Photo of sunrise with 2023 text

2023 is a year of recalibration for EdTech. These trends will keep your product relevant.

As we begin 2023, the education industry is in a very different place than where we were three years ago. With nearly all schools returning to in-person instruction, the reliance on technology solutions as the sole provider of learning is not as prevalent. That means EdTech product users are really scrutinizing what they are willing to take a chance on. They’re not going to simply use whatever is available. Instead, they will be more discerning about the products they adopt — and those they remain loyal to.

Interactive modules redesigned to meet learning objectives on any device.

Macmillan Learning: Interactive Modules Interactive modules redesigned to meet learning objectives on any device. Using pedagogical learning objectives as our consistent guide, we designed accessible, interactive modules from the ground up. The goal was to provide a rich, exploratory learning experience that supported a wide range of user needs.

Multi-phase research and design drive high-impact improvements to the student assignment experience

Wiley Publishing: WileyPLUS Student Assignments Multi-phase research and design drive high-impact improvements to the student assignment experience. Student assignments are complex by design. When that complexity is amplified by technical constraints, retrofitted navigation, and poor information hierarchy, it results in a frustrating experience for students and instructors. Openfield harnessed the complexity into a focused experience […]

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Your EdTech product’s UX team should include former educators. Here’s why.

“The Great Reshuffle” has many workers, including educators, leaving their careers for something that better supports their goals and well-being. While at first glance, it may seem like bad news that educators are leaving classrooms, there’s a strong silver lining. Some of them are leveraging their teaching expertise in EdTech user experience roles. There’s no doubt that even the best UX teams can miss important insights about how their products fit into their users’ lives because they haven’t spent time teaching. However, when you choose to partner with a UX team that includes former educators, your product will be informed by valuable, real-world classroom experiences.

Photo of hybrid learning environment with teacher on screen

EdTech products must meet the needs of hybrid classrooms. UX can help.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the traditional in-person classroom experience on its head.  Students were suddenly remote, and instructors scrambled to continue teaching. While most students have returned to the classroom, the hybrid model — where some students are in person and others are remote — is likely here to stay. And that brings a series of unparalleled challenges and opportunities for EdTech products. This evolution of the traditional classroom offers great freedom and flexibility for both instructors and students. But it also presents new problems for teaching and learning. Effective UX design can help defray pain points and create products that are valuable for all users — whether they’re in-person or remote. For your EdTech product to have a lasting impact, it must accommodate the realities of the hybrid classroom.

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2021 delivered more uncertainty for the EdTech industry. How different will 2022 be? Our team weighs in.

When the pandemic shut down life as we knew it in 2020, schools had to somehow keep their digital doors open. The EdTech world rose to the occasion, providing products that helped facilitate emergency-state educational experiences. In 2021, while the threat of the virus seemed to lessen at times, uncertainty remained. EdTech providers — and the educational market that relies on their products — had to ask exceptionally difficult questions with no clear answers. Who are our current users, now that the height of the crisis has passed? How do we prioritize blended experiences? Will we face another cycle of fully remote learning — and how can we prepare?

Rapid adoption of digital transformation leads to the world’s top student engagement system

iClicker Rapid adoption of digital transformation leads to the world’s top student engagement system. iClicker came to Openfield with a vision to create a digital experience that would improve on its already pervasive handheld remote devices. The resulting experience quickly led to market dominance by giving instructors new ways to engage with their students who […]

Research leads to design improvements that better align to how users think and work.

Wolters Kluwer Health: CoursePoint+ Research leads to design improvements that better align to how users think and work Openfield helped Wolters Kluwer uncover a serious issue that was causing user friction in their product, CoursePoint+. By realigning the user experience to mirror how instructors think and work, we eliminated user frustration and increased satisfaction. In […]

New design system reduces wasted time and unifies user experiences across the product suite

Macmillan Learning: Design System New design system reduces wasted time and unifies user experiences across the product suite Because Macmillan Learning’s suite of EdTech products were designed at different times by different teams, growing design debt was leading to duplication of internal efforts and inconsistencies in the user experience. Openfield analyzed the issues, created a […]

Photo of student cheating while learning remotely
Article + Video

Want to increase trust in your EdTech product? Reduce cheating.

Cheating is a perennial concern in education. All educators are aware of it, and all educators know they must monitor students’ behavior for signs of troubling activity. But in an increasingly remote and digital context, sussing out cheating is harder than ever. Instructors are generally savvy to the ways students game digital systems. But that doesn’t necessarily make those deceptive activities easier to spot. More and more, instructors are looking to EdTech products to help solve the problem.

Image of school children - Openfield 2021 EdTech Outlook
Article + Video

2020 was a whirlwind for the EdTech industry. Our team shares what to expect in 2021.

