1. How education-technology is filling industry’s learning gap

How education-technology is filling industry’s learning gap

How ed-tech is filling industry’s learning gaps

Published: August 1, 2016 6:01 AM
Digital education has relieved the Indian youth of that age-old dilemma—whether to continue studying or quit studies to focus on landing a job. (Reuters) Digital education has relieved the Indian youth of that age-old dilemma—whether to continue studying or quit studies to focus on landing a job. (Reuters)

Of the tens of thousands of management graduates annually churned out by the 5,500-odd business-schools in India, only 7% are actually employable, according to an Assocham study. One of the major drawbacks of professional education is the huge gap between what is being taught and what is relevant for the industry. Industry analysts state that many companies need to run in-house training sessions, almost always, for Indian management graduates to equip them with the necessary skill-sets that hold value in the real world.

According to an EY report, 50-70 million jobs will be created in India over the next five years, and 75-90% of these additional employment avenues will require some kind of vocational training. The current situation does not present a pretty picture, as only 10% of the workforce in the country receives skill training that is at par with workplace expectations. So, what are the reasons behind this large gap?

Population—as it is for many other problems of our country—is a major reason behind the plight of our education system. Population puts tremendous pressure on the education infrastructure. Even as there is a severe lack of fundamental services in the education sphere, the rampant flourishing of private players in urban education dynamics has resulted in huge disparities in the quality of education provided.

Along with education quality, the gap also widens due to the skills gap among working professionals. The Indian market is dynamic, which makes it crucial for professionals to regularly upskill themselves according to new developments. India has a huge chunk of working professionals who have good jobs, but are not skilled enough for the changing environment.

Ed-tech: At a digital epoch

The advent of digital education is a shot in the arm for making affordable and relevant knowledge available to the masses. ICT mechanisms have reduced the burden on existing infrastructure to incorporate new students and working professionals within its physical boundaries. We are also witnessing a rise in the number of collaborations and partnerships between Indian and international academic institutions, on the back of ICT.

Further, digital education has relieved the Indian youth of that age-old dilemma—whether to continue studying or quit studies to focus on landing a job. With Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and live and interactive digital learning formats being popularised, including by the HRD ministry, professionals now have ample opportunities to pursue a course of their choice via the internet while earning a living. An increasing number of working professionals are enrolling themselves for online courses in order to fill the skills gap in their profiles.

Management courses are ahead in terms of collaborative ventures between global leaders and Indian ed-tech companies. Certificate courses in areas such as strategic asset management, financial management, digital marketing, international corporate relations, etc, are popular as they are pertinent, have a specific course and syllabus structure, generate high-paying jobs, and can be successfully completed in a short time frame.

Considering the recent developments in the Indian education system, a number of players have introduced unique innovations in the digital domain to provide services that plug the gaps in India’s learning ecosystem. Some of these innovations are:

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, among other things, ensures that individual attention is provided to each learner and the process of education is seamless. The recent NPR report suggests that the number of teachers has been continuously falling during the last decade. In such a scenario, the presence of artificial intelligence mechanisms that do not suffer from human factors such as fatigue and can provide quality as well as standardised education will benefit all levels of education.

Gamification

Interactive and educative games have become a known phenomenon these days. Various researches have established the fact that lessons learnt in an interactive and enjoyable environment have a far-reaching impact on children as well as young adults.

Virtual reality

Studying the map of Europe? How would it be to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the classroom? Such practical demonstrations have become possible through the presence of virtual reality devices.

Interactive digital learning

Smartboards, digital classes, language labs have empowered the students of today and have ushered in a paradigm shift in the way education of the future would shape up.
Machine learning

An offshoot industry fast shaping up is the educative equipment industry. It ranges from toys to interactive notebooks which help develop skills, manage time, gather information and present lessons in a systematic manner.

The author is Aditya Malik, CEO & MD, Talentedge

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