Category Archives: e-Learning

Ed-Tech

How ed-tech helps deliver learning-at-scale

What is ed-tech?

Ed-Tech (or Education Technology) is the area of digital technology devoted to the development and application of any digital tools (be it software, hardware or technological processes), intended to promote Education. Alternatively, it can also be described as a medium aimed at improving learning outcomes by creating and using technology that aids comprehension, cognition and overall academic performance of learners.

An already booming sector since the last 5 years, Covid 19 has provided further impetus to the Ed-Tech sector. While schools and students from around the world experienced initial difficulties in adjusting to digital methods, many have quickly become used to the zoom mode of teaching and learning. With mixed outcomes, the opportunity that Ed-Tech presents in the post Covid world is huge. Its primary advantages include easy accessibility, quality content and engaging new formats to help students retain, practise and apply what they learn.

India:

In India, Ed-Tech remains one of the highly funded domains, second only to financial technology and financial services. As per the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, startups in Indian EdTech received investment of over $2.2 billion in 2020. Popular courses include delivering subject matter expertise to students from K12 and helping candidates to prepare for competitive exams like IIT-JEE, UPSC and NEET. With the stress on improving job readiness for India’s growing youth, many Ed-Tech programs are now focused on providing in-demand skills like coding and social media analytics through varied formats.

As per Pravin Prakash, the Chief People Officer at BYJU’s, Indian parents have warmed up to the idea of technology supplementing the traditional mode of learning. Ed-Tech’s biggest advantage has been a personalized learning experience for students, in terms of both speed and style. Interactive formats have also encouraged students to become active learners for life with the blended model of learning also preparing students for the unseen jobs of tomorrow.

With growing internet penetration in one of the youngest countries in the world, India will see a bigger boom in Ed-Tech. The industry can play a huge role in democratizing quality education, with a boost in digitization, funding and user growth. With nearly three-quarters of third-graders still unable to solve a two-digit subtraction, EdTech can be the bridge to enable students break the rote learning methods that plague the system besides developing critical abilities of creative thinking, 21st century skills and a well paced learning process.

China:

There are many reasons for the exponential growth of the Ed-Tech market in China. Growing aspirations of middle class Chinese parents along with their ability to afford good education are the primary drivers. As per Omidyar Network, the average Chinese parent spends around USD 42, 892.22 over the duration of a child’s K-12 schooling. While older parents are more inclined to the traditional mode of teaching, newer parents acknowledge the role of technology.

With the world’s largest economy, China boasts of the second largest K-12 network in the world. With a GDP second only to USA, it spends over 4% in Education, annually. In 2019, China catered to 802 million people with internet connectivity, 98% of whom are mobile internet users. As per a 2016 report, 45% of primary schools, 69% of middle schools and 87% of high schools had access to the internet. Connectivity reduced along the city-urban-rural school continuum with a yawning disparity visible between urban primary at 77% internet penetration and rural primary at 26%.

After Covid 19, China has gained control over the Ed-Tech market by making a wide variety of personalised Ed-Tech solutions available to students. An affordable one time payment of < USD 10 and strong internet connectivity has encouraged students, especially from rural areas to embrace online learning. Some of the popular commercial EdTech solutions in China’s K-12 market are Onion Math (14 million users), Knowbox (27 million users) and Zuoyebang (113 million registered educational institutes). These platforms provide free of cost services such as assessments, homework management and building subject matter expertise. Platforms such as the Gaokao and Zhonkao have additionally given birth to the USD 50 billion industry of after-school tutoring and test preparation. There are close to 200 million online users in China post the Covid 19 pandemic.

USA:

The widespread and seamless adoption of Ed-Tech in the US today is due to some of the smart federal policy initiatives and an inevitable fallout of “the march of technology” in the lives of the average American.

