Whether its a basic school course or high tech IT coding, whether you want to learn foreign languages or you want to learn music or any other vocation, e-learning sector is coming up everywhere.
Not only has it attracted masses but has also offered potential opportunities for the upcoming entrepreneurs.
Here is Mr. Pavan Chauhan, MD & CEO, Meritnation.com, sharing his insights on the scope, current trends and upcoming opportunities in the Indian online retail space.
Views on current trends of the industry
Technology may well be the answer to all the ills that are currently plaguing the Indian education system. From dealing with inadequacies in India’s infrastructure for delivery of education to lack of quality teachers – technology can help bridge the gap effectively. All that is needed is to integrate technology with the classrooms and teachers. Doing so will not only help address the issue of quality of instruction, but use of technology and e-learning will also allow quality teachers to expand their reach.
More and more kids are now using Tablets and smartphones. Tablets in the education space will be the game changer in the months to come.
The higher education scenario is also witnessing technological innovations such as Massive Open online course (MOOCs) that are providing alternative avenues to international students. India must continue to expand access to quality higher education while reducing costs. Digital technologies such as use of MOOCs could well be a solution.
Indians are among the most aggressive users of MOOCs. Of the 2.9 million registered users of Coursera in March, more than 250,000 were from India, second only to those from the U.S. India is a country. The biggest impact of the increasing popularity of these massive open online courses on the education sector as a whole is the legitimization of online learning.
Online course delivery, self-paced learning, student engagement, adaptive and automated assessment leading to easy diagnosis and remediation of students’ learning weaknesses are increasingly becoming common parlance in the education sector.
Scope for the new entrants
– The education sector presents huge opportunities for private participation. According to Census figures, over 32% of the 1.1 billion population is between the age group of 0-14. India is fast emerging as a knowledge-based economy, and human capital has now become its major strength. This has brought to light severe inadequacies in India’s infrastructure for delivery of education.
– For a middle class household in India, spending on education comes second only to their spending on food and groceries. With its rapidly expanding middle class, India’s private expenditure on education is set to increase manifold.
– The online K-12 education industry is worth $1.5-2 billion at this point of time and with competition toughening among students, custom learning solutions deployed online see quite a few takers.
– It helps that India is full of young people who possess a high comfort level with technology. The population in the age-group of 15-34 increased from 353 million in 2001 to 430 million in 2011 and is predicted to grow to 464 million by 2021(Source: Report by IRIS Knowledge Foundation).
– More and more kids are now using Tablets and smartphones. Tablets in the education space will be the game changer in the months to come.
Future scenario of online education/ Niche areas that are untapped
The number of Internet users in India is expected to rise 18.53 per cent in the coming eight months to reach 243 million by June 2014 when it is expected to overtake the US as the second largest Internet base in the world, as per the I-Cube 2013 report.
The rapid growth in internet and mobile connectivity in the last few years serves as an excellent opportunity for the growth of E learning in India. A robust internet ecosystem with a multitude of local and global players will help online learning make important inroads.
– Digitalization of textbooks-widespread availability of e-Books coupled with proliferation of affordable tablets will surely be one of the biggest drivers in the future. With tablets becoming largely affordable, it will see increased adoption for learning & education.
– Online market will open up more-with Internet penetration getting better and 3G getting even cheaper.
– Interactive and assessment technologies will continue to flourish
– A steady rise in mobile internet users, with 11 crore users in October that is estimated to reach 13 crore by the end of December this year, further helps fuel this growth.
E-learning brings with itself its unique advantages, the most prominent being the ability to provide personalized attention to all students. In a conventional set up, this is only possible when a tutor is highly skilled and offers one-to-one tutorials to a student. However, considering that most of the tuitions have a classroom-based setup, such attention becomes very difficult.
Another big advantage is that people living in the smaller towns & cities can get the best possible learning aids from across the world, at a very affordable price. This helps create a level-playing field.
The developing wave of adaptive learning will help students with various levels of intellectual capabilities to glean the best out of the learning process at their own pace, without getting a feeling of being left out.
Online tutoring will definitely pose a threat to conventional methods of teaching- while online learning can never look at completely replacing schools as schools offer much more than just academic knowledge inside their campuses. However, tuition centres will have to re-look at their business model and adopt digital learning aids to sharpen their offerings.
(About the Author: Mr. Pavan Chauhan is currently the MD & CEO at Meritnation.com, a venture of Naukri.com. He was previously associated with Philips. Known for his mentoring capabilities, he is an alumni of IIM Bangalore and NIT, Karnataka)