As a country that boasts of having more than 550 universities, India has always had a traditional penchant for classroom-held, face-to-face teaching methodology. It has always been believed that education is better imparted in this manner as the teacher is able to teach, interact, guide and monitor at close quarters. The students, too, are required to mandatorily attend classes, which helps inculcate a discipline by which students learn simply by the virtue of being present in a class. However, brick-and-mortar classrooms do confine the accessibility of quality education to a specific location and are also greatly influenced by the quality of locally available faculty.
On the other hand, the growing popularity and easy availability of the internet coupled with a need to be educated at one’s own pace has resulted in the birth of online education. E-learning has many advantages over the traditional face-to-face training methodology. It offers control over quality of the education material, ensures consistency in content delivery, provides flexibility of self-paced learning and removes locational dependency—all this at a much lower cost. The global market for e-learning crossed $35 billion in 2011 and a recent report from Global Information Inc (GII) estimates this market to cross $168 billion by 2018. Leading the pack is the US, which has 6 million students enrolled for at least one online course—almost one-third of the students pursuing higher education in the country. The US and Western Europe are the most mature markets and claim a lion’s share of revenue generated by the e-learning industry.
Increasing adoption of e-learning together with rapid growth in suppliers has resulted in many developing nations eyeing e-learning as a lucrative market. It is projected that in the next three years, Asia will outspend Western Europe to become the second largest buying region. Countries that are recording the highest e-learning growth rates are Vietnam, Malaysia and Romania. Strangely, India, whose online education market is estimated at $20 billion, does not even figure amongst the top 10 nations.
So, while e-learning holds a lot of potential and has witnessed a meteoric rise in popularity amongst developed nations, it has witnessed a