With technology governing every aspect of our lives, it has given a new meaning to the way we perform some of the basic tasks in our daily lives. To communicate we have mobile phones, messaging and video calling instead of writing letters; to keep up with what’s happening around the world, we can instantly find out through the internet instead of waiting for the newspaper to be delivered the next morning; to learn and stay ahead, there are numerous e-learning platforms which allow students to access all the latest study material and information from the comfort of their home, making book-based learning a thing of the past.
The e-learning industry in India has been growing at a rate of 25% year on year. According to a report published by KPMG & Google in 2018, the key drivers of online education include the cost of online education, the increase in smartphone user base, availability of quality education and a higher employability quotient on completion of an online degree. With that in mind, the following disruptive technologies have played an instrumental role in making online education a reality:
1 Mobile-based learning
According to the Nielsen Primary Survey conducted in 2018, 57% of the digital learning audience consumes content through their mobile phones. The mobile-first focus of the ed-tech platforms has enabled this change. Today, as operating smartphones comes naturally to both urban and rural India, learners accept, embrace and enjoy learning through their mobile phones.
From primary, secondary & higher education, to test preparation, online certification and casual learning, ed-tech platforms are working towards finding a space on the user’s smartphone.
2 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Today, with the advent of digital learning, there is no prerequisite to learning. A student must only have the willingness to learn and a smartphone or a laptop/desktop. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. Ed-tech platforms like Coursera, edX and FutureLearn offer more than 5000 courses taught by educators across the world that anyone can access.
3 Interactive Classrooms
Interactive classrooms allow students to be engaged in their learning like never before, enabling a two-way conversation model between learner and the facilitator. Ed-tech platforms offer courses for JEE, NEET, K-12, UPSC and GATE preparation for students to participate in classroom discussions, real-time, from the comfort of their home. This helps students to track their coursework progress, identify improvement areas and give mock tests to make them exam-ready. With the help of Big Data, experts are able to capture feedback within the given framework to enhance and improvise their offerings in new ways to further benefit students.
4 Use of AR/VR/MR in learning
AR (Augmented Reality), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are the cool kids in the digital learning space. As VR allows learners using ed-tech platforms on mobile devices to interact with their study material directly, it also ensures higher engagement levels and therefore higher motivation levels to continue learning. According to a Technavio report, educational VR market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 55% and educational AR by a whopping 82% by 2021. Students can experience the ancient pyramids of Egypt coming to life, the organ system overlaid on the human body in a science class and learn foreign languages with the help of a virtual teacher who can give them real-time feedback on their phrasing.
5 Cloud Storage
With all course material, textbooks, exam papers and assignments available online, students can save all of it to their cloud and access it from anywhere. Cloud storage has enabled seamless sharing of information among students and teachers and storing reference material and notes paperless.
With a 24% internet penetration rate, the digital learning space in India has immense scope for growth. Education and technology and two such sectors which will determine the way other industries grow around it. Since the education sector in India has evolved in the last few years, digital learning has been embraced with open arms by educators and learners and will continue to gain acceptance as technology is the way forward.