The US education system comprises 56.6 million students who attend elementary and secondary schools; of these roughly 10% attend private school, 5% attend charter schools and less than 3% are in homeschooling programs. In 2016, 89% of households had access to a digital device and 81% had internet connectivity; Pacific Coast and NorthEast having higher connectivity than other regions. Provision of high-speed Wi-Fi services in classrooms and subsidized rates of internet connectivity at 10 USD/ month has enabled better penetration of online education.

USA market size:

The K-12 EdTech market in the US totaled USD 18 billion in 2017 as per a report by Futuresource Consulting Ltd. This includes hardware, software, IT services, digital courseware and assessments. Large players like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have been competing for the hegemony of the American EdTech market since the 1990s with disruptive innovations. While the federal and the state governments have partnered to provide high speed internet connectivity to K-12 students, nonprofits like SETDA (State Education Technology Director Association) and the CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) have made useful resources and toolkits available. They have also played a critical role in maintaining the government’s EdTech infrastructure – the more critical side of EdTech scaling. Experts from more than 20 EdTech stakeholders find Utah, California, Maine, Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina and Florida to have demonstrated effective EdTech scale ups.

The overarching focus on teacher training and technological innovations have helped transform teaching at scale. Effective legislation to integrate EdTech with the textbook schooling system has also happened. Programs such as the FutureReady schools, initiated under the Obama administration’s ConnectEd initiative, have partnered with 50 organizations which include foundations, curriculum developers, internet service providers and education experts to transform the American K-12 network by 2030.

Final thoughts:

The current GDP of the Education industry alone is 6% which by 2025, estimated to grow upto $7.3 T by 2050. More than 250 million learners around the world are unable to read or write properly despite having finished their schooling. Most of them lack the competencies or the skills required to succeed in the 21st Century. The world’s poor will take 100 years to achieve educational parity with the wealthy. The big question is how is the current education system poised to deliver their needs?

Ed-Tech can play a large role in closing this gap, especially for students who lack access to quality teaching and a robust learning environment. In the last few decades, EdTech has evolved from being a niche industry to one of the fastest growing in the world. The need to improve learning outcomes globally and the role that technology can play in supporting this goal is being increasingly recognized. While the integration of technology in education has become more visible, it is important that EdTech can provide equitable and high – quality education to learners irrespective of where they live or what their purchasing power is.

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Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in e-learning industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Edtech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on site setup for selling online courses

Case study on learning management system

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e-Learning app

e-Learning app for Medical Students

Introduction:

Professor Miller, an esteemed instructer teaches General Medicine at a Medical College in California. He delivers lectures from 9 am to 4 pm every day. James, one of his students, is the students’ representative of his college. Most subjects of the medical college are vast and require lengthy lectures that consume a lot of time. The professors also need to conduct small tests from time to time to evaluate their students’ performance.

Issue faced by Professors:

Professor Miller had a series of upcoming tests that he had to conduct in the next semester. He often used to think “There are very few slots between scheduled classes to conduct any test. Let me try negotiating with other professors if they can reschedule some of their classes,”.  He spoke with a few of his colleagues, but most of them had the same issue that he had. They thought of discussing with the students to take their suggestions.

The next day in an assembly, Professor Miller and other professors put forward their concerns reagrding tests and time constraints with the students and asked about their opinions. James, after discussing with his classmates, suggested to his professors that “We understand how important these tests are for our learning, and also the time and quality of lectures cannot be compromised. After the lectures, we get free time for self-study and leisure. Also, we all have access to mobile phones/ laptops and good internet connections. Through an online mode, we could give the tests after the lectures are over without eating up the lecture time.”

The professors were very impressed by the idea and went ahead with it. They wanted an application that will help medical students to learn about different diseases. They mentioned their requirement to a software service provider at California. The software service provider wanted to outsource this project to a trusted company abroad. They were in search of a company that can understand their requirements, develop the customized e-learning app for them, and deliver it on-time. They came across us, Mindfire Solutions, and seeing our vast expertise and experienced development team, gave us the project to develop.

