Until a few years ago, the online medium in India was used only for the consumption of entertainment content. Today, with rapid penetration of the Internet and smartphones, it is fast gaining popularity as a preferred medium for learning and higher education. According to a report titled ‘Online Education in India: 2021’ by KPMG India and Google, the Indian online education market is set for a quantum growth of eight times in the next three years. Technology has undoubtedly catalyzed the growth of the education industry; witnessing the emergence of new learning solutions. For this reason, many new trends are shaping the needs and demands of individuals, learners, institutions and the industry. Let’s look at some of them:
Firstly, in a historic event, for the very first time, the government of India is allowing universities to offer fully online degrees, a change that will reshape education in the country while opening doors to U.S. based online education companies. For many years, Indian universities and colleges were not permitted to offer more than 20 percent of a degree online, in part because of concerns about quality and limited mechanisms for oversight and regulation. Now, as part of a push to widen access to higher education and raise the profile of Indian institutions globally, restrictions on online learning are starting to lift. Massive open online education providers (MOOCs) Coursera and edX are now hoping to increase their existing presence in India and engage in global partnerships, through this initiative. The diverse varieties of educational programs they offer address distinct learning requirements, interests, and aspirations of individual students and successfully provide an affordable and flexible way to acquire new skills and deliver quality educational experiences to various learners through videos or live chat sessions. Evidently, this advancement has transformed the field of education, where people can easily access all the data through internet. It will assist them with learning opportunities beyond traditional books and ingrain into a better understanding of a subject.
The next is the increasing shift towards digital transformation is encouraging concept-based learning among students which is enabling them to build core-skills and be future ready for jobs, thus, shifting the focus from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning. Student-centered learning is an approach in which students influence the content, activities, materials and pace of learning. This learning model places the students at the center of the learning process. The instructor provides students with opportunities to learn independently, and from one another, and facilitates the development of skills that they need to do so effectively.
The growing penetration of smartphones in the country and rapid growth of digitization in urban and rural areas is also fueling the trend of anytime anywhere learning according to their convenience. Learners are enrolling in short online and offline courses to enhance their skills and learn and grow in their professions. Thus, the learning trend is changing and transferring from computers to mobile phones. According to McKinsey, India is one of the fastest-growing and largest markets, currently with 625 million and more internet subscribers.
With the increase in adoption of different e-learning methodologies, the global education market is currently witnessing a rapid increase in the preference of students toward full-time virtual schools. In addition to benefits such as enhanced learning experience through different types of content and the ability to facilitate real-time interactive sessions with other learners and trainers, the digitization of education will also fuel the demand for virtual schools. This will result in the emergence of several mobile applications and m-learning tools that can help educators or trainers improve the overall learning process, in turn, propelling market growth.
Also, one of the major trends that will significantly gain traction in the market is the rise in gamification of m-learning. With the integration of 3-D characters into the e-learning courseware, gamification makes e-learning more interactive and helps educational institutions embed interactive learning among students through a lighter and less stressful environment. Gamification also incorporates points, levels, and badges into the learning experience that help students develop their cognitive and motor skills and also drive innovative thinking, increasing its adoption. This will induce several software developers to offer gaming solutions to higher educational institutions such as schools and colleges. Some reports predict that AI will increasingly be used by human instructors for providing feedback on student work and for helping with other ‘virtual teaching assistant’ applications, noting that the technology may also have applications for refining language translation and for improving access for students with visual or hearing impairments.
Commenting on the latest trends, Dr. Debapratim Purkayastha, Director of ICFAI Case Research Center says, “The digital learning intervention may have online, offline or blended components, and may support classroom learning or complement it by enabling anytime-anywhere learning. Also, as much of the learning interventions turn digital, active learning approaches such as case-based learning would gain in prominence as the new age learners are more interested in gaining skills rather than just knowledge. Digital media is heavily geared to storytelling and, as such, it would be an ideal platform for learning with real-world cases in innovative formats. The future is exciting, and I just can’t wait to see the proliferation of cases in the graphic novel and multimedia formats and how elements of gamification and AI are integrated to support case-based learning.”
Having mentioned all of the above, a Global Learner’s Survey by Pearson reports there is a major shift in education towards Do-It-Yourself (DIY) learning. 78 percent of Indian learners believe that using technology to support their learning makes it easier and more fun. 81 percent of learners worldwide say education is poised to become more self-serviced. Believe it or not, a DIY mindset is reshaping education and learners are layering on to their traditional education by mixing and matching what works and what they can afford to upskill and train themselves for the ever-evolving business landscape.