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From Traditional To Vocational: E-learning Goes A Long Way

To meet future requirements of skilled manpower, a robust vocational system capable of quickly adapting to and Co-opting the latest technology is required

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With a market size of over 1.4 million schools and 18,000 institutes of higher learning, e-learning in India has a potential that is unmatchable with anywhere else. Across the world learning and knowledge acquisition has largely progressed beyond the physical structures of a school classroom and into the open world of the internet. As such digital learning aids like tablets and smartphones along with contents easily accessible over the internet have gained wide scale acceptance as it complements the regular school system and the traditional method of teaching and learning. Research group KPMG had estimated that the e-learning industry in India is today worth $700 million and growing at a steady rate of 25 per cent year on year.

The proliferation of personal computers and of smartphones along with the increasing penetration of the internet and improved connection speeds have contributed to an increasing consumption of educational contents in the digital format. The government aware of the potential gains has also been promoting e-learning at various levels. Enterprising start-ups have also launched a plethora of IT based educational platforms offering quality contents and modules that are in line with learner's needs and industry requirements. E-learning is a holistic medium in which it engages both the visual and auditory senses of the learner, making the entire process more interesting and enjoyable. MBD group is one such veteran in the field with over a decade of experience, providing quality e-learning contents to more than a million learners across the country.

Government initiatives like the "Skill India", "Digital India," and "Start up India" have also given a fillip to the use of e-learning tools to impart vocational training to a large section of the youth's in the country. With high-speed broadband connections now available even in remote villages and towns, technology is constantly being harnessed to reach out to students in far flung areas, communicate with them and to help them acquire new skills. The ability to imbed demo videos and explanatory videos into e-learning modules have made them a practical medium and enhanced the acceptance of such modules.

Thus, with a practical hands-on approach, e-learning has been instrumental in transforming vocational and skill education from being a purely theoretical, academic approach. In a fast developing economy such as ours, the demand for skilled workforce will be on the rise. As per a government report, by 2020, sectors such as construction, retail, transportation, logistics, automobile, and handloom will require an additional 119 million skilled workforce to be available to power growth in the sectors. Any shortfall in the availability of skilled manpower will seriously impeded the future economic growth of the country. Online education and e-learning modules have demonstrated the capacity to develop vocational skills and will play a very important role in bridging the demand-supply gap of skilled manpower.

Technology - the backbone of e-learning has played the role of a facilitator for the creation of content and the medium of dissemination. Technology itself is subjected to change as we have seen in the numerous advancements made in the field. And as technology develops for the better, it will improve accessibility and content delivery and maybe in the process lead to lower training costs in the not so distant future.

With each development made in the advancement of technology, promoters, and providers of e-learning needs to keep pace with the development not only in terms of technology changes but also on content updation and maintain relevance. With recent advancements made in the field of technology such as 3D printing, the impending sophistication of e-learning is very interesting in the very least.

To meet future requirements of skilled manpower, a robust vocational system capable of quickly adapting to and Co-opting the latest technology is required.

Innovations like IoT, Virtual Reality and 3D printing are capable of taking e-learning to the next level. At MBD, we are constantly striving to update our e-learning solutions for the benefit of our students and learners across the country.

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.

Monica Malhotra Kandhari

The author is Managing Director, MBD Group

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