Solution:

Our team of web developers built a custom e-learning app to enable the process of uploading the topics and related content. The professors typically perform this activity. They also mark the time and date for the topics. The mobile app then syncs the data from the web by using the APIs exposed. The uploaded content thus gets rendered on the mobile screens of the corresponding students. Phone Gap was used to develop the application with an intuitive and elegant UI at a lower cost to the client.

The professors were surprised to know what this e-learning app can do. All the professors accepted this easy-to-use application. During lunch, one of the professors said, “I wish I could upload the questionnaires during my commute back home, which takes me nearly an hour. But there are a lot of network issues on the way. So, I wait till I reach home to upload the content.” “Don’t worry, professor, in case your phone is offline, this application stores everything in the device until the device comes back online. You can also access all the synced-up data in offline mode too. Now you can save time and efforts without worrying about any data loss,” said Professor Miller.

James responds when asked for feedback about the new system. “This e-learning app is turning out to be very useful in our learning. We receive notifications on time whenever a professor assigns a new topic. The application is convinient as it runs on both Android and iOS.”

Overall, this solution brought a lot more productivity in the educational curriculum of the medical college. It highly benefited both the professors and the students.

Final Thoughts:

Like other businesses, if you too are looking for custom e-learning app development Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on Automated Education evaluation system.

Case study on auto tagging application for student collaboration and networking system.

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e-learning

Is e-learning the next e-commerce?

What is e-learning?

e-learning (or, online learning) is the process of learning, conducted through electronic or online learning platforms. The use of the internet and gadgets like computers, tablets and smart boards form an essential part of it. e-learning can be divided into categories like Computer Managed Learning (CML), Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), Interactive Online Learning and so on.

With the advancement of technology, e-learning complements the brick-and-mortar mode of teaching and learning; the former being deemed more democratic, flexible, portable, and productive than the latter. Over time, and especially post the Covid-19 pandemic, e-learning has made learning easily accessible for large sections of the student populace, who cannot avail it through conventional methods.

What is e-commerce?

e-commerce is the transaction of buying or selling products or services online. Some commonly used technologies that e-commerce uses include internet marketing, electronic funds transfer, online transactions and mobile commerce, among others. Hence, any form of business transaction which happens using an electronic mode is categorised as e-commerce.

Why is e-learning the next e-commerce?

It is expected that the trajectory charted by, and disruption brought forth by e-commerce will be closely emulated (and perhaps, surpassed) by the proliferation and easy accessibility of e-learning.

A number of factors, not least the tremendous social capital inherent to it, are going to contribute to the ubiquitousness of e-learning. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has only amplified the adoption and penetration of internet based learning. Between 2020 and 2024, the global online education market is expected to grow by ~USD 250 bn (at a CAGR of 18%). These effects can potentially affect generations of learners, across social and economic strata.

e-learning has democratised learning. A number of features, often not available in traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms, make online learning attractive. Legacy institutions like Harvard and Stanford are now jostling for a share of the e-learning pie alongwith upcoming ed-tech start-ups like Byju’s, Coursera and Unacademy.

Needless to say, the learning industry is currently undergoing a paradigm shift. Observers and industry experts argue that the world (and especially economies like USA, China and India) are now witnessing an offline to online to omni-channel migration in education. This path was treaded by the retail and commerce industry a few years back (brought forth by disruptors like Amazon and Uber (globally) and Flipkart (in India)).

One can, thus, list the features that appeal to the man on the street and observe that they are uncannily similar across both e-learning and e-commerce.

Challenges to e-learning:

e-learning has given way to multiple avenues of accessible learning. However, there are a few challenges that may inhibit the growth and penetration of this medium of instruction.

1. Comfort:

Students and learners in general are more comfortable studying in a classroom environment; a conducive and non-distracting option. E-learning may often leave the student lost, unless the teacher facilitates real-time group interactions.

2. Ease in teaching:

Audio-visual aids have revolutionized learning across generations. Teachers might find it difficult to adapt to a completely new approach, especially in countries with low exposure to internet. Also, a number of teachers are not digital-first citizens. Thus, their ability to be comfortable in leveraging online instruction remains a challenge.

