In the contemporary world, online education is seen as an essential mode of learning that permits the holistic development of students. EdTechs are organisations dedicated to developing educational technology. To bring forth quality education these companies combine computer-based training, online learning, mobile learning and much more. The courses they offer for students and young professionals integrate technology with education in a way that produces positive and constructive outcomes.
EdTechs also facilitate interaction between diverse cohorts from across the world. The Telegraph Online Edugraph recently got into a conversation with Dr Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer at Coursera, to throw some light on EdTech's insights into online education in the country. Having served as the chancellor of Purdue University and the President, Provost and Dean of Kaplan University, Dr Vandenbosch has over 25 years of experience working in Higher Education.
When asked about the EdTech trends in India, Dr Vandenbosch highlighted “I believe Indians today are learning from many important companies and universities across the globe. As far as Coursera is considered we have recently initiated the process of bringing Indian universities to our platform and particularly when in near future more universities and their programmes come online they will become the most exciting programmes in our country. In our platform we offer courses from IIT Roorkee, BITS Pilani, ISI and many other such institutions. I believe the most important thing to think about is the value of such courses and how can online education improve education as a whole and with this there are two things that come into my mind. Firstly, the opportunity to collaborate to create the best possible education and also to enable people having an interest to learn, even when they could not attend school due to some reason or other.”
After the pandemic hit the world, the entire world witnessed a boom in online education startups, which even revolutionised the education sector. While schools, colleges and coaching institutes remained shut for months, these EdTech startups ensured that education remained unimpeded.
While this has been a boon for students, Dr Vandenbosch threw light among a particular group who she thought had benefited from this renaissance in learning. “With online education coming more into practice now, I also learnt that women are participating more into such programmes when weighed against the prior times. We’ve done some work on the same and have found that women are now taking full advantage of online education. With this we are enabling more diversity in the education sector. I feel online education is also giving them the opportunity of not being the only woman in the class as in online classrooms everyone is equal and the value of that is incredible.”
Online education has also increased the demand for educators. The emergence of many learning platforms that grow and expand every day requires a large number of highly qualified teachers. Hence, it can be outlined that online education majorly solves two problems in the Indian education system. Firstly it educates a large number of students in the country and secondly, it also provides better employment opportunities for both teachers and learners.
“In the near future we are bound to see some very exciting developments in the ed-tech fields in India as we are now putting introductory professional certificates, which will be specifically aided by companies to make more and more people job ready. I think this is one of the biggest trends ever witnessed in the field” added Dr Vandenbosch, when asked about the emerging trends in EdTech in India.
Many reputable foreign universities are now also partnering with Indian colleges and universities to offer a range of online courses to save students from the cumbersome process of moving to another country and paying a hefty education fee.
Throwing light on her company’s insights on the ratio of students to professionals, she added, “Our average learner is 27 to 28 years old in India, majority are also first time university students. Apart from that, about 15% of our learners are people who are just working on their careers, about 39% are switchers, 29% learners are people who want to advance in their careers and then there are people who just love learning and are learning for the sake of learning. Speaking in detail about my company, the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute (ISI PGDAS) has seen great traction from learners in India as well as across the globe. While this is the second most popular post graduate program among Indian learners as of September 2022, roughly 40% of the learners reside outside India. These include countries like the US, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany. In fact, it is about 35+ degrees from universities in 10 countries that has doubled our degree portfolio in India over the last year.”
With the help of educational technology and investments in the field, online education can reach every corner of the country. With geographic barriers removed, aspiring students and learners living in the most remote areas can now access quality education. And as Dr. Vandenbosch says, “There is nothing more practical than a good undergraduate education and it is the background of a good theory and practical education which prepares the student for a good career ahead.”