The pandemic has led to an increased acceptance of online learning by both students as well as the industry and there is an overall recognition of the value of any time, anywhere online learning that is accessible across devices.
Technology is disrupting all sectors and education is not an exception. However, most higher education institutions in India are not technologically advanced and hence they cannot stay relevant and updated with the evolving technology. Neither does it make our youth workforce ready. This is where tech companies have an important role to play. This has led to the creation of an entire digital ecosystem. Let’s look at some of the technology trends that are influencing the education sector today.
Data analytics: While this is crucial to almost every industry, the education sector is using data analytics for better outcomes. Learner behavior analytics today helps perpetuate a thriving learning culture and having a healthy learning culture has a direct correlation with employee engagement and retention.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Edtech is tapping the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for personalized learning recommendations, AI-based coaching and mentoring, and virtual proctoring among others. The huge data bank enabled with AI can also be used to create customized assessments for students across subjects and grades.
In digital learning, the learner participates in a very engaging and interactive learning process that holds the learner’s cognitive ability to learn.
Virtual education: With the pandemic, virtualization of office space has become a necessity for many organizations and learning is no exception – moving from classroom to virtual; be it for lab practice or lectures.
Augmented reality and virtual reality: AR and VR are playing a big role in simulation-based learning, especially in domains like manufacturing, logistics, medico, and pharmaceutical sectors. Edtech companies are partnering with AR and VR technology companies to provide an AR-driven immersive learning experience.
Blockchain: Universities are seeking to tap into the potential of blockchain for authentication and authorization of certificates and credentials. This will provide authenticity of their certification and students can rely on a digital immutable authentic copy of their certifications and degrees, etc.
Learning challenges and solutions
A major challenge of any virtual learning environment is how to ensure that it continues to engage the learners and hold their attention. Edtech companies are constantly trying to tackle these challenges through various engaging programs and initiatives. Also, while the education sector can invest in technologies that can help in better learner engagement, the total cost of ownership and return on investment in such technology infrastructure is still very high.
Gamified learning and gamification in learning: The former is learning embedded in a game and the latter is gamification elements like points and leaderboards, etc. in a learning experience. Both have their advantages whether you decide to implement a learning game to teach a specific skill or gamify the entire learning process, the learner will be more engaged and motivated. Both help increase the engagement of the learner and in extending their attention span.
AR and VR are playing a big role in simulation-based learning, especially in domains like manufacturing, logistics, medico, and pharmaceutical sectors.
Online platforms: Through an online learning platform, one can have access to some of the best professors and universities from around the world including, multilingual content, blended learning with an online and offline learning experience, and personalized learning experience without any geographical barriers at a fraction of the cost. In digital learning, the learner participates in a very engaging and interactive learning process that holds the learner’s cognitive ability to learn.
Going ahead, the higher education and degree market is going to be the next big thing in the digital and online learning space with the New Education Policy 2020 emphasizing online degree courses. Digital universities will be the way forward and will pave the way for new opportunities and boost India’s future giving its youth a strong foundation.
Indra is President & Head, upGrad for Business