We’re extremely fortunate to be living in the digital age - where everything is just one touch away from us. Today, we have an untapped ocean of knowledge in the form of the internet. So much so that education and technology have coupled to give rise to something extremely effective - education technology, fondly known as EdTech. EdTech, or Online Education, goes beyond the realms of secondary, post-secondary, and tertiary education. There are courses for a variety of things including professional skill enhancements and other non-academic subjects.
It is almost too hard to imagine that there was a time when classrooms were a bastion of tradition, dominated by blackboards, chalks, dusters, and textbooks. However, the recent advancements in technology have made classroom learning a thing of the past. Now, organizations are spending a fortune on Education Technology.
According to a report published by KPMG, India’s e-learning market, back in 2016 itself, was worth $247 million, comprising of 1.6 million users. By 2021, the market size is likely to octuple to $1.96 billion, and the user base is expected to grow six times to 9.6 million users. Our EdTech market is second-largest in the world, only after the United States.
These EdTech platforms have added a flavor to online learning - by literally providing a virtual classroom environment. These platforms are as efficient for working professionals as they’re for students. Today, various high-quality niche courses and certifications that are hard to acquire offline, like Machine Learning, Robotics, Businesses Management, Digital Marketing Certification, and many more, are easily accessible using these platforms. If you’re not interested in going through a full-fledged course and just want to fill a particular skill gap, EdTech offers that as well. You’ll find individual courses on CAD, CNC, Project Management, and many other topics of your need to make you a better professional.
Such skill-based learning allows employees to gain knowledge and put it to immediate use in the field.
EdTech has proven to be much more accessible, efficient, and cost-effective than the traditional classroom methods - and especially for working professionals who have little time to take offline classes regularly. Let’s see what are some of the most used EdTech tools and platforms in the world today:
Coursera is the most popular and the most extensive EdTech platform providing massive open online courses (MOOCs). It offers courses encompassing robotics, IoT, Big Data, and many more. It has a vast collection of free and paid courses for you to enroll in, and there are also scholarships for the paid courses!
EdX hosts various online courses in a wide range of disciples worldwide, including some free courses. EdX also conducts extensive research on how people are using the platform to improve with time.
Udacity offers a free-trial to the first-time users, allowing them to try out some elements before investing. Its claim to fame was the “nanodegree” program, but it also offers various individual skill-building courses.
Lynda.com has experts that offer lectures and courses to help you develop many skills including technical, creative, and business skills. Lynda is an affiliate of LinkedIn and is seen as an excellent tool for aspiring product developers, thanks to the multiple classes it provides on product design and prototyping.
UpGrad is an online higher education platform providing rigorous industry-relevant programs designed and delivered in collaboration with world-class faculty and industry. Merging the latest technology, pedagogy, and services, UpGrad is creating an immersive learning experience – anytime and anywhere."
These EdTech platforms have some clear advantages over traditional methods of imparting education. Let’s see some of these benefits to help you understand better:
- Learn anywhere at any time: In today’s world, this point holds a lot of importance. Whether you’re a student or a professional, you’ll always find yourself rushing - and mostly behind time. In such a situation, what can be better than a tool that you can use to upskill yourself, any time you want, at your convenience?
- Personalized learning: When you talk of technology, you talk of Big Data. These platforms have enormous amounts of data on the enrolled students. Using that data combined with data analytics, these platforms track your learning preferences and offer customized courses and recommendations for you.
- Collaborate and innovate: These online courses have redefined collaborative learning. Now, students can share insights with their virtual classmates seamlessly and actively participate in discussions of sorts.
- Improve technical skills: EdTech platforms are easy to use, and can help “non-tech” members of your organization to build the tech skills they need for the increasingly digitized manufacturing industry.
All of this just goes to show that EdTech is something that’s here to stay - and for the better. Have you tried out any of these platforms? If not, what are you waiting for? There’s always so much to learn and improve yourself. And, if you have, do share your experiences with us in the comments below!
[The writer, Vivek Kumar, is President - Consumer Revenue at UpGrad, an online higher education platform providing rigorous industry-relevant programs designed and delivered in collaboration with world-class faculty and industry. Merging the latest technology, pedagogy and services.]
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