Next Frontier for Indian Edtech: From Online Courses to Digital Transformation

By Vinay Singh

Over the past decade, the Indian EdTech industry has focused on shifting from offline to online courses. However, moving to online education is only the first step in going digital. The true value of e-learning can only be unlocked when there is a digital transformation that benefits all stakeholders.

Currently, more than 4,450 EdTech start-ups are present in India, helping over 300 million students. Of this number, 40 million are those whose studies were interrupted during the pandemic and who are now pursuing higher education. Along the way, EdTech players have helped these students by using technology tools to promote inclusive, personalized, and engaging learning experiences.

The investment boom and the boom

India’s phenomenal growth has made the country the EdTech capital of the world. Here, private players have played a central role in the rise of the EdTech segment, which has attracted strong funding. From $500 million in 2010, India’s EdTech industry is estimated to have received $16.1 billion in venture capital funding, a 32-fold increase. The surge in investment was primarily in the K-12, higher education, and further education segments.

Thanks to the growing appeal of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and distance learning, the country’s EdTech segment is expected to hit $30 billion over the next decade.

Therefore, the time has come for a complete digital transformation in the education segment rather than a piecemeal approach. Digital transformation involves capturing useful data at every stage of a student’s educational journey. Subsequently, relevant insights can be gleaned from this data, helping to re-engineer processes and improve experiences in ways that yield new results not previously possible. Thus, the education industry could create a new business model.

Certainly, EdTech has multiple advantages over legacy learning that could create a new normal, benefit students as well as teachers, improving student metrics and facilitating faster digital transformation. This is imperative as teachers, parents and students have stressed that the one-size-fits-all educational model has no place in the digital age.

Ways to reinvent digital education

As the digital first wave propelled education online, EdTech players must now rethink the design of their products and services. This is the only way to keep pace with the digital transformation curve and achieve better student outcomes.

To achieve this goal, four elements are necessary:

1. Improving quality with scale: New age technology tools such as AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), big data analytics, AR (augmented reality) and VR ( virtual reality) all work better when more students and teachers use them. Through EdTech, one can offer tailored courses and access to content at a pace and level of learning that students find most comfortable. As a result, students receive personalized suggestions based on previous performance and learning patterns. While fast learners may be offered lessons at a faster pace, it may be staggered for those who need more time to understand and absorb the same. If educational products are designed to tap into individual abilities, the quality of learning experiences can be improved as the platform grows.

2. Reduce costs through the effective use of technological tools: EdTech innovations should help reduce the financial burden on parents and students rather than increasing it. By collecting data on the student’s strengths and weaknesses, one can focus on specific aspects to ensure better learning outcomes. Additionally, students who cannot meet the rigid schedules of traditional classes can benefit from the 24×7 availability of digital learning. This is particularly advantageous for children from disadvantaged backgrounds who help their parents during the day when conventional lessons take place. Online education helps fill these gaps with the availability of teachers around the clock. Additionally, unlike physical classrooms that only cater to a certain number, the always-on accessibility of digital classrooms can be used by an increasing number of students. Since smarter use of digital learning platforms leads to better outcomes at lower cost, the cost-benefit can then be passed on to students.

3. Timely and targeted support: As stated earlier, the one-size-fits-all approach is an anomaly today. Thanks to tech tools, it is possible to ensure the hyper-personalization of the learning modules. For example, assessment-based learning can transform student learning outcomes. Using apps can provide tutors with updates on student status reports, monitoring their progress at every stage. These reports identify areas or topics that need improvement, highlighting learning issues at an early stage. Assessment updates help teachers provide students with additional support in areas where gaps exist.

4. Changing business models: Data-driven insights gathered through AI, ML, and big data analytics can help EdTech companies create new products and services supported by more modular pricing, which provides better value for money. For example, instead of boring blackboard learning, EdTech templates using multimedia graphics and interactive elements provide a more engaging educational experience. This is beneficial for young people with a short attention span. The seamless navigation of multimedia tools makes learning more captivating and engaging for students, which leads to better understanding.

As the EdTech industry is poised for the next frontier of digital transformation, it is time to push for greater innovation and ensure that India’s position as a global hub of EdTech learning is undisputed.

The author is the Executive Director, CEO of Thomson Digital. Views are personal.

Also Read:Delegation from Maharashtra Department of Education Visits Government Schools in Punjab

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