3. Lack of clarity:

While e-learning offers a plethora of options when it comes to content, the overabundance of choices also has a negative side to it. Too much information often causes the infamous problem – “lost on the internet”, in students across age groups. Clear instructions on course work can aid learners with a concrete plan.

4. Boredom in students:

In a classroom setting, students derive a lot of motivation from their teachers and fellow learners. Despite its multiple advantages, online learning may often feel boring, cumbersome and lonely. Thus, the solution is for teachers to ensure that all students get the adequate amount of attention in each online class.

5. Reduced intellectual abilities:

e-learning can often hinder intellectual stimulation for students. Over dependency on technology is a reason for people not being able to logically organize their own thoughts or process information. To prevent students from losing their critical thinking and logical skills, it is important to have exercises like quizzes and multiple choice questions.

The above points give a glimpse into the challenges for the learner. There are also some industry level challenges to be noted. Often people working on designing online courses have to transform dull and unappealing subject matters to interesting programs which will appeal to different generations. Other challenges include finding qualified subject matter experts and instructors, while balancing tight roped budgets and unrealistic deadlines.

e-learning Platforms:

It is needless to say that IT and ITES can address most industry and student specific challenges. New-age digital tools, scalable platforms and tech-stacks, interventions like gamification and animation aimed specifically at millennials, and more ubiquitous and durable hardware products can synergise to ensure the uptick of e-learning. Simultaneously, there is a huge inflow of capital into education technology – as is evidenced by a 44% CAGR growth (2014-2020) to USD 16 bn. This alludes to the optimism around and the promise that this space holds.

Over and above the inherent challenges, externalities like internet penetration and government and legal policies and compliances will play a decisive role in the uptake of e-learning – as it has done in e-commerce. Conversely, newer technologies and innovations (like 3D tutorials, AI coaches, etc.) will fuel the demand for online learning.

In fact, today, these four important factors drive online learning:

  1. Employability – relevant education and skills for the upcoming job market.
  2. Skill Development – social and skill-based learning.
  3. Entrepreneurship – flexible learning opportunities for people in new businesses.
  4. Education – Over 1.2 billion students are out of school, post the pandemic. The learning for the students is happening digitally or remotely.

Industry experts expect these factors to remain relevant for decades to come. Consequently, the demand for online learning seems to be perennial. It is thus, an important moment in the timeline of education that we live in today. One where we are in a flux from a traditional way of living to a life dominated, and made simpler, by technology and innovation.

Final Thoughts:

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in Edtech industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Edtech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done in e-learning domain. Click here to know more:

Case study on Automated Education evaluation system.

Case study on auto tagging application for student collaboration and networking system.

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e-learning

Personalisation, on-demand and predictive analytics: e-learning’s next leap forward

Introduction:

While online learning gained popularity in the 90’s, off late it has gained further traction. With the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns, e-learning has emerged as one of the prominent uses of technology in the 21st century. E-learning as an educational experience is delivered electronically. It comprises many elements such as live or pre-recorded lecture content, videos, quizzes and other interactive elements.

While schools, colleges and other educational institutions shut down in early 2020, e-learning emerged as a saviour. With the gaining reputation of e-learning, many students and working professionals have started finding the easy, accessible and ‘at your own pace’ learning mode a friendlier way of educating self and others. Thus, it can be safely assumed that the e-learning market is well poised for a boom; researchers conclude that the market size of the industry will grow by 10.85% by 2025.

To make learning a holistic and egalitarian experience work for all, it is important for e-learning companies to create a personalized and accessible user experience. Big data tools such as personalization, on-demand learning and predictive analysis are helping the e-learning industry today to multiply, both in terms of scale and impact. Before we move onto exploring what role they can play in the future of education, let’s first take a deep dive into what these terms mean.

