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Trends In The Ed-tech Space
When every industry is coming online, why not education?
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The Indian education system has always been on the radar not only because of its importance for the future of the country and the growth of the economy but also over arguments regarding obsolete curricula, lack of quality teachers and infrastructure and the emphasis on rote learning. However, on the bright side, the country is also home to world-class institutes like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Management (IIM) etc. Even though formal education still comprises classroom-based learning methods, the education industry is now embracing the online mode at a fast pace. After all, when every industry is coming online, why not education?
Having said that, education tech in India has always received an overwhelming response right from its inception. From the introduction of basic smart classes in schools to app-based online learning platforms, parents and educators alike concur on the benefits of such tools for students and for pedagogy at large. The current structure of the education industry is quite promising where a number of ed-tech startups are contending for a share of the ripe education market in India.
The Indian online education market, presently worth $247 million is on a growth spree and is estimated to witness an 8x growth over the next 5 years to achieve the growth benchmark of $2 billion by the year 2021, as stated in a joint report last year by Google and KPMG. This growth will be spurred by a massive rise in the paid user base for online education platforms.
Key drivers of the growing online education segment in India
While the report findings seem remarkable, India’s online education sector did not always enjoy the same status or garner the same interest as it does now. The setting up of digital labs in private schools was a ground-breaking initiative taken in the late 90s to revolutionise the way learning was instigated in kids. However, the uptake was slow and filled with inertia, to say the least. On the positive side, however, since then, several ed-tech players have forayed into the industry on the back of angel funding and investments, bringing the country India to the forefront in this space. The factors driving the investors towards this sector are the smart use of innovative technology and rapidly growing consumer base.
Since India’s rising internet penetration involves 409 million users, the value-driven online courses that are convenient flexible and personalised also attribute largely to the popularity of ed-tech among students. This, in turn, results in growing interest from investors.
Key categories and their market size
The online education market in India today comprises five categories; Primary & Secondary supplemental Education, Test Preparations, Re-skilling & Online certifications, Higher Education and Language & Casual Learning. Of these, online programmes coaching students for test preparations account for a significant part of the online education market in India with a share of 64 per cent followed by 60 per cent share from the primary & secondary supplemental education and 38 per cent from re-skilling & online certification programs.
The success and future trends in the ed-tech sector will majorly depend on the outcomes. There has to be a strong Return on Investment (ROI) from consuming education through digital channels beyond mere convenience. Here are a few trends the sector is going to witness in the coming few years:
To make learning more engaging, competitive and rewarding for students and professionals, the digital courses will incorporate features such as badges and incentive-based learnings to drive user engagement and knowledge acquisition.
Online education providers will work actively on providing ubiquitous learning content and learning by establishing offline touch points like group discussions and labs whereas the offline pedagogy will broaden its online element through e-tutorials, internships and live projects. This will allow the sector as a whole to provide value-added services and augment the overall learning experience.
Online education will now be driven across all age groups focusing on three kinds of needs; employability, social learning and entrepreneurship. Edu tech companies like Adda 247 have already adopted the model of making quality education accessible to students till the last mile, helping them crack key exams and get good jobs.
The future of this fraternity will witness Big Data and Artificial Intelligence supporting the creation of customised content. The consumption of content will also observe an evolution through the use of technologies like wearable devices and digital labs. Meanwhile, the data storage on cloud facility will enable the students to access content anytime and through any device.
India’s online education sector has a promising future and no sooner it might emerge as the next sunrise industry. However, it is highly doubtful that it will replace traditional learning. Instead, both online and offline models will work in tandem to give the country an empowered generation next.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.