenLearning’s platform helps higher education institutions to offer interactive and engaging short courses, degrees and micro-credentials to millions of learners worldwide.

Brimo says in addition to helping learners, it would help universities diversify their revenues. Alluding to the revenue shortfall our universities face from international student demand literally disappearing he said “the situation has shifted their interest in these programs”.

“The virus is not so much the adopting as a stop-gap but accelerating changes that were already occurring and helping long term solutions.”

The COVID-19 pandemic could be the catalyst for ‘wholesale changes’ in edtech
The online learning revolution: temporary fix or long-term solution?

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While OpenLearning is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.