Artificial Intelligence, Personalisation and Acceleration: 2017 EdTech Trends Influencing Learning and Skills in Asia

Artificial Intelligence, Personalisation and Acceleration: 2017 EdTech Trends Influencing Learning and Skills in Asia

SINGAPORE, 15 February – Industry experts from the thought leadership events series EdTechXAsia predict three trends that will define 2017 – refining the potential of artificial intelligence through ‘cyborg learning’, enhancing the power of personalisation and accelerating education industry growth and M&A activity in the ASEAN region.

Personalisation Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Industry-Wide Acceleration will Drive Change and Investment in Education and Training

The education industry continues to harness the potential of personalisation through AI, as seen in the debut of advanced technologies and innovations transforming the global education marketplace. From National Taiwan University to University College London, leading universities are prioritising the development of AI knowledge labs.

The adoption of sophisticated AI has further been accelerated by the increased investment and M&A trends seen across the EdTech industry in Asia, predominantly in China. Successful education solutions in Asia are increasingly including AI-led personalisation technologies that prepare future-ready, digital learners and schools with the right tools and skills.

Co-Founder of EdTechXGlobal, Charles McIntyre explains, “Conversations about AI should not be singularly defined by the prediction that it is taking over the world. The global education industry should instead be debating and discussing ways of how best to integrate AI with humans to create blended solutions within education and training.”

AI: Personalisation and the Development of ‘Cyborg Learning’

As AI-integrated technologies continue to emerge, researchers and developers need to harness the unique strengths associated with humans and technology.

Humans have the creativity, empathy and ‘grit’ that form the basis of a necessary emotional intelligence. Conversely, machines possess efficiency, vast access to knowledge, personalisation capabilities and rapid data analysis. As a result of this technological proficiency, what humans accomplish in 50 years, machines can complete in a matter of seconds.

“A key trend in 2017 will be the exploration of ‘cyborg learning’ – how to couple emotional intelligence with the vast computational abilities of AI. In order to better prepare a ‘future-ready’ generation, we need to leverage the full potential of AI to focus on how we learn, opposed to what we learn,” McIntyre elaborated.


Acceleration: Steady drumbeat of M&A activity in Asia

In addition to EdTech companies capitalising on the transformative nature of AI, the wider Asian education industry has also seen sustained growth through steady investment in the region.

  • Education M&A in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region has witnessed steady growth over the last five years with the average number of deals increasing to 26 per year between 2013-2015 versus 15 per year between 2010-2012.
  • Target segments in Asia span pre-K12, test preparation, international education, tutoring, English language learning (ELL), employable skill courses and private higher education.
  • The Asian market is a highly fragmented, a complex political and legislative ecosystem for outside parties to expand into. Between 2010-2015, only 16 percent of total APAC M&A was from non-Asian companies with the main acquiring parties being financial investors or Pearson. Although, M&A led by Pearson has decreased in recent times, due to global operational issues.
  • Interest has been building from domestic internet businesses with various companies making minority investments into select growth businesses. Since 2014 and following the success of these investments, the first movers have begun increasing their activity in the sector.

M&A battle within Asian EdTech is dominated by China

In 2017, the battle for dominance by EdTech giants, particularly in China, will continue to be reinforced by the accelerated M&A activity in the ASEAN region.

  • Chinese companies have dominated the Asian Education market over the last three years, with a total M&A and fundraising value of over $4.4bn
  • China makes up 18 percent of global M&A, but only 5 percent of Global Fundraising with other Asian markets still in their infancy.
  • Education M&A and Fundraising in the ASEAN market have only accumulated a value of $619m over three years.
  • On a global scale, ASEAN education accounts for 1 percent of the global M&A compared with 2 percent for fundraising in the sector.

The year ahead will also be defined by both industry leaders and fast-growing education companies integrating AI and personalisation technologies for the 21st-century learner and school.

Join the Conversation About 2017 Transformative Trends at EdTechXAsia

These cutting-edge education solutions will continue to shape and refine conversations about preparing ‘future-ready’ education systems and 21st-century technologies in the ASEAN region and globally. Gain a better understanding of these key trends including the potential of AI, the power of personalisation and the growth of M&A in Asia by joining 1000+ thought leaders at EdTechXAsia 2017 on 31st October – 1stNovember 2017 at Singapore EXPO @ MAX Atria.

These transformative EdTech trends were first discussed at the inaugural EdTechXAsia 2016 Summit and Expo on 8 - 9 November 2016, where industry experts painted a vision of 21st century education and skills in Asia to investors, educators and innovators across 35 nationalities. The second edition of EdTechXAsia aims to further these conversations and explores what is next for the ASEAN region as learners, educators and institutions continue to integrate 21st century technologies. 

For more information on EdTechXAsia 2017, please visit please visit and

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