The growth of online education has been increasing in the last few months owing to the dual effect of the pandemic as well as greater use of Smartphones and internet. Schools and colleges which were shut down, decided to use the tech route to reach out to students and finish their syllabus. Apps like Zoom and Skype, saw massive downloads among the students. Now that it’s been over 6 months, we need to ask some questions regarding the future of the education sector. Is the shift to online short term? Are students feeling comfortable? Here, we will talk about some important reasons why online learning is growing so fast and whether it can sustain in the future.
Why The Sudden Shift?
While many people blindly believe that it’s because of the coronavirus that people are shifting to the online mode, the reality is slightly different. Edtech as a sector, was growing heavily even before the virus struck. With billion dollar valuations that are creating more unicorns in India, we saw a dramatic rise in online courses in data science, cybersecurity, communication, law and mostly professionals were taking these courses. With time, school students and tutors got comfortable with digital classrooms and that led to improved online course materials. Let us discuss some vital points that contributed to the growth of online learning and analyse each one of them.
Online education provides a more equitable platform to students from all economic backgrounds. Tutors of different experience levels charge different amounts that provide a better choice for the students. While an experienced tutor can charge Rs 2000/hour a newcomer can teach you at 10% of the amount. This allows students of socially disadvantaged backgrounds to get better access to education.
The availability of a large pool of tutors allows students to get their queries resolved quickly. In the traditional format, a student had to wait for the next class to clear a doubt wasting 3-4 days of his precious time, while now there are instant solutions. Be it mock tests, descriptive, MCQ or a theoretical explanation, tutors and student forums are active to provide a quick solution to the problem.
Millions of tutors are enrolling themselves as tutors in multiple learning portals. Be it MyFavTutor, or any other website, the exponential rise of tutor registration is an indication that the youth today takes teaching seriously, as a long term career. By 2021, it is expected that 10 million tutors are going to sign up to share their valuable knowledge, while earning a good amount every month.
The Government of India, has launched several schemes that promote digital learning in a big way. In fact the Digital India program along with Swayam have given a great opportunity for students, professionals and learners to register in academic or vocational courses and upskill themselves. With the kind of promotions it has made, the future of education in India is surely going to be digital.
India is expected to add 180 million Smartphone users by 2021. With an existing user base of more than 500 million, mobile screens are becoming the new classrooms for students. As the population of India is relatively young, with a median age of around 26, most of them are tech savvy and open to experimentation. During the lockdown period students and tutors, both became comfortable in learning via Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and several other apps. With easy document transfer, screen sharing system, good sound, graphics, audio-visual effect the learning experiences have changed and after the initial hiccups, students and tutors have adjusted well.
Cheap internet in India is fueling online learning and video consumption. In the last 4-5 years,, most tutors and coaching academies were uploading 1.5-2 hour lectures on YouTube which was garnering a lot of views. Apart from this, schools and colleges created their own channels and web portals to provide updates of exams, syllabus, dates, eligibility, instructions and conference lectures. This made students enjoy the best educational content not only in India but also from outside. With an average price of Rs4 per GB of data, the internet is growing faster and by 2021, 735 million users are expected to use it. Well, that’s twice the population of the US!
A young population is the biggest asset of India. With around 600 million people in India, under 25 years of age, online education is going to thrive here without a doubt. This is simply because people want to see new things and try out different methods. Traditional classrooms have bored a lot of them and with the push for online classes, the future is quite bright. Even though there are issues like connectivity, urban rural divide, challenges in doing assignments and homework, the state and central governments push for a better and upgraded learning environment will manage these problems in times to come.
The income level of India is rising and as more people are uplifted from poverty, the spending is bound to increase. Even in Rural India, the economy is improving and most of the population are more than willing to do and learn things online. India already earns 30% higher than it was five years back and as more families shift to the cities and join the workforce, more money is going to flow in. With this, the online education sector is going to bloom faster than expected.
Most of the money is being spent in reskilling, test preparation and vocational courses. As the exams are getting harder every year, more detailed preparations are necessary. Professionals are learning IT skills that are providing them employment benefits including salary hike and promotions. Also, a lot of vocational courses like music and painting are being learnt online. People are also pursuing their hobbies like cooking through online channels. In short, the market is buzzing with millions of enrollments, course materials and video lectures.
What Could Be The Future of Online Education?
Quizzes, puzzles, scholarships, competition are a part of modern day learning. These activities help students to stay motivated and give their best performance. Tutors are using various incentive based learning schemes to get better responses from students. Like for example if you score x in this exam, you will get a gamepad. Like this, games and winners just like reality shows are being set up to bring even the laziest students on track, because who doesn’t like to win awards and applauses?
Innovative ideas of teaching along with feature rich softwares will drive the online education market in 2021 and onwards. MyFavTutor already has apps that are allowing tutors to upload demo videos, maintain chat history, payment through online mode and several other user friendly approaches. With time more audio visual contents need to come up that will make learning more engaging.
Hybrid is the way to go. Simply because not everything can be studied online and hence a mix of physical classrooms and online learning will be the ideal way to go. Science practicals, project works and other important works that need physical presence must be done the conventional way. While on one hand we should have the classrooms, the private tuition could very well continue on the apps.
As the online learning segment is taking huge strides, MyFavTutor, one of the largest online tutor portals is providing more opportunities to students of a variety of courses, classes and backgrounds. With an increase in online learning, this portal is acting as a catalyst to bring more tutors and students into the ambit of this learning process. As young India prepares to go fully digital, it’s time for all of us to stay connected and make the best use of this positive shift towards online education.