In 2022, over 24 state governments in India expressed interest in integrating some form of education technology (EdTech)in over 98,000 schools, committing to spend over USD 470 million. This is indicative of the interest of the public schooling system in India to use technology for learning on a large scale.
This rising demand is matched by expanding supply, with close to 10,000 EdTech products in the Indian market today, with a wide array of solutions catering to different uses. In this context, making sense of what product or tool may be most suitable to achieve education objectives is a huge challenge for policy makers.
What are the barriers to effective, large-scale selection of learning software?
Despite the growth in the EdTech industry, one of the biggest challenges that governments face is selecting and procuring the right learning software fit for context and purpose.
For a successful EdTech program, the government needs to bring together 3 critical components: hardware (e.g., tablets, computers), software (the learning solutions) and ancillary services (e.g., program management, connectivity).
Historically, the focus of procurement has been on hardware, as this is the most capital intensive as well as it being easier to put specifications against hardware (e.g., screen size, weight, RAM, etc.).
The procurement of learning software has often been ignored due to a general lack of awareness of and standards for what is a ‘good quality’ EdTech, making it extremely challenging for decision makers to screen, vet and deploy programs incorporating innovative technologies for education.
As a consequence, there has been ad-hoc decision making with poor quality learning solutions being adopted, resulting in inadequate support for student learning and inefficiencies in public spending for education.
EdTech Tulna: Creating a shared understanding of what ‘good’ learning software looks like
Tulna, which means, ‘to compare’ in Sanskrit, builds quality standards for EdTech product design to allow for meaningful comparison between products, creating a shared language for what ‘good’ EdTech products look like.
Drawing from global literature on robust product design, Tulna has created a framework of quality standards against which products can now be evaluated. These standards exist along 3 core pillars of i) content quality, ii) pedagogical alignment and iii) technology and design.
As such, Tulna can contribute to rebalancing power towards evidence-informed decision making in technology procurement in education. In the long-term, Tulna could help shift the narrative supply-driven, push-based marketing of products to a demand for quality solutions.