The rapid growth in internet, mobile and cloud technologies in the past decade has touched every aspect of human life including learning and education. eLearning has been around for quite some time now and as its popularity continues to grow within the educational sector, its capabilities are also growing along with it. Computers are becoming increasingly essential as educational tools and technologies are becoming more portable and cost-effective. Another eLearning technique that is fast gaining popularity is mobile learning.
When kindergarten teachers are clicking through videos and interactive games and college students are turning in their assignments online, you know that technology has pervaded every aspect of education. By 2020, even in India, I expect that students of traditional engineering and MBA will be learning through a combination of virtual, digital and classroom.
In recent years, it has become important to look critically at the learning outcomes of training and to adapt those outcomes. Organisations do not require an endless accumulation of general knowledge anymore – however, the focus is more on skills that help institutes to save money as well as enhance effectiveness.
At ITM, we have developed an eLearning platform that leverages the aspects of digital learning, social collaboration and student generated content to create a live community around each course and subject. Students are encouraged to add and modify the content of a course, through their research and original contributions, which are ‘voted in or out of the curriculum by their peers. This makes the learning experience dynamic and ever-changing, and highly focused on students needs and levels of knowledge. By making the eLearning platform mobile, students are constantly engaged with the course through their smartphones.
Few of the latest trends in the eLearning sector:
From textbook to tablet: As a learning initiative, institutions are encouraging students to use tablets and can have easy access to their e-textbooks. They are also offering digital library and video tutorials via their tablets on the schools open Wi-Fi network.
M-Learning & Micro Learning: New technology is making learning mobile and consumable in a variety of formats. With new eLearning Apps such as Tin Can, learning can be delivered in micro-slices for quick and frequent consumption by learners.
Open Education Resources: Open Educational Resource (OER) is content developed and offered freely for the purpose of teaching and learning. The digitised material allows for open development and reuse. OER’s include education course content and materials, digitised textbooks, streaming videos, software and other materials used to support and convey knowledge.
Social Learning: Peer-to-peer learning, which has been popularised by MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) is making way for Social Learning, where rich communities are formed around subjects and courses, with learners discussing and sharing from across the world, and faculties playing roles of facilitation and content curation.
Upgradation of research: Active learning and students participation in knowledge building is the new comparative advantage to stand out in the education field. This will help students to create knowledge autonomously and encourage them to generate content
In the near future, there is threat to the survival of traditional universities as the future is outside the traditional campus and outside the traditional classroom. As per the Docebo report issued in July 2014, the worldwide market for self-paced eLearning reached US$ 35.6 billion in 2011.The five-year compound annual growth rate is estimated at around 7.6 percent so revenues would reach US$ 51.5 billion by 2016. While the aggregate growth rate is 7.6 percent, several world regions appear to have significantly higher growth rates. The highest growth rate is in Asia at 17.3 percent, followed by Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America at 16.9 percent, 15.2 percent and 14.6 percent respectively.
Looking eLearning in India, research indicates that the industry is set to reach US$ 1.29 billion by 2018, while some highly optimistic sources claim that the market is much bigger, sizing up at $40-60 billion by 2018. Regardless, its generally agreed that with current annual growth rates of 17-20 percent, the industry is poised for significant growth. Already, India is a major source of eLearning content and development for the world market, thanks to our low-cost and highly educated workforce in higher education.
With Indian internet users expected to cross 250 million this year, rivaling the US and second only to China, Indias potential as a huge market for eLearning is unchallenged. A large number of new users are accessing the internet the first time from their smartphones, which is an ideal, personalised and commerce-enabled platform for eLearning adoption.
But the story is not limited to individual learners. Indian companies and MNCs in India are adopting eLearning platforms at a rapid pace, often delivered on turn-key basis by eLearning companies. Continuous employee learning has become a strategic necessity and leading companies are adopting eLearning to push both micro-learning and qualification focused learning objectives among their employees.
ITM-Group of institutions, with the launch of its online university, is working on dual objectives – to provide highly customisable and portable continuous learning products to Indian enterprises as well as to deliver high-calibre, technology and engagement driven degree programs to individual learners across the country.
The author is Nitin Putcha – executive vice president, ITM Group of Institutions.