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E-learning: A cheaper, easier and better option

Aug 13, 2018 18:24 IST
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E-learning: A cheaper, easier and better option
E-learning: A cheaper, easier and better option

As the world stepped into the digital age, it revolutionised every industry it touched. Engineers have programs and machines with better computing power, doctors use technology and automation to make surgeries more accurate and safe. Lawyers can now research their cases at the click of a button. From booking flight tickets and cabs to ordering groceries, to instant bank transactions computers and the internet changed the world.

Amongst all of these changes, I feel the most impactful change is how technology gave access to information much easier than before. It democratised the world of knowledge. This led to many more inventions and collaborations by people sitting in different parts of the world. It made the world a smaller, yet better-informed place. Along these lines, comes the education revolution. The digitisation of news channels and research papers helped young minds. Enterprises started using e-learning to train their employees. Schools started offering the same or different courses online for a fraction of the cost of traditional classroom education. This is when e-learning came to India. In a developing country headed towards digitisation, e-learning is now helping thousands of children overcome the challenges that they face on an everyday basis. What are these challenges and how can e-learning possibly help? Let's find out!

E-learning is cheaper

E-learning is definitely cheaper than traditional methods of learning. Moreover, it is cheaper for both the students, in ways apart from tuition fees, and it is cheaper for the educational institutes.

In a country like India, quality education is clustered around metro cities, and for competitive exam preparation, students often migrate to special centres. This means children from tier 2 and 3 cities and rural areas have to travel to other cities for better education. They flock towards coaching classes located in these areas to simply crack competitive exams and end up paying large amounts of money on course fee, rent, food, and other necessities. E-learning is a much cheaper and viable option for them since it allows students to learn from the comfort of their homes.

When it comes to education providers, their costs decrease as well. They do not incur costs for maintaining large classrooms. They only need to create content once, and not spend time, money, and energy in duplicating efforts while giving lectures to multiple student batches. Their need for support staff also decreases. They may need initial higher investment to build content and technology platforms but they make huge savings on the operational cost over a longer period.  As a result cost of education for students comes down which makes it affordable and accessible to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

E-learning is easier

Studies have shown that students, who use e-learning to study, retain more information than when they are in a classroom set up. This is because e-learning uses animation, storytelling, game-based learning, role play, and social learning to keep students engaged for a longer amount of time. Our visual memories are very strong - so students retain better when an animation is used to help them visualise the content. This speed up their learning process since they don’t have to spend time re-learning what they have already studied. Moreover, since they do not spend time travelling to places, they can dedicate it to studying for longer hours, or spend the additional time in extracurricular activities which are also important. They can maintain a much more balanced life.

E-learning is better

When it comes to e-learning vs traditional learning, e-learning definitely has a lot of pros. This new age method of learning has many advantages like:

E-learning is personalised: When a student sits in a classroom, he/she is just one in almost a hundred. Teachers in classrooms generally use a one size fits all approach while delivering lectures. They pick a pace that is an average fit for the entire classroom. Every child learns in a different way and at a different pace. So, in a classroom, some students will find the teacher’s pace slow and will lose interest. Some students who might need additional time to grasp concepts will play catch-up with the teacher’s pace. With e-learning, it is possible to tailor it to the needs of every student. Students can decide the pace of their learning. If they don’t understand a concept, the can replay the video or module for better understanding.

E-learning uses adaptive learning: As I said earlier, every student learns differently. This is why the strengths and weaknesses of every student are different. Instead of a classroom set up in which a student follows a pre-set pattern of chapters and subjects, e-learning can change this pattern to suit the student’s strengths and weaknesses. This is called adaptive learning. E-learning companies like Toppr use adaptive learning to help students learn faster and better. They analyse a student’s behaviour on the app by observing the types of videos watched, areas in tests where the student could have done better, etc. Next, the app suggests videos or tests that the student could take to get better in a subject or chapter.

E-learning is used to solve doubts instantly: E-learning apps use technology and app to connect students to an expert teacher instantly 24*7. Some questions and doubts can be solved by using Artificial Intelligence in e-learning also referred to as chatbots. Instead of waiting for the teacher’s lecture to ask a doubt, a student can simply click a picture of the doubt and upload it to the chat app. Using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data, the bot finds a similar question from its vast database and suggests the solution to the student. If the bot can't find a similar question, it connects the student to a human expert. This expert then solves the doubt real-time and ensures that the student understands the concept. Most doubts are solved within 2-3 minutes.

It is common knowledge that across the globe, education will see a huge change when it is integrated with technology. However, for India, technology will democratise education, and make quality knowledge available to every student with a cell phone and an internet connection. Everyone who wants to learn faster, better, and at a much lesser cost, must give e-learning a shot!

About the Expert:

Manish Kumar graduated from IIT Bombay in 2006 with a degree in Metallurgical and Materials Science. He then pursued masters in Materials Science Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. Post his graduation, he joined Indian School Finance Company, where he was part of the core team responsible for business strategies and growth. In 2013, he co-founded SEED Schools, a venture focused on improving quality of low-cost K-12 education in India with a vision to make quality education accessible. He is currently Vice President of Product - Learning & Pedagogy at Toppr.com.

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