शनिवार, ९ मार्च, २०१३

E-learning in India


E-learning in Indiachillibreeze writer — Pavan Metri

Background
Online education is commonly referred to as e-learning; here, the methodology of learning is unusual as compared to the traditional classroom type of learning. The transfer of skills and imparting of knowledge (method of teaching) in a traditional classroom is purely monopolistic in nature, whereas, every individual has different levels of wavelengths and grasps the subject matter at different paces. Hence, it is imperative for an online startup company to understand the pros and cons, benefits, opportunities and impediments of online education in India.
Scope & opportunities of online education in India
Online education in India is gaining importance at a much slower rate than the western world, where most educational activities are carried out online.
Tremendous opportunities exist in the untapped rural areas as online education is at its nascent stage in India. There is a huge student segment in India in the age range of 16 to 35, who are willing to study online. Awareness has to be created among the general public in terms of the benefits and career aspects of online education.
Job oriented vocational courses are offered online, enabling students to complete such courses in a stipulated time. One can also prepare for competitive examinations in various fields like engineering, medicine, law, social sciences, etc without having to purchase physical books, thus saving huge amounts of money and space. Since online courses are student centered and not time bound, it enables blended learning.
Online education can be pursued not only by students, but also by working individuals who wish to pursue extra courses, house wives, business persons, senior citizens, accountants, real estate agents, managers working in diverse fields, etc.
Benefits to companies
  • Less operational costs as teacher student ratio can be reduced without impacting the quality of education. Hence, companies spend less in recruiting trainers.
  • IT costs are also reduced as virtual devices like live streaming cameras are used which are economical and a one-time investment.
  • Flexibility in timings can be achieved as live classes can be conducted at any mutually agreeable time.
  • One teacher/tutorial can train multiple (unlimited) students unlike classroom training. Hence, almost 100% margins can be achieved in online industry, reducing infrastructural costs.
Challenges for online education
  • Lack of internet penetration in rural areas poses a barrier for companies to reach out to the rural masses. Lack of bandwidth also hinders interactive programs like virtual classroom connectivity, live streaming, etc
  • People in rural areas are less susceptible to change as their mindset is geared towards a traditional classroom setting.
Benefits to consumers of online education
  • One can sit at a comfortable place, set aside a convenient time slot, and successfully undergo training.
  • No time and resources are spent on travelling.
  • A valuable suggested method of learning for all, including teachers, students, and parents.
  • Connecting with subject matter experts, professors, classmates through online world is much easier, time saving, and affordable. Everybody is just a click away.
  • For business oriented people, networking is at their fingertips.
  • Reduction in tuition fees due to innovative learning methods.
  • Any information can be obtained through custom web search (E.g., www.quickmba.com)
  • Much flexibility in learning, as one gets to interact with people of different cultures. Learning in groups is also more fun and promotes simulation, synthesis and assessments of individual projects.
  • Online projects give special attention and exposure to students to cope up with real time practical experiences and develop themselves professionally.
  • Other useful features of online education is that it induces collaborative learning through live virtual classes, discussion boards, forums, games, case studies, online projects, online group assignments, etc
Issues in online education
Health concerns
Being online continuously leads to health hazards like strain in the eyes and other health related hazards like stress, dizziness, etc for middle aged people.
Technology issues
  • Lack of concentration due to change in the medium of education.
  • In case of slow connectivity, more time is consumed in navigating through websites and pages.
Adaptability of the general public
  • Lack of student to teacher interaction.
  • Real time help is not always possible.
Content issues
  • Sometimes, content may be outdated and some content may not be updated or missing.
  • Mismatch between the course contents and student’s requirements.

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