How COVID19 Is Redefining The Role Of e-Learning In Education?

The pandemic has decimated several businesses and industries, and if it weren’t for e-learning, the Indian education system would have shared the same fate.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, no one thought it’d last so long. Most of us believed that a couple of weeks of lockdown would be enough to stop it. But weeks turned into months and months turned into a year. Now, more than a year later, we’re still struggling with the second wave. The pandemic has decimated several businesses and industries, and if it weren’t for e-learning, the Indian education system would have shared the same fate – leaving more than 1.3 billion school-going students deprived of education.

Thankfully though, it didn’t happen. The e-learning industry stepped up to the challenge and shouldered the burden – and it has been doing quite well so far.

According to a research report by Facts and Factors, the global E-learning Market was estimated at $144 Billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $374.3 Billion by 2026. The global E-learning Market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6 per cent from 2019 to 2026.

Considering India alone, the e-learning market has registered tremendous growth amid the pandemic period. If we consider this report by the Times of India, the e-learning industry is showing great growth potential.

Potential of e-Learning industry in India:

  • 4,530 active Ed-Tech start-ups in India
  • 435 start-ups founded in the last 2 years
  • 120 per cent growth in FY 2020
  • The market stood at approximately $1.7 billion by the end of the year 2020
  • It is expected to grow 8 to 10 times in the next 5 years given how the pandemic has tilted the scales towards online learning.

Growth of the edtech market during the lockdown period

Ever since the schools were shut down to prevent unnecessary outbreaks, e-learning emerged as the only reliable way of disseminating education. It has now become a primary mode of education, connecting students and teachers from all over the world safely and efficiently. Many schools had avoided e-learning for a long time because they felt more comfortable sticking to the traditional methods of teaching. However, now that they’ve had a taste of e-learning, many are planning to make it a permanent part of their teaching infrastructure – and why not? It brings so many benefits to the table. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  1. Everyone can learn at their preferred pace, which isn’t possible in a traditional classroom environment. It has long been known that different students learn at different paces. However, the classroom environment compels every student to learn at the same pace, which isn’t very efficient. E-learning, however, easily solves this problem.
  2. Through e-learning, the students can access better, more interactive content. Some concepts are difficult to explain on a blackboard. With e-learning tools, however, teaching them becomes a piece of cake.
  3. It levels the playing field for differently-abled students. By leveraging different tools like screen readers and text-to-speech, differently-abled students can learn to overcome their handicaps and compete on a level playing field with the other students.
  4. It is relatively cheaper as compared to offline learning, and therefore, it makes education accessible for students who are not financially well off.
  5. It brings flexibility to the table and allows the students to learn in their own time. They can go back and watch a lecture as many times as they please until they’ve understood the concepts in depth.

What is the biggest challenge?

In a country like ours, the biggest challenge is making education accessible for a massive population. 65 per cent of our population still resides in rural areas where the technological penetration is low. Therefore, it is extremely important to establish a uniform digital infrastructure that can support e-learning throughout the country. However, this is a barrier that is becoming weaker with time and we will be able to break through soon. The number of internet users is growing at a steady pace (670 million and counting) and it is making e-learning accessible in rural areas as well.

How does the Indian e-learning industry measure against the global e-learning industry?

According to a report by the transaction advisory firm RBA Advisors, the edtech sector in India is poised to stand at a whopping $30 billion in the next 10 years. This statistic alone stands as a testament to the rapid growth that the Indian e-learning industry is witnessing. Currently, we are a bit behind the developed countries because of the sheer scale of our population and the lack of technological penetration in the rural areas. However, the government is taking several initiatives towards digitizing education with policies like NEP 2020, and we might see significant changes soon.

The pandemic has resulted in some landmark changes and by the time it subsides, the face of the education sector would have been changed forever. E-learning was once considered a supplementary tool in school education or college education, but it has now assumed a primary role. Now that the education authorities have grown wise to its benefits, it might stay in that role even after the pandemic becomes history.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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COVID19 e-learning edtech

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