ONLINE EDUCATION: THE WAY FORWARD
The fact that a student gets to choose ‘what, when, why and how’ of content is empowering
By: Dr.Tasaduk Hussain Itoo
Online education has seen significant growth recently. It is one of the most important aspects in today’s education domain. Online education has taken away the limitations of sitting in a classroom for learning. It takes away the hindrances such as transportation, location, accessibility and cost.
Online education has revolutionised the way we look at education. India ranks second only behind the United States in terms of online enrollments, comprising of over 15 percent of students worldwide. These students get access to some of the best courses around the world and get skilled in various domains. Many universities now offer distant online education bringing the best instructors and professors into the homes of students.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE EDUCATION
Online education comes with a number of benefits, which why it is attracting a number of students towards it.
ACCESSIBILITY : One of the best things about the online education structure is that a student is not limited to a geographical location to attend a course. The fact that a student can pick a course from any country and, successfully, complete it in the comfort of their home makes these courses very popular.
You can pick the program of your dreams in traditional education, too, but that would involve traveling away from home, living in a completely unknown city, and struggling in an extremely competitive learning environment.
COST EFFECTIVENESS : Since these courses do not require students to physically attend the class, it is a cheaper alternative that enables people to learn at lower costs. While some people believe that online education is not as effective as traditional education systems, the truth is that these courses are just as affective and enable students to understand and learn the course in the right manner.
QUALITY : Getting educated from the best teachers without a limitation of space, time or money, gives it an undeniable edge over the traditional system of education. Forums like Unacademy, Khan Academy, Byju’s, iTutor etc are gaining huge popularity. One thing is for sure. The future belongs to e-learning.
AUTHENTICITY : A number of people believe that an online degree does not hold as much value as a traditional degree, however this is not true. The degree holds just as much value and how you perform on the online course helps to shape your career.
FLEXIBILITY : The fact that a student gets to choose what, when, how much to study empowers him beyond measure. The variety of courses available on these platforms offers a huge canvas to the learner’s community. Online education does not come with any restrictions and students from varied backgrounds can opt for these courses. Forget about attending classes for hours, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, and suffering from back pain by the end of the day. You will not be bound to physical class session when you opt for online education. All lectures and needed materials are provided via online platforms, so you’ll easily access them from the comfort of your home. You will not take public transport to get to campus, you won’t have to spend money on gas for your car, you won’t have to get up early to get dressed for class, the list of conveniences goes on and on.
AFFORDABILITY : The fact that online programs are cheaper when compared to the ones held in a traditional campus setting is enough to convince you to consider them. any online courses are completely free of charge. Unacademy , India's largest online learning platform, for example, offers all course materials online without any charges. Free courses don’t usually come with certificate of completion, but they are still more than useful for anyone who wants to learn from prestigious educators.
HUGE SCOPE : Owing to the steady economic growth and globalisation, education in India is no longer just a teacher talking to a bunch of students in a classroom. With more than 370 million internet users and hundreds of local as well as global business tycoons willing to invest in the future of education, online education in India has picked up pace. In fact, the e-learning market in the country is estimated to be worth more than $3 billion.
LEARNING THE "UNACADEMY" WAY
Unacademy, India's largest online education platform -has come up with a best EDTECH START UP in the current times that is going to change the entire education scenario in the world. The platform has as many as 14,000 educators all over the world that are creating best online content for learners. The platform serves as a good platform in empowering the educators both academically and professionally. The impact is huge for educators who can impact millions of students around the globe. The platform focusses on preparations of all prestigious examinations conducted at national or state level like UPSC CSE, SSC CGL, BANK EXAMS, IIT JEE, NEET etc. At present, the platform has 3,00,000 lessons with more than 3 million users. It provides as a comfortable and easiest education platform for learners who can download "Unacademy Learning App" from their Google Play Store or visit Unacademy website in Google ,follow educators of their concern there and learn from them.
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT IN ONLINE EDUCATION
A few years back information and communication technologies like virtual classrooms and online tutorials were introduced into the education system as a means to make quality education affordable and accessible to all. The government launched various projects such as National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) and National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) on this front.
In such a scenario, massive open online courses (MOOCs) are seen as a tool that can address the challenges of learners in developing countries like India. According to experts in the education sector, MOOC has emerged as a significant tool to combat employability skills challenge by providing free access to customised courses from best of the teachers and universities across the globe. Moreover, many universities are now designing customised lectures and curriculum for MOOC platforms, which are freely available online. Riding on this wave, Oxford University too has launched a course on MOOC platform.
Easy accessibility to the high-speed internet on mobile phones and an increase in demand for skilled workforce have acted as the prime factors. Coursera and edX are among the top global MOOC providers. edX offers more than 1,330 courses from over 110 global institutions, whereas Coursera has partnership with 146 of the world’s universities and offers over 1,700 courses and more than 160 specialisations. From over 10 million global learners at edX, 1 million are from India. Coursera, on the other hand, has more than 23 million global learners, of which 1.8 million are from India, overtaking China to become the second-largest market for the company. India has always been a priority market for edX. Along with offerings from tier 1 global institutes, edX also has strong partnerships with Indian Institutions like IIT Bombay, IIM Bangalore, and BITS Pilani, and blended learning partners like NIIT and Pearson to impart job-ready skills to learners.
CAN MOOC's REPLACE CLASSROOM LEARNING IN FUTURE?
MOOCs will not replace universities, but rather enhance the quality of education by incorporating blended learning. In future, education will be either blended or fully online. Pure face-to-face education will exist only in history books. In blended classrooms, the on-campus university course can leverage the power of MOOCs to free up classroom time for interactive collaboration and discussion, testing and problem-solving. This model creates better efficiencies in the classroom and can foster a better quality of education overall for the money.
In conclusion, it can be undeniably said that the future belongs to online education. Online courses and degree programs are more convenient and cheaper than their counterparts in traditional education. Those are the two main advantages of online learning that lead many students to opt for online platforms when they want to earn a degree or certificate.
The best thing about online learning is that you can learn in a relaxed manner even if you don’t want to get certified. You only need passion for learning and a quick online search that will take you to the right course. From that point on, you will be the master of your own education.
- The writer is a Medical Doctor / Activist /Educator at Unacademy, India's largest online education platform. Email address : firstname.lastname@example.org