Communication evolution, interactive textbooks, expanding audience, disappearance of the chalk board, rise of web-based research, and gamification — technology has changed our traditional education system in more ways than one.
In the growth observed in online education, a large portion can be attributed to the expanding mobile market. Experts believe that the technology growth we observe today wouldn’t have been possible without the 340.2 million smartphone users in India.
Talking about this trend, Madhav Krishna, CEO and Founder, Vahan, says that artificial intelligence (AI) and gamification are the two most key technological means which are being widely used in mobile learning.
Vahan is a mobile education platform which offers English learning courses to the low-income population. The app is available on both feature phones and smartphones. Students simply call a number to initiate a session. There is no download or data connection required. Smartphone users also have access to exercises delivered via messaging apps.
Madhav adds that he is using the mobile platform to reach out to users in far-flung areas of the country who have little access to quality education centres. “We are using all the technological means such as AI, cartooning, gaming, voice, and messaging methods to reach out to our target group.”
Praveen Vangeepuram, Co-founder, Byndr, says that education technology has been revolutionised in the recent past. However, he feels that this revolution has failed to address the mobile segment. It is projected that in 2017, 80 percent of the internet users in India will be mobile, which means that the only way to truly create a single point of access for students in mobile-dependent markets like India is with a mobile-first product.
“At Byndr, which is a mobile-first platform, we are aiming to bring the education technology revolution solely for mobile phones as well as addressing the content part,” says Praveen.
In fact, the idea for Byndr came about when the founders noticed that in many emerging markets, students in higher education had limited access to educational resources that were mobile-based, and a majority of students were not connected to their colleges on any online platform.
Investors show faith in edtech
Different studies share staggering growth figures for the edtech market. By 2017, the online education market is predicted to grow to $40 billion from the present $20 billion.
A TechNavio report states that the Indian online education market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.5 percent during the period from 2014–19.
According to Docebo, the inflow of venture capital in the e-learning space has been $6 billion globally in the past five years.
The edtech segment reportedly raised $85 million in the last financial year.
This September, education startup Byju’s announced raising $50 million in a round co-led by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s investment arm the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and Sequoia Capital, along with investments from Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures, and Times Internet Ltd.