According to research by RedSeer Consulting, online education market in India will touch $2.5 million by the end of 2017. Surely, much of this is a rich dividend of the kind of startup ecosystem that India is. With increasing penetration of internet and mobile technologies, the country is at an inflection point in technology, radically changing the way education is delivered.
With increasing enrollment of students in schools and a shortage of teaching talent, we see a huge rift between the demand and supply of quality education. Irrespective of the Government budget allocated for improving educational services, if the final recipient, the student, is unable to take advantage of the learning environment, then it is an unfruitful exercise.
How is technology changing the way education is delivered?
In the traditional setting teacher to student ratios tend to create learning gaps amongst the students as the teacher cannot pay attention to every student while different students are endowed with different learning capabilities. Technology bridges this gap by coming up with internet resources that the student can learn at his own pace and mobile resources that help him learn wherever he finds time.
Nothing can replace a teacher’s nurturing ability. But as a close second comes an interactive and visually stimulating medium that engages the student by appealing to his imagination. Also, this medium facilitates delivery of the modules in ways hitherto unforeseen. Using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) further help in engaging all the senses of the student, making for immersive learning. Since storage is getting cheaper by the day, the only limit the student has is his time and attention.
Personalisation has touched everything in the digital space and educational technology takes advantage of that, too. Online feedback takes away the element of human bias when sharing the performance details of a student in a private and impersonal medium. This helps the student be more open to such feedback, making him more likely to take action on it.
Although still in a nascent stage, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to be rapidly incorporated into educational technology. They will create an experience that is closest to simulating a teacher-student setting and provide an insightful learning experience as they are able to keep a close watch on the learning abilities of the student. Smarter algorithms will be able to detect patterns in student learning that will open up new possibilities in shaping the student mind.
Students find online learning exciting, as opposed to a feeling of drudgery associated with the traditional setting of education. This will help them retain what they have learnt longer. And, of course, it is a path to universally making learning fun, too.
What’s the big picture?
According to the Indian Government, 22 per cent of the primary schools have a computer, but only about 10 per cent of the computers are in a working condition.
On top of the fact that very few primary schools have access to computers, even fewer are usable. Though computers have been effective to some extent, a real breakthrough can be achieved when students are exposed to mobile learning solutions, especially when it comes to education reaching remote areas.