Gone are the days where no one knew or relied on e-learning. While the traditional classroom setting is still an integral part of our education, many are adopting e-learning as a facilitator these days. There are many benefits to this. E-learning allows students to consume, learn and utilize educational content in a manner that’s suitable to their needs.
India’s online education market is set to grow to USD 1.96 billion with around 9.6 million users by 2021. Today’s smartphone-driven generation wants quality with convenience and flexibility. E-learning covers all of it.
Trends in E-learning
The use of technology has allowed e-learning to evolve over the years. Here are some of the trends that are redefining the e-learning space.
- Cloud-based learning systems
Quality educational content has always been essential to shaping the future of students in India. Unfortunately, there is an inconsistency in the quality of education imparted to students.
Cloud-based storage systems allow ed-tech platforms to centralize and store quality educational content, techniques, inputs and data that can then be mobilized to users across the country. It also gives users flexibility, transparency and consistency which they otherwise cannot get.
- Mobile learning
409 million people in India use an internet-powered smartphone today. That’s almost 31% of the total population. The use of mobile phones is allowing ed-tech platforms to mobilize quality educational content to users across India; right at their fingertips. Together with cloud-based services, this ensures that students aren’t inhibited by a lack of adequate teaching material or infrastructure.
- Big Data
Big Data allows ed-tech platforms to study user inputs and create behavior pattern models. They can then use these models to predict user behavior and personalize their offerings based on the individual learning ability of each user. As a result, students can focus on their strengths and weaknesses and learn at their own pace, maximising output for the effort involved. This amount of personalization is unlike anything offered by the traditional offline teaching setup.
- Goal-based learning and Gamification
Goal-based learning is a key catalyst in the personalization of education. By letting students set and achieve their own goals, ed-tech platforms are turning them into co-creators, instead of just receivers. The use of gamification techniques (with achievements) keeps students motivated by giving them an objective to work towards. It also fosters social learning by letting them compete with their friends.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality
The true potential of AR and VR has yet to be tapped into, with most ed-tech platforms having harnessed only the tip of the iceberg. The creation of virtual environments gives students a unique, immersive and interactive learning experience like never before. This not only enhances the way they learn but also helps with retention and assimilation.
Challenges in e-learning
While the ed-tech space is moving in a promising direction, there are still a few challenges it is striving hard to overcome.
- Preference for offline learning
Many students and parents still prefer the interpersonal dynamic of offline learning. It inspires more faith and confidence. As a result, many students prefer a mentor or teacher who can guide them, instead of e-learning that makes them accountable for their own learning.
- Insufficient motivation
E-learning puts the onus of learning on students. It empowers them as co-contributors by letting them set and achieve their own goals. In some ways, it most benefits those who want to improve themselves. If students are not as driven to excel, they might not utilize e-learning consistently. They may thus fail to see improvements that are necessary to stay motivated.
- Lack of uniform smartphone and internet penetration
Many students, especially in rural areas, are still not comfortable with the use of technology for learning. Maximizing their potential through e-learning can only happen after the necessary skilling has been completed. The lack of internet access in the hinterlands of India also prevents the inhabitants of those areas from accessing quality educational content like their counterparts.
- Inundation of material
Quite often, students are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of course content available on e-learning platforms. They don’t just want to know what to study; they’re looking for the best way to study. In such cases, there are two necessary steps that need to be taken to make e-learning fun and motivating – a good course design and a personalized approach to offering solutions.
Despite these challenges, the presence and impact of e-learning continue to grow every day. This isn’t limited to just higher secondary students either. By 2021, primary and secondary education will be the largest market at $773 million.
What will be key in the future, is how these trends are harnessed to personalize learning for individual students.
About the Author:
Toppr is the India’s most advanced and comprehensive after-school learning app for classes 5th-12th with a vision to personalise learning. They are backed by SAIF, Helion and Fidelity.
Zishaan Hayath, Co-founder and CEO of Toppr, started a phone commerce marketplace Chaupaati Bazaar in 2008. In 2010, Chaupaati Bazaar was acquired by India’s largest retailer Future Group (NSE: FRL).
Earlier, he worked with Opera Solutions on strategy and operations consulting projects for Fortune 100 clients in North America, Europe and Asia. He was the first employee in Opera Solutions’ India office. He an angel investor in a few Indian startups including Olacabs.com and Housing.com and runs an angel investment group called Powai Lake Ventures.He has graduated from IIT Bombay in 2005 and was awarded the Institute Citation and two Institute Colors. In 2015, he was awarded the Young Alumni Achiever Award.