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Edutech sets out to change rules of Indian internet ecosystem The Indian internet space witnessed the rise of digital e-learning where niche courses flourished.

By Aditya Malik

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Till a few years back, if someone were to say that they were pursuing their education online, it would have attracted quite a few eye rolls at a family gathering. After all, learning and knowledge instinctively meant books and classrooms.

But as technology made an entry into our everyday lives, things started to look up and change drastically. The rapid adoption of smartphones and internet penetration brought about a revolution. People were suddenly exposed to a whole new world of information that was waiting to be explored with just a quick swipe of the phone or a click on the keyboard.

The traditional brick and mortar set-up lost steam with the edutech wave making it possible for education to be accessed from anywhere, by anyone and at any time.

The year 2015 was specifically quite eventful for the edutech sector. The Indian internet space witnessed the rise of digital e-learning where niche courses flourished. Edutech providers took up the challenge of developing course content for offbeat courses in fashion, e-commerce, entrepreneurship and the like.

No longer is the digital platform only conducive for those pursuing courses in business, finance and HR – the equal opportunity aspect is making way for a lot of specialised courses as well.

A significant development has also been in the skill measurement and assessment domain. Competency-based learning has caught up with assessments being slowly customised to identify individual core areas and develop tools that are tailor-made for individuals rather than a group.

This, in turn, has meant an enhanced return on investment for commercial establishments. After laptops and tablets, the next step is mobile learning. The market witnessed a CAGR of 36.3 percent and is fast going the app-way by making education available at a learner's fingertip.

Even the tools to facilitate anytime-anywhere learning are evolving to address the needs of the e-learner. While live video streaming, access to archived content, tutorial videos, forums, online lectures and the like are already in place, gamified content is touted to be the next big thing.

This new problem-solving tool reached a high point in 2015 and is all set to enhance the learner's experience by customising it to the "t". The idea behind applying game mechanics and game design techniques is a huge hit with the generation of millennials who have grown up around technology.

Simultaneously, special attention is being given to make the content more interactive by embedding videos and graphics. This personalisation has greatly influenced the growth of e-learning platforms. The trend is expected to continue in 2016 as well.

Another arena that's positively affected by edutech is the online corporate learning market. There has been a substantial jump in the number of professionals experimenting with online corporate training to boost productivity. This segment is expected to grow every year by 13 percent in 2016 and 2017.

The year 2016 is likely to lean in favour of interactive e-learning that will pave the way for growth for the digital learning market. While the year 2015 was all about MOOCs, these will reach a plateau with people choosing an online experience that's an improvement over the staid classroom environment.

The product offerings will go more niche with the year 2016 venturing into personalised and customised e-learning courses like sports management, event management and others. The hybrid model of learning that successfully integrates classroom teaching techniques like workshops, seminars etc. will also gain momentum.

This growth story for edutech has been spurred by various advantages of scalability, flexibility and affordability where e-learning scores above the brick and mortar setup. Thanks to the rising number of users, the e-learning sector is expected to touch the US $40 billion mark by 2017.

This gives an indication of where the market for edutech is heading, and by the looks of it, it certainly seems to be poised for growth in the coming future, imprinting a significant disruption in the current internet ecosystem in India.

Aditya Malik

CEO and MD, Talentedge India

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