A 2018 meta-analysis of over a dozen studies which covered education technology revealed that when technology is leveraged to individualize a student’s pace of learning, the results, most often show enormous promise. In simpler terms, ed-tech can significantly improve the learning experience and personalise instruction specifically to each student’s pace. Up until a few weeks ago, going to schools and colleges for lectures was normal. But, with the COVID-19 lockdown, students and educational institutions are increasingly opting for digital options to stay abreast. Screenshots of LIVE online seminars and lectures have flooded the internet, aided by technology which has enabled this seamless transition from offline to online classes, at a time when it is required the most.
As per a 2016-2017 report by WENR, with approximately 1.5 million schools and 260 million school students, India has the world’s second largest school system after China.The lockdown has shown us that the inaccessibility to physical classrooms cannot affect studies as long as we have access to laptops, iPads and smartphones. For example, The British School in New Delhi was using Microsoft Teams even before the lockdown began. Now with it in full effect, their remote learning infrastructure is as strong as it ever can be.
This growing camaraderie with e-learning solutions have unlocked new opportunities for students. Students are now utilizing their time to leverage from a range of digital means to improve their understanding of otherwise difficult subjects and make the best use of their time indoors. Easier said than done though, as a sizeable chunk of the country’s students still do not have access to steady broadband connections or adequate technological applications. It is difficult for the existing digital infrastructure in India to meet the needs of burgeoning population of the country. It is in these times, that companies and the government must join hands to help further the learning curve.
Levelling the playing field
In a country as exotically diverse as India, overcoming the infrastructure barrier is just the tip of the iceberg. There needs to be solutions in place that also overcome the barriers of language and content. This is where e-learning can prove instrumental. It can, effectively, level the playing field for students from all walks of life. With the significant need for technology to boost education in the country, access to online learning sources will become ubiquitous.
The government’s ‘Digital India campaign’ has already made incredible strides in developing the education sector to meet such demands. Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs under the government’s SWAYAM initiative have tremendous potential to make learning accessible to India’s youth that form over 50% of the country’s population. To meet this demand, technology companies must also do their part. By helping educational institutions strengthen their digital infrastructure with the necessary tools, companies can help set the precedent for others to follow.
Identifying the challenge
This is where technological intervention becomes the key differentiator. It has three parts. Cutting-edge e-learning features such as virtual classes, animation-based and video lessons and even smart classrooms are various ways a teacher can deliver classes and professors can deliver lectures. Since students can often lose their interest during long lectures, technology such as AI-based applications can help in breaking these lectures down to snackable content that students can enjoy at their own pace.
Even difficult subjects like Maths can be explained in the form of stories, thus breaking down complex concepts into engaging explanations.
AI-driven insights can also create an analysis sheet for students to gauge their performance over time and identify pain points which they need to address. By allowing the system to analyse their requirements, they can get quick and efficient consultation to address doubts and improve their results.
The future is bright
Going forward, the digital learning space will continue to witness unprecedented developments with respects to online methods of learning. Availability of various unique courses across categories will continue to encourage students to expand their horizons when it comes to the content they consume. Gamification will also ensure that the learning process becomes even more impactful. As LIVE online interactions between students and educators thrive in this environment, students will continue to reap the benefits in remote as well as metropolitan cities. It goes without saying that the role of AI in this will be a significant one. AI aides will act as learning assistants, helping students along on their journey. Even after the effects of COVID-19 recede the future of e-learning in India is brighter than ever. Financial resources, location and language barriers are no longer hindrances to completing your education.