Implementing eLearning In India: 4 Key Challenges
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
The question here is HOW to get quality education to the bottom of the pyramid in India. India is a country of contrasts. This sub-continent lives in both the 19th century and the 21st century simultaneously. Off the shelf eLearning solutions as well as content are made mostly for the western audiences OR can only be used by the privileged few in urban conglomerations in India. However, our endeavour to bring equality would only be called successful when we bring education to the doorstep of the rural student.
A solution would first require the recognition of the inherent challenges that India poses in terms of geography, language, penetration of technology and social realities.
With education and skill building being seen as a key foundation for India’s progress, eLearning will have a major role in transforming how education is delivered across the country. To grow at the rate which we are envisioning for India, we need to take a leap forward and multiply on efforts we are putting in creating innovative learning solutions through eLearning. The practices we are using to deliver education in India has to shift from the one that is highly dependent on having schools or colleges, physical learning materials like books to a more interactive learning model.
India is growing at the rate of 55% in adopting eLearning which involves a personalized communication between the teachers and the students involving content creation platform for teachers, cloud storage, learning games, and many more. In spite of the progress we have been making, there are four challenges that still exist which are obstructing the growth of eLearning in India.
Internet Access / Connectivity
India being one of the countries with largest population with 1.3 billion has only 198 million internet users and is ranked behind China and the United States(Source : www.statisa.com). We are ranked 5th in the countries with the slowest internet connection. Many students do not have access to high range of bandwidth or possess a connection speed that these e Learning platforms require, hence failing us to draw level with other countries in the world. Their weak connection strength makes it difficult for them to follow the course on the eLearning platform thus hindering their learning experience. Besides all the difficulties, most of the students are day scholars and find it difficult to meet the requirements of the course that they have chosen for them.
Availability Of Curriculum Online and Locally Developed Content
Content development is a very important aspect that is often underestimated. Many schools in India are not willing to make an investment into developing content that is aligned to the national curriculum which can in turn be utilzsed for eLearning. Most of the schools or colleges even today use textbooks and there is no effort being put into developing online content. Given the unique facets of India, the diversity of languages and culture and the country’s specialized needs, there is a great opportunity for Indians to develop targeted plans for content development. A major proportion in the world for the educational platforms produce content in English.
Training And Professional Development
India has been brought up in an education system which utilized books and boards, making it difficult for the teachers now to use technology to educate our future generations. We need to emphasise on the need to make teachers understand that they are not being replaced by technology but it’s fairly a catalyst which will optimise their efforts. A bigger challenge we are facing now a days is to develop training modules along with a professional development to enable the our teachers to understand the convenience in using these platforms and inculcate technology into their teaching practices to aid our students with better outcomes.
Innovation in E Learning solutions and Platforms
India is a unique nation, a veritable sub continent , with its own specific set of challenges. An e learning solution in India needs to solve challenges in terms of Usability and User Experience, Learnability and intermittent connectivity. This would need a deep understanding of the reality called India, a thorough understanding of the stakeholders and environment, and the leverage and combination of cutting edge information technologies to come up with unique and innovative solutions which are tailor made for the Indian ecosystem.
The goal of providing high quality education to every child in India remains unfulfilled, but with growing technological practices this vision can be turned into a reality. eLearning has a potential to improve education system in India and if we implement good strategies to overcome these challenges, we can see a great transformation in our education system.