Digital learning is no longer the new kid on the education block – it is a tested model that is maturing rapidly and making huge inroads into the education landscape.
The last few years have seen digital technologies take over the education sector – from learning aids in schools to full-blown certified courses replacing traditional programmes – better Internet infrastructure and reliable and fast accessibility has changed the learning landscape beyond recognition. All the trends and predictions point towards a continuing upward growth in this area.
Digital learning allows a great deal of flexibility. Many Ed-tech firms provide certified classes from some of the best-known colleges right at the learner’s doorstep! The same content, same certification but delivered via the Internet.
Looking ahead, some 20 years, for example, we can predict a few changes that will reflect the Indian higher education system.
From enrolment and exams to a large number of classes, digital will make inroads into the usual running of colleges. The typical university calendar of semesters, breaks and exams will become more flexible and students will be able to enrol and take exams throughout the year.
Classes will become more and more virtual. Currently, premier institutes are dabbling with online courses but their focus (and the main source of revenue) remains their traditional courses. As eLearning expands, this entire revenue model will flip, making online learning a larger and more profitable part of any institution. This will automatically lead to more technology and more time being devoted to eLearning courses.
Data collection and analytics will be used to evaluate progress more realistically and flexible scheduling will allow students and teachers to follow self-paced, self-designed learning. As the course material is available online, students no longer have to stick to one learning schedule.
For the developed nations, many eLearning pundits are predicting a complete disappearance of physical colleges in the near future – the large buildings will be replaced by smaller administrative offices, but India will probably take much much longer to embrace digital education 100%.
What is already apparent is that global access to high-quality education is already levelling the playing field. Students can now get access to the best of content and instructors online, on a global scale and they no longer have to stick to one institute’s structure. The global access will diminish the exclusivity attached to the premier institutions. In this new scenario, the only this that will matter is quality.