As good connectivity and people’s aspirations increase, eLearning is also set to witness a sharp rise, both in terms of numbers as well as innovations.Kartik Bajoria
Access to education has become much easier through eLearning, and the marketplace is now mature and making greater strides. As good connectivity and people’s aspirations increase, eLearning is also set to witness a sharp rise, both in terms of numbers as well as innovations. Now, everything can be learnt online. What began as a fairly rudimentary segment is now burgeoning. According to Google and KPMG, the Indian e-learning market alone will be worth a staggering $2 Billion by 2021.
So where exactly do we see this growth spurt heading? There are, in my view, a few specific aspects of the eLearning experience that are set to undergo immense enhancement in the coming year.
Traditionally, when learners would come of a certain age, it would be time to make some serious decisions regarding subjects choices, specialisations, and academic paths. Earlier, these decisions were taken on the basis of a limited set of resources, mostly led by parents’ suggestions and set parameters of safe subjects and perceived good careers. At the most, a child’s school might have offered a ‘chat’ with an academic counsellor or administered a basic aptitude test.
Now, with the mass proliferation of various eLearning services, aptitude testing is thorough, scientific, well-researched, and exhaustive.
Today, there are companies that have developed detailed algorithms and software based on which they test learners, identifying not only their core scholastic strengths and weaknesses, but also providing accurate insights and suggestions into categoric career choices, based on their academic as well as co-curricular, and personality parameters.
Matching a holistic assessment of their overall aptitude with real world job options is the precise addition that eLearning platforms have brought to aptitude-testing, which has made it possible for onward generations to make infinitely more informed and robust decisions regarding subject and career choices going forward. This will only increase further in the years to come.
Another huge contribution of eLearning which is set to be a strong trend in 2019 is the availability and access to courses that aren’t necessarily considered mainstream or one would potentially find hard to get instruction for, from a skill such as Calligraphy to a Korean cuisine cooking course. While one might have had to be in a cosmopolitan, big urban centre to find instruction on these arguably esoteric fields of learning, thereby denying many learners an education in them; with eLearning now optioning an unimaginable array of online courses, learners can gain an education in pretty much anything they desire. However rare the skill they wish to develop, no matter how niche the program or the subject, chances are that there is an eLearning program for it. This has democratised learning and brought hitherto unapproachable subjects to the doorstep of any learner. In the years to come, this roster of ‘alternative’ courses available online will only increase.
There was a time not too long ago when eLearning programs were viewed by a more traditional section of the society as perhaps not being as authentic, legitimate and high-standard, as regular, real-world courses. The reasons for this perception might have been a number of factors, though I suspect a large part of it was because of the belief that the quality of instruction is not up to scratch. eLearning has addressed this ostensible shortcoming emphatically.
Now-a-days, it is not uncommon to find the most brilliant and respected minds, professionals and leaders in their respective fields, serving as mentors for a slew of online programs. Especially in the context of arts, now one can take an eLearning course, let’s say in film direction, from an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Director as the primary mentor. Or a program in film editing from a noted Hollywood editor. The same applies to a vast array of subjects and disciplines. To have access to the absolute best professional talent has gone from being a possible deficit of eLearning to one of its greatest strengths. Students usually identify certain institutes as potential places of excellence to study at after careful scrutiny on their faculty. Now, this world-renowned faculty is on an online platform, a few clicks away. And this is yet another development that seems poised to grow immensely.
At a fundamental level, with learners’ attention spans diminishing and the ‘need’ for entertainment value in their education; eLearning platforms that employ generous video-lessons naturally find favour with a new generation of students. Be it an augmented reality video directly related to domain knowledge, or a demonstrative video related to skill development; eLearning has whole-heartedly embraced video-based instruction, and this has captured the minds and imaginations of young learners. While there is a belief that screen-time must be limited, and that screen-watching can potentially diminish one’s aptitude, there is no denying the popularity and efficacy of video-based teaching and learning. This is yet another trend that will grow exponentially, with more and more teaching using video content as a vital tool to disseminate information and knowledge.
Perhaps the biggest benefaction of eLearning recently has been the ability to create tailor-made, specialised programs that target a very specific group of learners, curating a very definitive program. Today, eLearning platforms can curate and construct highly-specialised programs perhaps much faster, and more importantly, much more efficiently than traditional brick and mortar institutions. While real-world institutions would need to have a certain critical mass of students interested in a particular program for it to be financially viable for the institute (what with having to create a department, hire faculty and other infrastructure etc); eLearning platforms are leaner, have lesser overheads and fixed costs, and are therefore able to offer a much more diverse range of programs, that, as mentioned above, can even be curated for a rather limited set of people/learners. This is a huge advantage eLearning has over traditional learning, and it will only grow further.
However, there are naysayers who would still have you believe that the act of teaching and learning is an all-senses, interactive, kinaesthetic, in-person pursuit that ought to take place with real-world interaction between learner and teacher. Agreed, there is nothing better than actual interaction while learning. Be that as it may, the boundless opportunities and possibilities that eLearning provides are simply undeniable. It is here, and here to say.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)