There are close to 10 million graduates to be precise. This is a staggering number. These are students who have invested 4 years of their lives in pursuing college and university degrees with the hope of landing successful jobs. But the truth is, not all have a clear-cut path to acquiring successful jobs. This does not mean that there aren't enough jobs out there. The problem is lack of skills. There is a huge gap between what graduates know and what the industry wants; in other words, there is no hands-on skill even in the most coveted degree education. They do not have the necessary experience that the industry wants. And one must remember that we are living in an age where technology changes rapidly. Skills that are in vogue today might become redundant tomorrow. Programming skills that were covered in the past decade have now become obsolete.
"Online education offers different modes of learning to the students and moreover, there are a number of courses that helps keep one updated to industry needs and wants"
So, what's the solution?
Learning, upskilling, adapting are the solutions according to me. Students must understand the pulse of the market and get skills that sell today. And this is a continuous journey. While this may seem daunting to students, let me assure them that there has never been an easier time than now to learn new skills. There are plenty of resources available and chief among them is e-learning. Online courses allow the individual to gain skills that can differentiate them from the rest of the crowd and show their willingness to grow in terms of learning. One can gain real-life experience, management skills and make an impressive resume to wow future employers.
However, while e-learning has caught on in the rest of the world, in India, it is still at a nascent stage. People have not fully embraced the idea of distance learning/e-learning. This may be due to reservations about breaking away from the traditional route of learning or lack of information. Moreover, just like it is difficult to regulate the number of educational institutions that are coming up all over the place, there may be a number of unregulated e-learning organizations who may not have the necessary accreditations in place or staff that are appropriately trained to impart knowledge. Then there is also the subject of money spent on education. In the U.S., on an average, a person may spend up to $5000 to learn a new skill. Spending in India on upskilling and re-skilling, on the other hand, is still only around 20 percent of what it is in America.
The Quality Issue
Well, no one can deny the fact that Indian colleges such as the IITs and IIMs are the best in the world, but we also cannot ignore the fact that there are several educational institutions mushrooming all over the country that are neither recognized nor give students the skills that will get them relevant jobs. Mediocrity is visible everywhere and the education system needs a major overhaul. The curriculum itself is outdated and there is no significant relevance to what the industry wants today. There is a huge lack of quality education institutions that can help upskill these students. Online education offers different modes of learning to the students and moreover, there are a number of courses that helps keep one updated to industry needs and wants. The Cloud is the technology that is most in-demand today. So, yes, the journey for e-learning organizations in India seems bright.
The Underlying Opportunities
In online learning, there are tons of scopes. Firstly, you are not bound by time or place. You can choose where you want to study and when to study. Secondly, you are spoilt for choice. For example, you might be an Arts major interested in learning about Android. Just enroll for an online course and become a master at android application design. You might be an IT professional who wants to upskill or even reinforce on agile technology. So you see, the e-learning industry is a vast ocean and offers benefits that are incomparable. It is cost effective and saves time. Its USP is the self-paced learning that helps beat all other modes of learning. So, if you ask me to rate it against a regular course I would give it a 10 on 10. The future of e-learning will all be centered around micro learning, gamification, and customized learning. Using more multimedia approaches, and gaming technologies, learning will be designed to suit the daily learning requirements of the learner. E-learning will progress in automated learning where learning will be moderated to suit the cognitive needs of the learner. It may sound like a sci-fi movie, but trust me, that's where we are heading.
Impact of E-Learning
E-learning need not be a threat to teachers or the regular mode of teaching and training. In fact, e-learning tools can be used by teachers as an alternative to traditional training methods to successfully impart knowledge to students. Many schools have made it mandatory to use e-learning devices as part of their educational setting. It especially helps in tech-related topics where hands-on skills are more relevant. The visual and interactive components of e-learning help engage the learner; improve retention not to mention help to develop an interest in the subject being taught. To sum up I can say, e-learning is a disruptive technology and could be potentially threatening to those who do not embrace it.
Completed his MBA in Marketing and HR from Holymary Institute of Technology and Science, Subramanyam Reddy currently holds the chair of Co-founder and Managing Director at KnowledgeHut based in Bengaluru. Before founding KnowledgeHut, he worked with the several UK and Asian companies on business analysis, strategy formulation, knowledge sharing, and product promotions.