Until a decade
ago, none of us could have fathomed the criticality of laptops and mobile
phones as enablers for learning. But as the world cocooned into homes owing to
the global pandemic, multiple businesses including education were compelled
into a digital makeover. Bereft of the familiar setting of the classrooms,
education in India was one of the worst hit sectors, only to be propelled back
to normalcy by the tech enabled solutions. As students world over moved to
online education, it led to a meteoric
surge in e-learning and a spectacular expansion of the Indian ed-tech sector.
With over 550
Million people aged below 25 in India, there lies a huge potential for the
Indian edtech sector to tap into and expand. While the adoption of digital
learning has been varied in urban and non urban markets, the pandemic has
undoubtedly opened the need gaps and enabled edtech companies to extend their
reach and operations. Last year, edtech was among the top three funded sectors
in India, raising $1.9 billion across 80 deals. All stakeholders including the
government, private and public schools, tutors, coaching institutes, students,
and teachers have taken cognisance of the benefits of digital learning today
and its ability to supplement traditional classroom learning.
Edtech in India
is poised for a steady growth and multiple factors could be attributed for the
Proliferation of smartphone users in Tier 2 and 3 cities - Students in Tier 2 and 3 cities now have improved access to
high-quality education. Reducing data costs (India has the lowest internet
tariffs in the world) have enabled rural areas to have access to more
information and knowledge. With increasing internet penetration, betterment in
purchasing power and the need for high quality education, the next leap of
digital transformation will stem out of these cities in India. .
Increased access and guidance - Students
today enjoy limitless access to course materials and subject experts online
from around the world. Companies like Brainly in India, opens students to an
exhaustive knowledge base of over 48 million questions and answers, that is
available for free for all queries and doubt solving. This has also benefited parents
who are continually on the lookout for online educational tools that will
assist their children in achieving academic success.
Age no bar - Online learning makes it
possible for people across ages to access different subjects by allowing them
to learn at any place and any time, as per their convenience.
Digital-friendly government policies- The
government has launched several programs such as' Digital India’ and ‘Skill
India’ to spread digital literacy in India, create a knowledge-based society
and implement three principles: access, equity, and quality of the education
Reducing the divide - Students with
varying skill sets and sensibilities can access a wide selection of courses
owing to online learning. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and are
always on the lookout for digital learning modules that will suit their
educational demands and help in adaptive learning. Education apps like Brainly
deliver personalized adaptive learning, which helps students achieve better
learning results and thereby add further value to their traditional learning
methods in a hybrid approach.
A primary reason
for the success of the ed-tech industry in India has been the “Bharatiya”
approach adopted by the companies. They are taking note of the linguistic
diversity and regional disparities in India while developing solutions. Though
global in scope, the edtech industry has been able to capitalize on India’s
varied demography while keeping in consideration their propensity to spend for
road ahead is also plagued with challenges for edtech. The need to sustain a
loyal audience base, increasing customer acquisition cost, dearth of digitally
literate teachers and the economic divide are some of the glaring difficulties
for online education companies in India. Some other challenges can be listed
below as -
Poor internet connectivity – This still remains a major issue,
especially in rural areas. High-speed internet is necessary for innovation-driven
learning. With Tier 2 and 3 cities still encountering bandwidth constraints,
the pace of digital adoption here will continue to be a cause of concern.
Resisting pedagogical change – COVID 19
dismantled the walls of the classroom and took education online. With the
pandemic showing signs of waning, schools are returning to classroom education
and the one-size-fits-all model is back in play. Hence, customer retention is
going to emerge as a challenge.
Language – For a diversified nation like
India, it’s imperative for online learning platforms to design programs in
vernacular languages to dig deeper into the untapped demography. To cater to students in a language of their
comfort, some doubt solving app make its content available
in several Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati,
Kannada, Bengali, and Sanskrit. Ed tech companies are continually working on
increasing their language portfolio and offer customized learning solutions.
Online learning has a bright future in India. Educational technology
companies must address the challenges and help define the future of education.
In developing online education, the change will be led by the trio of content,
delivery, and access. To reach their target audience and drive growth, online
learning platforms must first understand their target audience and innovate
accordingly to create satisfactory products that appeal to students.