Why mobile learning promises a better future for Indian educationZishaan Hayath
Enabling a personalised approach to learning through education technology is the need of the hour.
The Indian education system is one of the oldest in the world. However, it remains strained due to factors as obsolete as rigid examination models, rote learning, incompetent teachers, and the lack of adequate infrastructure. Consequently, students in the remote parts of the country have hitherto been deprived of a good-quality education.
The need for tech-enabled learning
While the most vexing problem remains the skewed student-teacher ratio, a majority of teachers recruited in government schools can barely pass the compulsory Teacher Eligibility Test (TET). It then comes as no surprise that — in both rural and semi-urban settings — the average Indian classroom does not meet the individual learning needs of students. At the foundational level, their overall interest in academics begins to wane quickly, and rote learning is the only available option to monitor their academic progress.
Why m-learning may be the answer
Enabling a more personalised approach to learning through education technology is, therefore, very much the need of the hour. It adapts to varying learning styles, and makes the teaching-learning process seamlessly efficient. Today, students can learn whatever interests them whenever they want to, no matter where they are.
Mobile penetration in India is among the most impressive in the world, with over 300 million people accessing the internet; a number that is expected to reach 550 million by 2018. The Internet and Mobile Association of India points out that 77 percent of urban users and 92 percent of rural users consider mobile as the primary device for accessing the internet. And given the ubiquity of smartphones, it is safe to say that m-learning is the next big revolutionary model in education.
Innovations in m-learning
Edtech platforms are pulling out all the stops to leverage the potential of m-learning. Many are using big data and machine learning to create adaptive platforms. These address the problems of disparate learning curves and poor interest levels in students. Cases in which students haven’t had a good academic foundation, particularly, find a ready solution in their application.
By giving students the personal attention they need, on devices they are already connected to, goal-based learning is also quickly becoming the new norm. Unlike rote learning, it is a flexible one that caters to individual needs. These new-age companies are, then, empowering students to sustain their own development, all along keeping them motivated and interested in academics.
Students preparing for competitive exams are also leveraging the benefits of mobile learning. Edtech mobile apps contain academic content that covers quantitative aptitude, logical reasoning, and general knowledge. These apps are helping students prepare for their exams in a planned and guided manner. Working professionals who wish to continue with their studies are also being enabled to strike a balance with their jobs.
The challenges that persist
Like all evolving technologies, m-learning has its pros and cons, and has been facing multiple challenges in terms of adoption. Parents, for instance, haven’t yet been familiarised with its authenticity. And while India has 1.3 million smartphone-enabled families, most of them use it for communication, networking, and entertainment purposes.
Consuming educational content on smartphones has not become a common practice yet. However, with the high quality of the available content, m-learning is — in time — bound to become common knowledge. Mindsets are changing. Even in rural and semi-urban areas, parents and tutors alike are beginning to understand the kind of advantage it offers.
The way ahead
Edtech platforms are significantly altering teaching and learning perspectives in India. With all academic information available online, the absence of quality infrastructure is quickly losing significance as a major hindrance. Students can reach out to subject-matter experts at any time and gain their help to study comprehensively. By accessing the best learning pedagogies, they can perform well in any school, board, or competitive examination — without attending coaching institutes.
There’s still a long way to go before India can stand at par with developed nations in terms of educational equity. However, the perspective towards mobile learning is already undergoing a change. Eventually, it will add value to the lives of people and transform Indian education into a progressive and seamless ecosystem.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)