From the ancient to modern era, Indian education has transformed from gurukuls to digital learning platforms and from handwritten manuscripts to app-based programs on smartphones and tablets. Education technology or edtech has revolutionised the way education is consumed in the present era.
“Today, stuff you needed to know at a basic level is available for free on Khan Academy or similar platforms. This “Basics for free” is forcing a higher bar for truly quality education. In future, a platform that provides content, or does a modicum of personalisation will not be enough. A deep understanding of how best to teach and innovation in the way one learns will lead to better learning outcomes of the future, as tech and connectivity are becoming cheaper,” said Manan Khurma, CEO and founder, CueMath.
So, how different education in the modern era is?
Learning today is not limited to books but has become more of an immersive experience. Lalit Singh, COO of Udacity believes that new-age technologies like AI/ ML are pushing boundaries of education as well as pushing the new generation to not only rethink what we learn but how we learn. A virtual journey into a lattice, touch and feel your way, or a virtual journey into Schrodinger’s box, see for yourself if the cat is dead or alive?, or walk back in history to the Indus valley civilisation and experience it. “An experience can be recalled much more easily, cross-referenced at will by our brain, making our learning grow exponentially,” added Khurma.
Virtual learning is now a global norm. Also, peer-to-peer learning apps and web portals are enabling students to connect with their peers and share knowledge, despite geographical barriers. Pearson found that 50% of learners in India use the internet for self-study. The survey also revealed that 78% of Indians believe students today have the benefit of using tech-based tools and smart devices to support their learning.
“The continued reliance on online supplementary courses, video tutorials and edtech platforms indicate a shift is taking place – from classroom learning to virtual learning,” said Arshan Vakil, founder and CEO of Enguru.
Also, the focus today is more on vocational and skill-based training. Khurma believes the rapid pace of change, powered by the immense data engines and breakthrough tech riding on massive data, will now require all of us to re-skill 2-3 times in a duration of a lifetime.
Simplilearn’s CEO and founder Krishna Kumar seconds Manan’s thoughts and believes the edtech startups are willing to encash this opportunity well. “With more learners taking to online skilling programs, the Indian Edtech sector is today going through a phase of metamorphosis. Online training programs are becoming the answer to upskilling and building a strong skill set for career growth and development as a professional,” Kumar added.
Mrinal Mohit, Chief Operating Officer, BYJU’S further emphasises that the advent of digital learning tools has pushed digital consumption of education at home. Interactivity has taken centre stage and data and analytics are playing a key role in personalisation and customisation of learning. “Importance of formative learning and early conceptual understanding has gained more acceptance. Also, edtech startups are now experimenting with vernacular languages to cater to the huge student population outside metros,” he added.
Yet India has a lot to learn from its global peers. As Shobhit Bhatnagar, cofounder and CEO Gradeup highlights, in China companies like VIPKid, Zouyebang, Yuantiku have taken a big leap in Chinese live tutoring market. With focus on student outcomes, they have successfully been able to scale and innovate their products & processes at a rapid speed, resulting in better engagement and effective results for students.
What are the key drivers of India’s edtech growth?
The educational technology sector in India has been growing rapidly. The increasing demand for tech-enabled learning solutions can be gauged by the fact that there are a total 4,450 edtech startups operating in India currently.
According to Datalabs by Inc42, 186 unique edtech startups have raised $1.73 Bn funding since 2014. Key edtech players holding a majority market share in India’s education system include Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Coursera, Toppr and Flintobox among others.
“Digital innovation is disrupting and redefining India’s education landscape, widening access to quality education and promoting student engagement. With the advent of EdTech platforms, video-based content, and peer-to-peer learning portals, online learning is taking over traditional, classroom-based learning,” added Enguru’s Vakil.
At the same time, there are several government programmes as well which are playing a key role in propping up edtech. This includes Skill India, SWAYAM, Sankalp (Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion), STRIVE, Diksha, National Digital Library, eBasta among others.
Edtech Vision: The Biggest Edtech Trends To Follow In 2020
The industry leaders Inc42 spoke to a shared consensus on one point altogether: the Digital learning tools/aids utilising AI/ ML/ data analytics and offering personalisation and customisation will see greater adoption from teachers, students and parents.
Because of better awareness of the positive impact of digital learning, the coming year will see teachers/educators/ parents/ students increasingly adopt tech-enabled learning tools to support their students’ learning needs. This could be in a classroom or in an after-school learning setup.
Here are a few more trends shared by industry leaders for the upcoming year
“In 2020, learning will go Phygital which will bring in an effective blend of physical and digital learning. Seamless offline-online integration will add a whole new dimension to digital learning and key to delivering impactful learning programs. The environment will be conducive to a homogenous format of learning, which will translate into learners ‘learning’ while they are ‘doing’.” ~ Mrinal Mohit, COO, BYJU’S
“Personalisation is the new trend of 2020 We believe that every student is different and so is his learning needs so our focus going forward would be on providing personalised learning needs.” ~ Anil Nagar, CEO and Cofounder, Adda247
“The demolition of ‘one size fits all’ approach will be the biggest disruption in the edtech industry in 2020. Usage of live interactive video content, emphasis on building E2Q (Emotional & Employability Quotient) along with subject matter knowledge and adoption of blockchain at the backend, will be the other emerging trends in edtech.” ~ Mayank Kumar, Cofounder and Managing Director, upGrad
“In the year 2020, technology will actually manifest itself in student’s everyday learning rather than just being in the newspapers. We will see a stronger implementation of ML and AI in the next 10 years; giving rise to truly adaptive platforms and personalized learning paths. We also expect demand for physical learning spaces for students, where students have more freedom to experiment and learn by doing.” ~ Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Founder, Toppr
“The days ahead will witness an increase in access to online education for both students and professionals alike and more learners from non-metro cities taking to online skilling programs. This points towards the need to keep online education more experiential and engaging as well as design programs as per industry standards.” ~ Krishna Kumar, CEO and Founder, Simplilearn
“Lifelong learning has become an essential part of the job and people now understand that constantly upskilling themselves is what keeps them competitive in the job market. AI, ML and data science will continue to dominate the conversation in the workplace. In addition, employees are increasingly focused on improving their soft skills as they play an important role in their holistic development.” ~ Irwin Anand, MD, Udemy India
“Incorporation of gamification into video-based learning modules will be a trend in 2020. The Global Learner Survey released by Pearson suggests that 74-79% of Indians think that YouTube will become a primary learning tool in the near future. Capitalizing on this trend, EdTech companies are incorporating gamification elements such as points, timers and level-enhancement badges into video lessons to drive student engagement and improve knowledge acquisition.” Arshan Vakil, Founder and CEO, Enguru
“I personally feel we need to abandon the blackboard, or the digital blackboard and tech should help us deeply personalise to create the right learning path, medium, tools even for a classroom of one student,” Manan Khurma, founder and CEO, CueMath