Technology is an integral part of our day-to-day lives today. It is enabling us to do everything from banking transactions, shopping, and AI-driven stock trading to even learning a new language via a smartphone app. The benefits that technology has been transferring to us are simply innumerable. Despite the progress made in science and innovation, the education system has remained surprisingly unaltered, in the way knowledge is disseminated within our classrooms.
Every classroom is full of students who have different pedagogical needs. For instance, a student could be good at theoretical topics, though, not as good with numerical problems or vice versa. Similarly, some students might need to clear their doubts while learning the concept itself instead of spending time on revision while other students might have a tendency of clearing their doubts during revisions.
However, addressing everyone’s individual requirements is simply not viable in the traditional classroom. Also, looking at the broader picture, metropolitan cities enjoy a higher quality of teachers, whereas, their low-tier counterparts do not. This naturally creates a disparity in the quality of education amongst such regions. These are some of the most fundamental problems experienced in our education system.
Thankfully, the advent of e-learning is helping to address some of these challenges that have been inherent to our education system. At present, the sector is growing with a CAGR of 20 per cent (roughly about three-times our GDP growth rate) and is expected to reach a market size of USD 1.96 billion by 2021. The industry’s subscribers, which were 1.6 million in 2016, are further projected to grow six-fold to become 9.6 million by the same period.
Leaving no stone unturned: How Superior Technological Influx can further aid e-learning?
E-learning’s biggest advantage is that it not only eases the process of learning, but it simultaneously generates troves of data that can be further used for analysis and increasing effectiveness of our day-to-day education. This data also helps in personalising the pedagogical training to a greater extent. By leveraging it, the e-learning platforms can recognise individual academic requirements, natural flairs of learning, and also keep a track of a student’s progress across a wide variety of subjects as well as topics.
Today, Artificial Intelligence is proving to be a game-changing technology across a range of industrial applications. The same stands to be true for the edtech sector. Machine Learning technology is being used by leading edtech platforms to understand student performance, including the time taken by a student on a particular question (as compared to the average time taken on other problems), the student’s ability to answer it correctly and how a student performed on a related topic. It also gauges which approach is effective for that particular student and personalises the course progression using these insights. Big Data, on the other hand, enables a platform to draw additional insights from the gathered data. This helps them to profile their students better and train them with the most effective model.
Technology not only helps with facilitating student training but also helps to ensure that they remain engaged through a gamified approach. This is done with interactive visual animations that generate students’ interest while imparting them core knowledge of the concept. Content Distribution Network-based media dissemination is another example of how technology is increasing engagement of students.
According to Limelight Networks’ ‘The State of Online Video 2018’ Report, video re-buffering is the most unsatisfying element of online video viewing. It was observed in the global study that two-thirds of the viewers stop watching a video if it buffers for the second time. Given that the students do not have the patience of an adult, the abandonment rate would potentially be much higher amongst students. CDN-based media dissemination ensures a seamless viewing experience for e-learners, thereby increasing their retention.
The CDN-based approach also adds value to e-learning in a different way as well. Students avail e-learning courses through an array of devices. This could include smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops, etc. having different Operating Systems (OS), browsers, application framework, and under different network conditions. Students might also be located at a considerable distance from the media source. Now, though it might not seem to be the case, these factors affect video streaming. CDNs, using an array of Information and Communications Technologies, are able to gauge various relevant elements of a user (including network speed, device specifications, application environment, etc.) and thereupon, extend the desired media in the most optimal format and through the source closest to the e-learner. This further augments their streaming experience and ascertains that they do not experience any hiccup while learning online.
In conclusion, e-learning is redefining the education sector as we know it, making it futuristic, engaging, and effective than it has ever been before. As this technological influx continues, the Indian education system is surely getting geared up for its new, ultramodern avatar.
--Mr. Jaheer Abbas, Senior Regional Director - SEA & India, Limelight Network.
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