The evolution of digital education is nothing short of a revolution. We have seen educational efficacy changing digitally with each passing day. It has not only provided teachers and students unlimited teaching and learning opportunities, respectively, but also improved students’ erudition, participation in the learning process and innovation. From chalk-and-talk lessons and assisted learning methods to advanced educational tools, digital education continues to be the new wave of learning. A recent report stated that over 5.8 million students enrolled for online courses in 2016, which is a 263% increase over the last 12 years.
The proliferation of digital tools, including apps, tablets and laptops, has transformed learners’ communication, engagement, opportunity for collaboration and feedback, as also delivery procedures. This is owing to the fact that the online space is not just one of the most cost-effective ways to educate, but is also an appropriate platform to present a world-class learning experience to the ever-expanding workforce. The edtech wave has made it possible for education to be accessed from anywhere, by anyone, at any time. In the latest Global Shapers survey—an initiative of the World Economic Forum—of 25,000 young people from across the world, 77.84% of the respondents reported having taken online courses in the past.
The whole revolution of online education was devised to create resources just once and be used multiple times for the generations to come. Thus saving resources and efforts while still being personalised. Pioneering a concept where the best of the minds come together to bring about courses that would leave national boundaries behind is a task worth much applaud. Renowned universities have launched proprietary tools to bring education online in order to make a difference.
The following parameters showcase the progression of digital education:
Social media as a learning tool: Social media has progressed from being a mere networking means to a learning tool. Today, many teachers and universities incorporate social media into their curriculum, making it an integral part of the e-learning experience. Apart from being able to share information anywhere, anytime, this relevant tool is also a responsive means of keeping learners engaged and interested. They are much aware of current affairs, trending issues, social activities and prospective employment opportunities, on a real-time basis. A report shows that 71% of academic leaders rate online learning outcomes as same or superior to face-to-face learning methods.
Penetration into the hinterland: The rural market is evolving faster than the urban market. Affordable high-speed internet and direct-to-device technologies are empowering rural students to get quality resources and education, anywhere and anytime. These have also enabled the students to save time and money.
Advancement of interactive learning: Digital education is no longer confined to a classroom. With the advent of the virtual classroom, terms like flipped classroom, formative assessment and mobile learning have become popular. The learning process over the years has been made more fun and engaging through these models. In fact, according to a few studies, 90% of the students think that online learning leads to either a similar or even better learning experience that traditional classrooms. Various educators have come up with interactive learning modules that demonstrate a good balance between proactive games that entertain and those that impart educational values.
Learning from the best: Global conversations, internationally-trained teachers, premium courses and renowned institutes have harboured change and innovation. Sitting in the comfort of one’s home, one can have access to the best authors, scientists and experts. This has enhanced learning and resulted in a rich teaching experience. In fact, 77% of institutions offering online learning say it is crucial to their long-term strategy.
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Going ahead, there will be a convergence of digital and physical worlds, with the internet becoming far more democratic and accessible. The industry is no longer fragmented; there are players currently who are offering a suite of courses to cater to the varied needs of available learners.
The government is also taking radical steps to come up with policies that will help boost the online education market. Faster implementation, improved quality of digital infrastructure and inexpensive broadband services across the country will help facilitate the use of innovative educational tools.
Most professions have already witnessed drastic changes in the way they work, thanks to technological innovations, and digital education is not far behind. We can see a myriad of possibilities in front of us and there are going to be many more which will go beyond the limits of our imagination.
The author is CEO & MD, Talentedge, an edtech firm