It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Imposed demands due to unexpected events have always bolstered mankind to come up with innovations and facilitated extensive experimentation around new ideas, leading to tectonic shifts in industry and society. For instance, when faced with the catastrophe that is Covid-19, scientists and researchers around the globe put in relentless efforts to develop multiple, highly effective, and safe vaccines against the Novel Coronavirus, in just about a year, a process which usually takes no less than a decade. Today, we are also going through equally extensive experimentation with the idea of online teaching. With schools and university campuses being shut down, locking millions of students and teachers across the nation out of the classroom, the pandemic necessitated the pursuance of alternative modes of education. Online teaching came through as a godsend for teachers and students and facilitated the seamless functioning of teaching activities even in the lockdown. There are strong indications that that many aspects of our lives are going to be permanently transformed because of the pandemic. The field of education is one of them as online education has been a great success and has a high acceptance rate. In this article, we shall try to project the future of online education in years to come.
To begin with, e-learning is the medium of choice for the digital native learners of today. Children today interact with technology from a young age in virtually every aspect of their lives; be it their mode of entertainment, playing games, communicating with friends even buying books and stationery, everything is managed via their smartphones themselves. It is only natural for them to have a preference for studying with their smartphones as well. Moreover, online classes also provide benefits to teachers the flexibility of teaching and learning from the comfort of your home, automated attendance, and likewise. On online platforms, students can learn from the educator of their choice. Not only this, but digital also education helps in the inculcation of 21st-century skills in the students and provides updated content as opposed to traditional offline classrooms. In recent years, the world has recognized that mere talks about sustainable development are not enough and various governments and organizations around the globe have really stepped up their efforts to minimize their carbon footprint. Online teaching is more adapted to the much-needed eco-friendly world, by almost eliminating the need for paper and other stationery like pencils, pens, and likewise which are responsible for deforestation and non-biodegradable plastic waste.
The Indian government in its New Economic Policy (NEP 2020) has also identified empowerment of teachers and development of digital infrastructure for the education in the country as vital ways to raise the quality of education going ahead. NEP also aims at promoting greater student participation in online courses even at the degree college level, which is a clear indication that the government envisages online education as the preferred mode of education in the coming years. It is being contemplated to conduct various entrance exams like Jee Main, NEET, CTET, PTET, and many more via online mode.
Apart from the aforementioned, the future projections of the Indian ed-tech industry also provide valuable insight into the future of online education in India. The Indian Ed-tech industry is set to grow about 4 times in the upcoming 5 years from being a USD 3 Billion industry in 2020 to cross the threshold of USD 10 Billion by the year 2025. Furthermore, e-learning solutions for K12 education will increase by a factor of 6.3 times by the year 2022 to become a USD 1.7 billion industry, according to the Redseer’s Ed-tech Report. The post-K12 market is expected to expand by more than 3 times to become a USD 1.8 billion industry in the same time interval. According to a 2017 report by Omidyar Network, India will have half a billion new internet users also termed as the Next Half Billion (NHB). These users will primarily comprise mobile-first internet users. The future of online education seems bright against the backdrop of these statistics.
Therefore, it is certain that online teaching is going to play a crucial role and might evolve as a preferred medium of choice for imparting education.