Traditional classrooms are being replaced by interactive whiteboards with projectors and speakers across the country. The computer-based and internet-based method of learning means that new technology is being introduced enhance learning. Various public and private sector players are now looking to transform education with e-learning and free schools from their rigid teaching methodologies. They are also ensuring that students from even the most remote pockets of the country have access to stellar 21st century education.
Advantages of e-learning:
1. E-learning ensures a consistent, high-quality academic delivery that is not dependent on the availability of teachers or their skill set. In fact, over time, e-learning will enable them to raise their game and become better teachers.
2. With e-learning, even the most difficult-to-explain concepts can be converted into digital format. Children remember videos more than they would remember a chalk-and-talk session. Moreover, teachers will get free time to explain the finer points when the basic concepts are explained with the help of digital modules.
3. Students in remote areas, who otherwise would not have any access to high-calibre specialist teaching, now have access to pre-recorded lectures, documentaries and other video content that can be viewed when needed.
4. Computer-based self-paced learning is a necessary tool that students need for higher studies. Individualised learning enables everyone to learn and excel at their own pace.
5. Even though basics seldom change, textbooks have to be constantly updated to stay in tune with changing times, latest developments and new discoveries. Textbooks are expensive to purchase, maintain and deliver. Digital delivery ensures that content is always updated.
6. E-learning can reduce the cost of education by reducing the cost of infrastructure. E-learning costs are split over a large number of students over a large number of years.
7. Remote test administration for students and applicants is now feasible with e-learning. Standardised tests can now be delivered securely and on time to meet testing schedules.
With e-learning proving its mettle in terms of cutting down costs and adding value to the lives of students, the Government of India has been taking some proactive measures in a regulatory and financial capacity to give impetus to the growth of e-learning.
Funds have been invested to set up internet kiosks in rural areas for the purpose of communication, which can also be used for the e-learning initiative.
The government is also looking at public–private sector partnerships to facilitate learning to rural and remote areas of India. Using the public-private partnership (PPP) model, several organisations have been set up to facilitate learning.
In various states in the country, the government is investing in e-learning programmes for centre and state-run schools. These innovative modern classrooms will enable lakhs of young Indian students with higher technical skills to deal with the 21st century world.
Some initiatives taken by the government of various states to digitalise education are:
1. In Bhubaneswar, The [email protected] scheme (Information and communication Technology) of E-Vidyalaya programme aims to reach 4,000 government schools in its first phase and an additional 2,000 government schools in its second phase. Each ICT lab is equipped with high-end computers, an interactive board, a projector, a television and other audio-visual facilities. ICT also plans to train teachers so that they are able to use the equipment and facilities to their full extent.
2. The Government of Gujarat has deployed computer labs in 15,493 primary and upper primary government schools in the state – an initiative that is likely to benefit lakhs of children every year.
3. Telangana Sarva Siksha Abhiyan is trying to implement e-learning for classes V-VIII in the state government schools using computers and ICT. For this to happen, the teachers will receive extensive technical and pedagogical trainings through instructional videos. They will also be taught about the importance of experiential learning. These will help teachers move away from the top-down method of teaching.
Whats next in the world of e-learning?
1. Use of e-learning based on cloud computing as it provides more efficient centralised storage, memory, processing, and bandwidth capabilities.
2. Different apps can be used to reinforce learning whilst forums can be used to increase the amount of interaction and engagement between learners.