A notable trend in the Indian education industry, particularly in the segment of test preparations, is the increasing shift towards the use of the online platform. With several competitive exams such as CAT and IIT-JEE moving to the online platform, the market for online content, e-books and interactive study material in schools has burgeoned as well. Furthermore, students are becoming increasingly adept in technology due to the growing penetration of smartphones and the internet in our everyday lives.
It has been rightly said by John Dewey- "...if we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow."
In the next five years, even if online learning does not completely replace the traditional classroom, it will still compliment it with better reach, analysis, and personalization. In turn, this will also increase the competitiveness of examinations, especially for aspirants from small towns who were earlier deprived of best resources. According to a forecast by Markets and Markets, the Learning Management Systems market will grow from $2.55 billion in 2013 to $7.83 billion in 2018, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.2 percent during the period 2017 to 2018. Furthermore, since Indian students are more used to self-study, a learning platform in India has to integrate well with the traditional classroom rather than just being an alternative.
Here are some benefits that online presence can entail to a classroom:
Convenience: Online classes and content can be accessed anytime as per one's convenience as opposed to attending classes physically at a predetermined time. Additionally, with the help of e-learning or online training, participants learn nearly 5 times more material within a shorter span of training time.
Flexibility: Online classes and content allow students to revisit content at any given time as opposed to concepts being explained just once by a teacher or professor in a physical setting.
Affordability: Online classes and content are relatively cheaper than traditional brick-and-mortar classes; moreover, online content and training are accessible to students from smaller towns who do not have access to physical classrooms or who cannot afford to move to bigger cities to attend coaching classes.
Machine Learning models are employed to deliver useful analytics not just at the topic level but down to the level of questions. The analytical charts are drawn on parameters such as accuracy, marks distribution, Rank, and Percentile. Other than that, a portfolio for each student is maintained which highlights the number of attempts, total time spent on the test, accuracy breakdown, and marks breakdown. Mobile support for running tests has been a significant boost. While the online platform faces constraints in the form of language, infrastructure, and lack of personal touch, it is expected to play a more complementary role in the future for the test preparation industry.
As per Technavio's market research, the global online learning market is expected to grow at an impressive CAGR of around 18 percent by 2020. Online test preparation market is at a point of inflexion, poised to boom over the next 2-3 years. It can be broadly divided into test preparation, tutoring and online courses. E-learning in India is the next big thing and is anticipated to reach $1.28 Bn by 2017-18
The major populations to dominate the online test preparation market are aspirants who are under the age group 19-25 and greater than 25. Also, as compared to a lot of western (developed) markets where online is an intrinsic part of preparing for any exam, India is witnessing Ed-tech for the very first time in its full glory.
While one would find a lot of Massively Online Open Courses (MOOC) thriving globally, the focus in India and a lot of similar emerging markets is still very much on learning outcomes or improving marks. Earlier, each state used to conduct their exams for entrance but with the exams going national, online test prep players can formulate courses for a whole nation's audience instead of local focus. Centralized product development with high-quality materials benchmarked with the latest requirements will help compete in the big market.
Online training or e-Learning is an investment. Implementing an effective e-Learning programme can generate greater business performance and learning outcomes for your organization. The question today is not whether eLearning will benefit your business or learning, but the real issue is whether you can afford to not join the trend. E-learning is more than just a fad, providing a structure that delivers learning content in a way that that fits with the methodologies of how people can learn. These tests are short, focused, regular challenges that are flexible and can reward us.
Ketan is the co-founder and CEO of Mettl. Under his leadership, Mettl is today India's largest corporate assessment company with a vision to become the largest in the world. An IIT-IIM alumnus, he was recently awarded the Economic Times "40 under 40" in 2017. He stays with his wife and two young boys in Gurgaon, India.