Technology has disrupted the Indian education system by offering improved delivery formats, enhanced accessibility and augmented distribution. Tech powered learning is, in fact, the sole solution when it comes to solving the three basic problems faced by the Indian education sector today while offering quality education – scalability, accessibility, and personalization. As a result, tech-powered online and distance education has become one of the most burgeoning education markets in India. In fact, as per a KPMG report, India’s online market is all set to grow to USD 1.96 billion with around 9.6 million users.
Reskilling, upskilling and online certifications are the largest category in the online education market today at USD 93 million. Mere reason for this is the dire need for reskilling the working professionals, especially in the IT space. For the new-age working professionals’ reskilling has definitely become the buzz word. The employers in the IT sector are looking for specific skills and employees are reskilling themselves to match the employer expectation. Some of the hottest reskilling courses today are - Big Data, Analytics, Project Management, Mobile App Development, Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, IT Training and Management courses.
There is also a significant level of skill disparity witnessed among fresh hires in the IT sector creating a huge need for upskilling. To upskill fresh hires, Manipal Global (Academy of IT) offers an online Pre-Joining Program (PJP) using their learning management platform (EduNxt) before they actually join an IT company improving the overall efficiency of the new recruit.
Most millennials (aged 22-35 years) today see reskilling/upskilling as an effective tool for career progression or a change in a job role. In fact, on an average a millennial signs up for two courses a year and up to five courses in a lifetime. The key reasons why the online upskilling and reskilling courses offered using technology platforms are picking up in India are –
• Convenience – Users can study anytime anywhere at their own convenience. Technology platforms not only reduce the travel time for the users but also enable them to learn on-the-go with mobile apps.
• Accessibility –Geographical constraints don’t hinder users to access quality study material online ensuring focused self-paced learning.
• Price–Technology platforms enable education providers to price their courses economically and the users are freed from the cost of bearing the burden of physical infrastructure.
• Duration –The online and certificate courses are typical of shorter duration thus, enabling a user to quickly upskill himself in a short period of time.
Online classrooms today are competing with classroom education and penetrating in areas earlier considered as the forte of physical classroom education. The online courses are delivered through instructor-led sessions, live projects, case studies, assignments and query resolutions. The e-learning content – videos, power points and PDFs is updated on a regular basis to keep it up-to-date. In fact, if delivered in an efficient manner it can lead to learning outcomes similar to physical classrooms.
However, the two basic areas, which online classrooms lack are teacher-student mentorship and peer competitiveness – which is considered critical by Indian learners. While most international players go with a fully online model, Indian brands like Manipal ProLearn are solving these issues with blended learning. Blended learning is a mix of e-learning technology platform flexibility, classroom-level mentorship in addition to newer techniques such as micro-learning content (quizzes, forums, and flashcards) and gamification.A pop quiz competition with a co-learner sitting in a different city, a set of flashcards to revise during the commute, a weekend class with an industry expert are things we are doing.When done well, that’s what would open up new vistas for learning in Digital India.