In December 2014 Idea Cellular, the third largest domestic carrier in India by subscriber base, launched a campaign in the form of a series of TV commercials. These commercials sought to emphasize the role Idea Internet Network aka IIN plays in helping people pursue their dreams against all odds. The first TVC in the series showed a boy failing to get admission in an IIT and yet becoming an award-winning young scientist by pursuing his studies using his data-enabled mobile phone.[pullquote]Self-paced e-Learning is expected to grow by 55% in India by the end of 2015, closely followed by China and Malaysia. (51% and 42% respectively)[/pullquote]
The other TVCs in the series also featured knowledge-thirsty or underprivileged (or both) people who chase their dreams irrespective of all factors that chained them in. A group of women who are forbidden to go out of their homes “bring the college to their homes”; a young teacher keeps herself updated so that she can excel in her field; a tourist guide learns French online to communicate better with his customers; the latest addition to the series shows a transgender who is denied admission in many educational institutions pursuing her passion for learning by studying online.
Education through e-Learning: the game changer
The message (or one of the messages) Idea Cellular tried to convey through these TVCs, undoubtedly, is the importance of having data-enabled mobile phones in the new age.
Now, one can like or dislike these TVCs. Of course, this campaign was met with criticism and sarcasm on different counts and from different quarters. Well, one cannot expect profit-driven campaigns to be politically or logically correct in their advertisements, can one?
However, for those who closely watch and study the changes happening to the education sector, these TVCs throw open another area for discussion and debate. This campaign, knowingly or unknowingly, acknowledge a fact many players in the education industry are yet to admit openly or for worst, keep taking for granted – the possibilities and potential of e-Learning industry.
Idea Cellular’s “I am from IIN” campaign is an unmistakable pointer towards and affirmation to a fact no learning enthusiast can choose to neglect – that, learning is moving towards digital and online learning platforms and practices at an unprecedented rate. More importantly, learning in the coming years is going to be defined and guided largely by various players in the e-Learning industry.
The e-Learning revolution
Experts are divided on whether e-Learning is a revolution or evolution. As interesting as it may sound, the first to try their hands at e-Learning in a significant manner and bandwidth was neither schools nor educational institutions as one would naturally expect. The first to experiment with and reap the benefits of e-Learning practices were big corporates across the globe; small business owners and companies followed suit. This shouldn’t come as a surprise if we look at the history of e-Learning; corporates were more technically equipped to experiment with digital platforms and e-Learning content as compared to public/private schools and educational institutions.[pullquote]No one can deny that e-Learning practices are set out to change and re-shape the face of educational system. [/pullquote]
However, recent trends suggest that schools and universities are increasingly relying on e-Learning materials and content for instruction or assessment or both. This, coupled with the proliferation of handheld devices such as tablets and mobiles, will complete the e-Learning revolution/evolution in the years to come.
The scope of e-Learning in India: numbers and statistics
I am no great fan of numbers, but I can’t help but admit that, sometimes, numbers speak louder than words. Let us take a look at some of the surveys, statistics and trends in the education scenario; they are indicative of how e-Learning practices are expected to grow in the coming years. These numbers also serve as the horoscope of e-Learning companies that offer e-Learning solutions and e-Learning content for schools and corporates, both in India and abroad.
Self-paced e-Learning is expected to grow by 55% in India by the end of 2015, closely followed by China and Malaysia. (51% and 42% respectively)
In the year 2012, US, Japan, South Korea, China, and India ranked top among the buyers of mobile learning products and services. According to global surveys, the end of 2017 will see China, US, Indonesia, India, and Brazil emerging as the top buyers of mobile learning products and services.
As for e-Learning for school students, the number of students using tablets and mobiles are escalating and is expected to increase by lakhs in the coming years. This means that e-Learning, especially mobile-learning, will set the rules of the game in the education scenario in no time. Does the word Aakash Tablet ring a bell to you? Despite the ups and downs in implementation, the central and various state governments in India are constantly striving to link schools, colleges and universities in e-Learning initiatives.
Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) is one of the greatest innovations higher education scenario has witnessed in the past few years. It not only democratizes learning process, but provides learners with alternative platforms. Indians rank top among the most enthusiastic users of MOOCs. With more than 2.5 lakh registered users, India had ranked second world wide even in March 2013.
Gone are the days when the internet was a limited luxury. With its promise of free internet in Delhi, Aam Admi Party has set a new trend in defining political agenda. We can expect more dramatic changes with regard to free or low-cost internet usage in the coming years across the country, which will most certainly impact internet based learning and e-Learning.
Brick and mortar learning setting: has it had its day?
Well, this doesn’t mean that the brick and mortar classroom instruction has had its day. Schools will continue to exist as long as there are students. But learning – in both its methods and platforms – is increasingly being metamorphosed into newer forms and structures.
No one can deny that e-Learning practices are set out to change and re-shape the face of educational system. From school courses to corporate training sessions, e-Learning has made its presence felt; and better, it has already made its impact too. That e-Learning is influencing traditional learning practices would be a gross understatement; it, on the other hand, has started taking over traditional learning platforms.