5 education marketing trends to watch for in the 2020s

5 education marketing trends to watch for in the 2020s

What should we expect in education marketing in the 2020s? From the environment to employability there are many topics on the agenda for the coming decade. Businesses will need to stay ahead of the curve and work hard to attract and retain students. To help get a head start, here are the education marketing trends that will inform your messaging in 2020 and beyond. 

1. E-learning 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. We have seen a surge in e-learning, as students study remotely using online platforms. And according to the Research Institute of America, 25-60% more learning material is being retained online compared to 8-10% in the classroom. This is because e-learning takes much less time in general, and students can absorb material at their own pace.

Language learning apps like Babbel have been particularly successful in the realm of autonomous study. Here users can self-teach themselves a new language using only their mobile devices. And there’s lots of choice out there – with language learning app Mondly you can choose from 41 different language courses. Udemy is another online learning platform which allows users to master anything from creating a morning routine, to how to make better decisions.

Even before the pandemic, there was huge interest in education technology. This is thanks to an emphasis on autonomous and blended learning and a lean towards developing lifelong skills. 

What can you do? 

  • Offer free access to some of your services. By creating free courses you can promote fee-paying ones, offer a taster or encourage subscriptions to premium services. Stanford University and edtech company Byju are key case studies for this.
  • Stream your classes online. By providing a digital version of your classes and lectures, students can access them from anywhere in the world. And you will widen your student outreach in the process.
  • Create a student persona. Defining who your student users are, their behaviours, needs and expectations will help you define online courses. 

Be aware, also, that a more globalised education market means more competition. While it’s good to build a visible brand and think about long term growth, also be sure to identify your niche and target a specific audience over multiple channels.

Do not spread your resources too thinly: the most successful online marketing efforts are laser targeted.

2. Sustainability 

Carbon neutral, E-Waste, Greenwashing and single-use-plastic. Expect to hear these words a lot more in the 2020s. But it’s more than just buzzwords, 2019 saw growing support for groups like Extinction Rebellion emerge, when millions of students skipped school to protest against climate change.

Now students are turning their heads towards their own institutions. According to a survey from the National Union of Students, 80% of students want their school to be doing more towards sustainable development. So now it’s time for schools to start communicating their efforts to prospective students, and engage with their current ones.

Sustainable marketing is about positioning your school in the discussion. It’s about taking responsibility whilst promoting eco-friendly aspects of your school. 

One success story is Goldsmiths University London. They have been praised for their sustainable efforts by getting rid of the sale of beef from its campus – in a bid to become carbon neutral by 2025. 

Other schools have been taking part in the Eco-Schools campaign. This is a global programme which aims to steer schools towards certification, and earn them a Green Flag. So far 59,000 schools worldwide have got involved. 

What can you do? 

  • Be authentic. If your school or organisation follows this trend, it must run through the core of the business – it cannot just be for marketing’s sake or you’ll be accused of green washing.
  • Create a long-term plan. Begin by conducting an audit on your school’s energy usage. Then decide on a two year plan for how you’ll reduce carbon emissions. Afterwards, write a pledge for your sustainability plans and publish on your website.
  • Get people involved in the discussion. Speak to students, teachers and parents about their vision for the school. Get them to pinpoint where they feel change needs to take place and talk about your school’s practices. Next, organise (sustainable) fundraisers or events and get students to meet your goals over a fixed period of time. 
  • Communicate your efforts. Communicate your progress in the school’s e- newsletter. Use social media to update the community on your progress (and set backs) as well as incentivise them to take part in sustainable challenges. These challenges could be anything from walking to school, or bringing a reusable water bottle. 

3. Changing job market

If you try to imagine all the jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago, what would you come up with? Maybe a Zumba instructor, a social media manager or a driverless car engineer?

The job market is changing fast due to a trend in artificial intelligence and automation. And according to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet. So as more jobs are created and others fall by the wayside, how do we prepare our students for an uncertain future?

What can you do? 

  • Highlight the problem. Show people you care about the future. Educate parents about the changing job market and the problems their children might face. This could be via open evenings or group led discussions about what to expect. 
  • Promote personalised learning. Offer courses that are tailor made to students and play to their strengths. This could be as simple as incorporating a genius hour where students can develop their talents and interests. 
  • Redesign courses. Soft skills should be a key factor when thinking about new courses. Think about classes that are based around lateral thinking and complex problem solving, teamwork, digital literacy and entrepreneurial skills.

4. Growth mindset 

Intelligence is innate and failure is bad! Right? Wrong. Educational psychology is all about a growth mindset. The term was first coined by Carol Dweck and is based on the notion that intelligence is not something we are born with. Instead, it is something we can develop and therefore improve on. 

By promoting a growth mindset in your schools, you will see lots of advantages. Students with a growth mindset will persist for longer and more likely to stay enrolled in courses. They will cope better with transitions and it helps motivate disengaged students. 

What can you do? 

  • Change your attitude. Think about the kind of language you use in your marketing strategy. Do you talk about intelligence and natural talent? Perhaps it’s time to rethink. Aim to use language that helps your students develop a positive attitude between success and failure. 
  • Direct your message. Consider including these principles when writing course descriptions. Mention how your course encourages a growth mindset, or upsell courses that develop these skills. 
  • Gamification. By introducing simple gamification elements into your courses, you can highlight student progress instead of emphasizing their mistakes. Make sure you advertise gamification as a unique, star feature of your course.

5. Holistic Education

Learning to cope with conflict and challenges is a natural part of life. But with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing pressures of social media and a global mental health crisis, students need help more than ever. 

Holistic education is all about helping the individual find meaning, purpose and identity in life. Not in a traditional setting, through academia or standardised tests, but through building a connection to one’s local community, natural world and values. The aim is to inspire a natural love of learning, and produce globally aware and engaged 21st-century citizens.

Holistic learning is occurring all over the world. Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in California holds regular spiritual retreats for their students. Uppingham School in the UK offers an enrichment program with volunteering and charity work. And The Winchendon School in Massachusetts combines subjects to form ‘Global Dynamics’. This is an alternative course which gets students to look for solutions to global problems such as the conflict in the Middle East. 

What can you do? 

  • Offer personalized education. Allow students the freedom to venture outside of the conventional curriculum. Encourage them to self-design their learning program.
  • Promote small class sizes. Small class sizes help students develop a bond with their teacher, reinforce social relationships, and aid personalised growth.
  • Extra curricular activities. Create volunteering programmes in the community, foreign exchange trips, after school clubs or societies to nurture your students curiosity and creativity. 

Hubbub Labs is a content marketing agency that helps startups and education companies grow. Book a 15-minute chat with us to talk about your marketing needs.

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