Personalization:

The word ‘personalization’, mostly used in sales and marketing is a popularly used term. Simply put, it means, one size does not apply to all. Firstly made popular by brands like Google and Amazon, personalized experience became a raging success with custom made services and communication for customers. The same personal details like name, birthdays and favourite colours that are used to tailor gifts for spouses and friends are amplified today by e-learning companies to tailor learning experiences based on learner needs. This has entailed higher learner engagement and improved performance.

On-Demand:

While the meaning of ‘on-demand’ is self-explanatory, in the realm of e-learning it would imply ensuring availability of learning solutions to the learner, anywhere and at any time. Post pandemic, millions of students are out of school. On-demand e-learning solutions guarantee easy access to quality course content and premium educators to learners from around the world

Predictive Analytics:

‘Predictive analytics’ is a tool that uses data, statistics and machine learning techniques to predict the likelihood of future outcomes based on available data. It has transformed e-learning by leaps and bounds. Educational institutions have been managing data for many years. Predictive analytics is a technology breakthrough when it comes to capturing educational big data.

E-learning’ next big leap :

The rapid proliferation of mobility devices has resulted in a situation where nearly all school students have a mobile device. With an explosion of the world wide web, innumerable small mobile devices have access to the internet. The affordability, accessibility and common usage of mobiles/ other internet devices makes e-learning a highly plausible vehicle of learning. So how can it become more democratic?

While personalization has existed in people’s lives for a long time, personalised learning has evolved as a new novelty in e-learning. It is the first step for tailoring content, pedagogy and learning environments to meet individual learning styles and learner needs. More than just individualization or differentiation, a personalized e-learning process enables students to customize several learning elements in their online learning process. This usually means that they set their own goals, pace and communicate with instructors to proceed as per their comfort. Ideally this indicates that the student is in charge of his/her learning and has a direct say in their education.

So, why is personalization important?
  • Each learner is different. For example – some learners perceive audio better and others video;
  • Every learner has a different coping speed. Some can learn large materials in a short time while others can cope only with small amounts;
  • Most learners have an independent and individual learning style. While some may like studying on the PC, others prefer a mobile phone or a tab.
  • One size does not fit all. Each learner is different and comes from a different place of learning.
On-Demand Strategy

On-demand is a strategy for learners to access knowledge based content anytime, anywhere. With ongoing education and learning an imperative for every organization, the question for professionals globally is: what are the best ways to deliver relevant and meaningful learning to multi-generational learners in today’s highly competitive world?

Technology, as always, has the answer to this question. Consumers and companies dominate the world in exchanging data. This data consists of millions of questions pertaining to multitudes of products and services, everyone expects information whenever they have an internet connection.

In the context of e-learning and especially with millions of learners, where each one of them differ from one another, on-demand e-learning contains elements such as flexibility, effective user engagement and leveraging the on-demand nature of the content, be it with respect to business or education.

The on-demand economy is here to stay and is yet to reach its fullest heights. However, technology will continue to revolutionize e-learning by conjoining it to on-demand learning. Whenever that happens, guided, self-paced learning formats and addressing the growing need to learn in a time-crunched world, will continue to be a priority.

In the context of e-learning, predictive analysis, a form of big data, is generated when a user engages on the Learning Management System, LXP or mobile app solution. For example – when a learner completes an assignment, their progress or results generated becomes a part of the “big data”.

Globally this data is gathered, analysed and decoded to be turned into intelligence.

Some insights gathered:
  1. Gain insights on learning and knowledge gaps.
  2. Preferred methods and modes of conducting learning events for learners of all age groups
  3. Understand and approach strengths and weaknesses for future learning strategies
  4. Understand how to personalise and customise an individual’s learning journey to improve the ultimate user experience along with the desired results.

Final Thoughts:

The world around us is rapidly transforming alongside a growing number of diverse students. All the three tools and processes mentioned above are useful for educational and professional organizations that work on complex data. This in turn is making best learning solutions available to students. It also provides tailor made learning that is accessible, with data insights that can improve learning for the future generations.

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in e-learning industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Edtech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on site setup for selling online courses.

Case study on learning management system.

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