Measuring the Efficacy of E-Learning in India

Measuring the Efficacy of E-Learning in India

  • 12/04/2019
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With technology at the forefront of India’s transforming education landscape – Online education continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

India’s online tutoring market is growing rapidly and is about to touch USD $40 billion by 2030.

With ed-tech companies like Byju’s, Unacademy, Toppr and many others,  e-learning is riding high on the wave of rising smart phone penetration, cheap data costs and growing technological infrastructure in India.

According to a data released by Harvard-MIT, Indian students rank at 2nd position among the countries with students taking up open online courses.

Online learning has reduced the entry barrier to education, but it still hasn’t solved the classic problem of making education interesting, engaging and emotionally satisfying.

 

E-learning market is growing – but at what cost?

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According to a report published by University of Pennsylvania called ‘The Life Cycle of a Million MOOC Users’, an average of about 5% of students who enrol in e-learning programs from Coursera actually completed their course.

Further, not every student who completed their course necessarily passed.

Simply put, online courses have higher failure and attrition rates as compared to traditional classrooms.

Recent studies have revealed that self-learning online courses have low retention rates. This problem is affecting the e-learning industry around the world and India’s situation isn’t much different.

While everyone is focussing on increasing customer acquisition figures and raising more funding rounds, the bigger problem at hand remains unsolved – students are quick to join an e-learning course but are even quicker to leave it unfinished.

Profitable ed-tech companies like Byju’s claim to have around 90% retention rates (for its annual subscriptions) but this percentage isn’t a clear metric of how single-time learners fare when it comes to learning from watching videos and online content.

Does that mean in the race to acquire more students (or customers), ed-tech start-ups are largely ignoring course completion, student engagement and retention?

 

Low Completion and High Drop-out rates a looming threat

Online learning has diluted boundaries and restrictions that plagued traditional classrooms. E-learning platforms are helping countless students get their first foot in the door to a brighter future.

But learners don’t just need course content and technology to sail through the sea of education successfully.

In a 5 year study of more than 50,000 students – researchers found that online classes had higher failure rates than traditional classrooms. The main problem is the drop out ratio which is more in Tier 1 cities as compared to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India.

According to a study by Edureka, around 50% of e-learners drop out soon after starting on their own.

Most working professionals prefer hands on guidance and a high level of interactivity while learning a new skill or upgrading an existing one.

So, what are the reasons why online classrooms are not compelling enough for students to complete their courses and retain themselves for longer duration?

Turns out, there are few caveats of online learning that need to be tackled to ensure technology based learning can easily support India’s growing need for education and skill development.

These are:

  1. Easy Distractions
  2. Limited Communication/Interaction between students and teachers
  3. Less Personal Responsibility
  4. Less Positive Reinforcement/Motivation

 

The Way Ahead

Technology is a great enabler and leveller but it isn’t the only cog in the wheel.

The short-term convenience of learning online can become a long-term threat to the future of education and skill development. The inability of students to motivate themselves comes at a cost and it will be borne ultimately, by our education ecosystem in future.

Thus, it is crucial for e-learning platforms to understand that students need constant interaction, support and engagement to complete what they start.

 Motivation and communication are basic human needs that can be better utilized by ed-tech platforms to increase retention and completion rates in e-learning.

In future, the success of every ed-tech company or platform will be directly impacted by how well it can retain and re-train learners at different stages and levels.

 

We at MillionCenters aim to solve this problem – our approach is to facilitate online discovery of verified teachers, tutors and learning centers and encouraging students to learn in a physical, real-world environment.

Whether it is a peer-to-peer or teacher-student relationship, learning in a physical classroom has been proven to increase motivation, supplement confidence and encourage personal responsibility.

As a community driven platform, MillionCenters facilitates and encourages a community based learning approach because when people learn in a community, they are more motivated and retain information for longer.

Be it for classroom subjects, professional skills or vocational courses, we are encouraging users to learn in a physical environment for better retention, quick feedback and higher interactivity.

 

In Conclusion

The future of learning is online – and rightly so as it gives millions of people equal opportunities to be educated and skilled.

Ed-tech platforms and companies are mostly focusing on customer acquisition and monetization, thereby ignoring a critical problem of low retention and increasing drop-out ratio.

Today’s e-learning platforms need to facilitate engagement, interactivity and feedback to encourage students. A hybrid model can help mitigate the issues of poor retention and high drop -out rates plaguing the e-learning environment of India.

If the convenience and accessibility of online learning can be matched with the expertise and efficacy of offline education – we can have the most optimized solution to empower India’s future in education. 


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