2020 was most clearly defined by one thing: COVID-19. That was true for the world at large, and it was also decidedly true for the smaller world of EdTech. The pandemic forced a handful of industries into the spotlight. Chief among them? Health, finance — and education. As schools everywhere rushed to assemble remote learning protocols, EdTech products and other tech companies (hello Zoom!) stepped up in a major way to fill the gaps. But that doesn’t mean it was seamless. Far from it.

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Defend your EdTech product’s marketshare by thinking like a startup

Are you adapting to meet your users’ changing needs in the pandemic as quickly as your competitors? As an established EdTech company, you’ve already carved out a unique spot for your product (or suite of products) in the market. Now that you’ve solidified your place within the EdTech space, your focus has shifted from staking a claim to defending and growing your marketshare. But if you’re not listening carefully to them and adapting your product quickly enough, someone else may beat you to it.

Photo of student using video chat for remote learning during pandemic.

Digital doesn’t equal remote: EdTech insight in the era of COVID-19

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, schools across America are embarking on a totally unexpected — and wholly unprecedented — remote-learning experiment. As the fall 2020 semester kicks off, K-12 schools and higher education institutions everywhere are tentatively rolling out a variety of remote instruction plans. As they scramble to make this arrangement work, educators are looking to EdTech to help close the loop.

An L&D manager works on a corporate learning platform.

How to develop a corporate online learning platform that drives engagement and gets results

Today’s corporations are strategically investing in continuing education. Whether they are seeking to upskill or reskill their workforce, learning and development (L&D) initiatives are a cost-effective way for organizations to strengthen their workforce, keep current with emerging technologies, and stay ahead of the competition. As a result, many industries (and the advocacy groups that serve them) are pouring more resources into learning and development (L&D) initiatives. And a significant percentage of those funds are now being funneled toward online learning platforms. 

Photo of gears signifying EdTech product team and UX agency working together

The paradox of crisis – how a UX agency can help you increase output AND reduce costs

Many EdTech product leaders are experiencing unanticipated challenges resulting from the pandemic and the related economic downturn. Some describe reductions in new users or engagement with current users while others have seen sudden surges in their user base. In either case, product teams are feeling immense pressure to maintain, or even increase, output to meet user demands while somehow reducing costs to mitigate the impact of the economic downturn. 

Image of paper airplane going its own way depicts challenge of innovating in EdTech.

Innovation in the EdTech space: Why it lags behind – and what you can do about it

Innovation within the EdTech space can sometimes feel painfully slow. That’s especially true when compared with digital products in other spaces, such as social media, finance, and health apps. This innovation drag is felt not only by EdTech companies themselves, but by users, too.  Student users, in particular, are quick to notice when EdTech products aren’t on par with the many other apps they use on a daily basis.

UX designers and researchers reviewing design progress at Openfield.

Hiring guide – choosing the right UX partner for the long haul

Your EdTech company is thriving. Your product is growing and so too must your team. It’s a good problem to have, of course. But for companies considering working with an outside UX agency, it can be hard to know exactly how to gauge their value. It’s easy to see why this can feel like such a challenging decision. The idea of spinning up an internal team is daunting, but the idea of working with an agency brings its own set of concerns and unknowns that can lead to misinformed buying decisions.

UX team collaborating with EdTech product owners.

Avoiding Dependency Hell as product teams scale

For EdTech companies, the opportunity to develop single, enterprise-wide products is both exciting and potentially lucrative. But with bigger projects come bigger challenges throughout the UX process. With multiple UX teams, product teams and engineering teams all functioning separately within the same project, building products at a large scale opens a web of complex communication issues for the teams involved.


How CX and UX come together to meet users’ needs and inspire loyalty

A harmonious integration of customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) is especially important in EdTech, where educational IT managers and instructors have become accustomed to not just strong products, but also to comprehensive, personalized service.

Corporate training staff using EdTech product for career growth.

Nontraditional learning: How EdTech tools are different for corporate and personal users

When most people think EdTech, they naturally imagine students and instructors in K through 12 or higher education settings. But learners and teachers can be found everywhere from boardrooms to living rooms. And while the reasons for learning vary, companies that make learning products for corporate and personal use can benefit greatly from the knowledge of their counterparts who target K-12 and higher ed sectors.

Product release dates for classroom software.

Makers of classroom technology must align product releases with academic calendars

In general product design, frequent releases is accepted as the best way to update products. But in EdTech, timing can be the difference between success and failure. Learn the best practices for product design and development release cycles that consider the natural cycles of academic calendars.

A user is confused about how to use an EdTech product due to its lack of onboarding features.

How onboarding helps users get up to speed on your EdTech products quickly

Improving the on-ramp to your product makes users confident in their choice and increases their satisfaction. The bottom-line benefit of a better onboarding experience comes from both greater customer retention and reduced customer service.