Tracking the transformation

With tectonic shifts in the way learning is currently being perceived owing to the pandemic, ed-tech is the buzz word in the education sector. While several new players are catching on to the trend of online learning, established ones like Coursera are seeing their business model being validated. With 8.5 million learners, India is Coursera’s second-largest market after the U.S.

While there are challenges, Raghav Gupta, Managing Director-India and APAC, Coursera, feels that change is imminent as educational institutions transition to online/blended learning models. “For many institutes, what started as a short-term response to a crisis will likely become an enduring digital transformation of higher education. In India, the government’s decision on online learning programmes speaks volumes about the gradual integration of online learning in the Indian education system,” he says, as he shares his thoughts on online learning and the way ahead for India. Excerpts:

How effective is online learning?

Online learning can genuinely transform lives and bridge the opportunity divide by democratising education and providing learners with the currency that connects them to career outcomes and offering a richer and more applied learning experience and employer-recognised credentials. Online learning strongly complements the existing system and can help educational institutions scale up and broaden their reach. For professionals to continue learning throughout their careers and to gain the latest skill set in the dynamic job market, online learning is the go-to solution.

We have seen a steep rise in the uptake of online courses by students and professionals alike. Enterprises, too, are turning to online learning platforms to help employees successfully transition to remote working, increase digital readiness, and improve mental wellbeing during this particularly stressful time.

How do online certifications add value to traditional academic learning?

The future of learning and the future of work is converging. There is a growing acceptance of online education credentials among enterprises, particularly for new-age skills like Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and more. But traditional models of education are insufficient to prepare people with the skills they need to thrive throughout the course of their working lives. Today, more and more employers are looking to upskill their workforce and are accepting online certificates.

Open access
  • Coursera has opened up its platform for students to learn and earn certificates for free until July 31. Students will gain access to Coursera’s 3,800 courses, 150 Guided Projects, 400 Specialisations, and 11 Professional Certificates. Once enrolled, they will have until September 30, 2020, to complete the programmes. After that, students will continue to have free access to Guided Projects — a hands-on learning experience that develops job-relevant skills.

How well is India equipped to transition from traditional classrooms to online learning?

The majority of educational institutions in India follow the traditional teaching methodology of face-to-face classroom learning. However, campuses have already integrated the technological components of online learning in their curricula. High-quality, relevant and curated content is readily available through online learning platforms to support this transition towards blended learning. This means that, in the near future, even on-campus programmes will have a substantive online component. The one-size-fits-all model will give way to a far more adaptive and personalised learning experience that will enable anyone, anywhere to embrace lifelong learning.

What are some of the challenges you identify?

While online and blended learning seem to have gained acceptance in the country, Internet penetration and bandwidth issues still seem to be the niggling challenges that online education platforms will need to face. While, on the one hand, India is preparing to welcome 5G, many parts of the country still have limited access to high-speed Internet. To allow for digital and blended learning, India will need to build a smarter and connected society

What are some of the trends you have noticed in the Indian market?

Business, Technology, and Data Science are the most popular domains among learners in India and across the globe. These continue to be significant economic and innovation drivers and are also the most in-demand career skills. At a competency level, we’ve seen tremendous interest in deep learning, machine learning, data science, data management as well as soft skills like management training.

What are Coursera’s plans in India?

We are currently focused on helping universities deliver education through Coursera for Campus platform, providing skill-building opportunities and tools to the unemployed, and assisting enterprises with skill-building initiatives.

We endeavour to expand our course catalogue by launching new Degrees, MasterTrack™ Certificates, Courses, Specialisations, and Guided Projects to help learners gain the necessary skills in the dynamic job scenario. Additionally, we are rolling out a number of new tools to provide learners with a transformative learning experience.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 2:25:05 PM |

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