Technology Grows Access to Learning, Says New Research from ACCA and edX

The latest research from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and edX explores the post-pandemic role of educational technology, or edtech, and identifies tips and trends for users

A new report out from ACCA and edX, highlights the “anytime-anyplace” approach to learning that education technology, or edtech, makes possible. This flexibility was the most valued edtech attribute in a global survey of over 1,400 learners and educators connected to accountancy.

The research reveals that edtech has the potential to boost career development with the following top tips for learners: leverage the potential of edtech to fit around one’s life; consider the blended learning option and see edtech as an option regardless of life stage or organizational size.

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The most frequently cited devices for learning were portable ones, including laptops (88%) and mobiles (e.g. smartphones) at 72%. Tablets were cited by 44%, and 52% reported the use of desktops. These findings have implications for the visual design and delivery of learning content and assessments. Content developers and assessment providers need to ensure their content can be experienced to similar quality across devices.

“The findings of the report align with ACCA’s experiences as our organization continues working towards equitable global access to edtech,” said Jillian Couse, head of ACCA North America. “Our established efforts include offering free ACCA courses online through our partnership with edX (ACCA-X), and we see increasing numbers of our Approved Learning Partners utilizing AI and algorithms to better support students and their learning outcomes. These examples have already shown us the power of technology, and we remain excited about the possibilities for the future in this fast-evolving space.”

For educators, the research also revealed six key trends in edtech including bite-sized videos, integrated learning and practice, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled learning and assessment, micro-credentials, gamification and simulation, and augmented or virtual realities (AR/VR), including the metaverse.

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While large learning partners were able to invest in the resources for a learning platform, other partners and providers have innovated in various ways, including micro video lessons on various accountancy topics, open-source textbooks, creating custom exam practice software, etc. Digital content, in particular, has gained traction, with 91% of those engaged with edtech reporting use of eBooks or digital content.

However, the research also identified the existence of barriers to the more widespread use of edtech in the future, in particular the digital divide which relates to access to reliable high-speed internet, power and quiet learning places. It concludes with policy-relevant observations from learners and educators for governments seeking to increase engagement with edtech.

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