– Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head of TCS iON, a Tata Consultancy Services unit focused on education, Assessment Boards and SMBs
The Indian education sector is witnessing a continuous transformation brought about by technology and these variations are influencing its key stakeholders in multifarious ways. From helping students to learn more and better anytime anywhere, empowering teachers to develop innovative instructional aids and methods, to driving educational institutes to cross the digital divide – technology is underpinning the edutech revolution in India.
Let us see how this transformation is affecting key communities:
For students: A new world of learning
- Web-based content consumption to get a boost: Laptop-based or mobile-based models will be the preferred gadget solutions for leveraging content even as the number of students using tablets will witness a downturn. Mobile, with the multiple advantages it offers, and desktops/laptops, with the ease of consumption it guarantees, will continue to rule the roost. The trend will gain further momentum in 2018.
- Engaging content: With the change in content itself, India is set to see a trend of a mobile-ready, gamified, interactive and engaged content. This kind of content consumption will change the way students learn. Adaptive learning will gain traction as it will personalize learning material based on their learning speed, interest and problem areas.
- English content still ruling the industry: English will not only be the preferred medium of coaching but we will also witness an upswing in the quantum and quality of content being offered in English. While the demand for content in vernacular languages will register an upswing, the offerings will remain negligible compared to English. To bridge the demand-availability gap, trainers / teachers will be forced to use English content but instruct in local languages.
- Social learning: Learning with and from others either online or offline – will become a dominant trend in the coming years. 24×7 learning resources which go beyond classroom environment and enable students to learn anywhere, anytime will be mainstream.
- User validated content to become mainstream: With content options set to increase exponentially, students and other users are likely to begin relying on user-validated content to find correct and meaningful information. Higher the validation, proportionate will be the relevance and accuracy of content for users searching for it. This year will also witness more R&D on applications that help users to navigate through the data overload; however, the trend will take another 3-4 years to become mainstream.
- Impressive resumes: India is all set to become the world’s youngest country by 2020 with 64 per cent of its population in the working age group. With an increasing number of graduates entering the market every day and limited job opportunities, only those with value-added resumes will pass muster with businesses and employers. Resumes that boast of additional certifications, proficiency in international languages and other allied qualifications will have an edge over plain-vanilla ones.
For teachers: Digital natives to lead
- Technology the need of the hour: Digital native teachers proficient with digital technologies and systems will be the mascots for the new-age teacher-facilitator. Digital immigrants will be forced to change and embrace technology to remain relevant.
- Teachers to become facilitators: From teacher as the ‘sage on the stage’, their role will evolve into that of a ‘guide on the side’. Teachers will increasingly become facilitators who will help students to learn rather than tutor them as is the norm currently. While the trend is picking up, it will take some time to become ubiquitous.
- Improving and developing curriculum with the use of technology: The teacher as an educational visionary will embrace technology to research and create lessons that complement / supplement the curriculum. However, this trend will take time to become mainstream phenomenon.
For administrators: Embracing a new digital era
- Existing content to be digitized: Indian universities will step-up digitization efforts in 2018. In the near term, institutions will focus more on digitizing existing content to make it available to attract a wider reach of students in a cost-effective manner.
- Different approach to way of learning & assessments: Flipped classrooms, combining online and offline modes of learning, will increasingly become the norm. Concurrently, institutions will also step up efforts to move from paper-pencil based assessments to digital assessments. The increasing thrust on digitization will also compel coaching institutes, which train students for competitive exams, to follow suit.
- Digital campuses to gain ground: The ‘go digital’ campaign will spur educational institutions to digitally revamp existing business processes such as admission procedures, grading, library, accounts, etc. With most institutes of higher education having failed to meet the objectives of the Action Plan 17-by-17 for Digital Campuses enumerated by the Government of India, efforts to jumpstart the process will gain ground in 2018.
- VR, AR and augmented reality set to get more potent: Virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence-based platforms are still 2-3 years away from becoming ubiquitous in learning. However, the trend will get more potent in 2018 as customers and companies will continue to invest in capabilities and systems which will in the future disrupt traditional methods and pedagogies.
With students, educators and administrators embracing the digital revolution, classrooms and learning are set to change for good.