Time To Learn@Home

E-learning becomes the norm as students, management graduates and entrepreneurs seek to upskill themselves during the pandemic.

The space for e-learning has grown rapidly over the past few years, thanks to increased penetration of the Internet and continuous evolution of online learning technology. In 2019, market research had projected the online education market to reach $350 billion by 2025 due to the introduction of flexible learning technologies in the corporate and education sectors. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic locked us up inside our homes, the world has witnessed a fresh surge in demand for e-learning and the market now promises to surpass all previous projections. 

While the viral outbreak has compelled organizations to embrace remote working, it has also forced schools, colleges and universities to redefine pedagogy for the time. The idea of remote teaching has also helped teachers and students widely explore the available online learning tools and adopt their usage in daily lives. The concept of e-learning has not just gained precedence among students but also among entrepreneurs, professionals and professional graduates looking to polish their skills before entering the job market. You want to learn a new language, undertake a course in digital marketing, learn web development or gain new business skills? Everything is available today at the click of a button.  

Students capitalize Edtech platforms  

The coronavirus pandemic not only disrupted classes and exams, but it also put the academic future of children in limbo. In the April-May period when the preparation of competitive examinations is at its peak has been washed out because of the lockdown and the needs for social distancing. Students preparing for different entrance tests whether it is for engineering or MBBS, suddenly found that they could no longer attend their regular coaching classes.  

That learning will shift to the online medium for the foreseeable future is a given. This is why apart from utilizing video calling technologies to deliver lessons; teachers are also recommending online learning apps to students. The Ministry of Human Resource Development shared a list of various free digital e-Learning platforms that students can use to continue their learning during the school closure period. The apps supported by the Ministry include the DIKSHA portal, e-Pathshala app, the NROER portal and Swayam Prabha educational DTH channels. Similarly, a series of private e-learning applications have also gained popularity.  

Interactive learning is at the root of e-learning platforms. Most of these platforms have been devised keeping in mind the flaws of conventional education and how they fail to establish the right conceptual knowledge and ensure clarity of concepts. E-learning apps and modules use engaging videos and audios to offer practical examples and problem-solving skills to students. They also impart better learning by offering resources such as interactive modules, reasoning and STEM-based games.  

Entrepreneurs and Wantrepreneurs 

It is not just students who have jumped on to the e-learning bandwagon. Entrepreneurs, professionals, management graduates and ‘wantrepreneurs’ are also actively embracing e-learning to learn new skills, polish their capabilities and gather new business skills. At Bada Business, the popularity of our educational programs for management students, entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs has tremendously increased. Professionals already working in different fields want to use this period of lockdown to add new skills to their repertoire to keep their resumes attractive at a time of increasing job uncertainties. Courses in digital marketing, social media marketing, brand management, public speaking and presentation skills are high in demand. Similarly, entrepreneurs and management students are increasingly seeking to sharpen their business management skills through courses on how to expand the business and catch new opportunities during an economic slowdown.  

Even courses offering softer arts such as photography, costume designing, creative writing etc have garnered an increase in popularity.  

Improving e-learning content 

It is evident that online learning is the new normal and even when the pandemic is over, the e-learning space will continue to evolve and grow. To meet the growing demand, the online education industry has scaled up significantly in recent weeks. It is also endeavouring to fill up the gaps in traditional teaching systems by devising innovative and engaging e-learning content. Using data analytics and machine learning algorithms, online learning platforms personalize content for each individual and enhance learning patterns. For example, if a student is struggling at solving harder problems, the learning module will simplify them and help the student learn more basic elements associated with the subject. 

As we stare at a new future where e-learning will gain centre stage, online leaning platforms must work towards democratizing their reach by making themselves more accessible to all. For example, one major criticism of e-learning is that it can be more easily accessed by the privileged and the rich. Bridging such gaps by creating content in more vernacular languages and making it accessible to people who might not have uninterrupted fast speed Internet are elements e-learning must take into consideration.

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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