Game-Based Learning Investments

Investment into the education sector has become a hot trend in recent years, especially as it relates to education technology. You need to look no further than the multiple million dollar investments secured by the popular massive open online course (MOOC) platform Coursera.

From an investor standpoint it seems like win-win. They get to invest into something that is (seemingly) productive for society and at the same time make a lot of money.

In a perfect world of course.

The reality is that only a fraction of investments show any return. Those that do could take years. The ed-tech crowd is finicky. We don’t just pick up the next education focused app because a venture capital firm dumped money into it.

Investment in certain types of technology is largely based on the latest trends. In 2013, the big trend was gamification (or game-based learning). As you can see from the infographic above, this was a year where investors really started to pump dollars into game-based learning programs – 97 deals to be exact.

The trend continued the following year in 2014. A total of 98 deals were made totaling a whopping $153.82 million.

The past two years tell a different story. Granted we are still in 2016, but you can see┬áthat we aren’t going to end anywhere near the 2013 and 2014 totals in terms of deals.

However, the total dollar value is going up considerably.

This could be a due to a variety of explanations, but what is most apparent to me is that the market saw a rush of activity during the initial phases and now consolidation is occurring. The major players are being established as secure investments and generating additional funding. Mergers are likely taking place as well.

The venture capital world has always fascinated me as it is one measure as to “what is hot” in any industry. I am certain that we’ll begin to see similar numbers around mobile-centric learning applications and technology between now and 2020.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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