The idea of school and college education is changing in India. Gone are the days when university education entailed sitting in classrooms for the major part of the day. Distance learning has heralded unprecedented changes in India's higher education landscape. Today, you have e-learning and personalised learning techniques as the newest flavour of the education industry.
Reasons for online education boom
It is a digital generation out there. Students are more comfortable than ever handling computers and digital devices like tablets, smartphones, etc. The easy availability of these devices and the internet have catalysed the online education boom. When students have the option to study online, they should try and make the most out of it.
Educational institutions are now designing their learning delivery systems in line with this trend and the emergence of cloud technology has proved highly favourable to these systems.
The traditional university education has proved its inability to prepare students to face the intense levels of competition in the constantly evolving market. This has necessitated a drastic change in the approach towards education.
So let us look at the advantages of cloud technology in education from the students' and the educational institutions' point of view:
Benefits to students
- Conventional courses are expensive because of high tuition fees, books, accommodation facilities, and transport. The students can pursue online courses from anywhere, without investing in books. They can rely on cloud-based educational services to refer to any study material at any time
- Students can cut down on their transport cost and time, ensuring that they have more time to concentrate on their studies and other activities.
Benefits to the educational institutions:
- Educational institutes need not invest in property, land, buildings, and other infrastructure for conducting classes.
- They can save a lot of money by incurring fewer expenses on hiring teachers and professors.
The market trend:
Cloud computing enables you to save a lot of information, content and data on a single platform. It is easier for the users to access and process this data from anywhere and at any time. In addition to the speed of transacting, you end up saving a lot by way of reduction in capital expenses by implementing SaaS (Software as a Service) based solutions.
Cloud computing technologies provide a higher level of security such as SSL connections and hacking protection, to educational institutes to protect their learning modules.
These trends are picking up quickly, but they are still to make deep inroads into the conventional educational systems in India. The biggest challenge these trends face is the acceptability, the change in the collective mindset required to embrace this technology. Creating awareness is the only way to overcome this challenge.
It is true that students will miss out on the campus life and classroom experience. The lively interactions between teachers and students will be missing. Clearing the doubts can also take time because students need to wait for the feedback from their teachers.
What does the future hold?
People have now started realising the importance of this alternative of cloud-based technology solutions to the conventional educational system. The traditional educational environment has woefully failed to prepare the students to face the extreme levels of competition once they graduate from the universities. The online method of education along with the emergence of cloud technology in India has the ability to turn things on its head in the near future.
Main players in the industry
Being a new concept as far as online education is concerned, it requires great foresight and courage to embrace Cloud technology. Remember, it is not so easy for these players to break free from the shackles of conventional technologies and systems and carve out an innovative path. Nevertheless, some higher education and professional education institutions have taken the bold step forward. The main players in the industry today are Educomp Solutions, Next Education, IGNOU, and NIIT. Then there also are online training institutes like Eklavya which provide students with a free exam preparation package.
Online education is here to stay because it has found wide acceptibility among the student and parent community. Also, teachers are gradually making the transition from the traditional classroom teaching to the online mode and websites like Udemy provide them the right platform. The conventional education mindset is changing gradually. It won't be long before for the trend makes deeper inroads across the country. It usually starts with a trickle and ends with a flood.
The auhor is Anish Passi, director of Neostencil, a unique platform for test preparation.