The power of edtech

Over the last decade, the impact of digital technology on learning has been consistently positive and encouraging. This is due to India’s young student population becoming early adopters of technology-based learning. Other factors include deeper penetration of the Internet, almost 100 per cent mobile penetration (of which most are smartphones), evolving levels of awareness and increasing versions of state-of-the-art digital technologies that are being deployed for learning and development in the Indian context. Though it may be challenging to identify clear and specific outcomes for educational practices impacted by technology, the positive sentiment of digitisation of academic/learning evolutions cannot be ignored, especially when the interest of students at large is enhanced.

The technology-led education space in India is fast evolving with certain infotainment centric technologies such as augmented reality — adaptive learning and learning analytics-based solutions picking speed and interest very fast — making it more globally aligned. Simulanis, an education technology (edtech) startup into 3D gaming and augmented reality-based tools for engineering learning, is one such example. This, combined with the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach to learning, as compared to the DIFM (Do It For Me) approach that prevailed earlier, is making an impactful digital learning ecosystem for the nation. For example, Coders Trust is on a mission to train students in coding and micro finance for a period of five months along with their personality development. It is evident that the people bringing in strong edtech solutions are matured founders (such as Instafeez and Classboat) who have been in professional corporate lives for more than a decade. This brings a sense of maturity to the technology choices and understanding for education — where the gestation and adoption periods are long.

It seems probable that more evolved educational institutions and teachers may be more likely to use digital technologies than others. However, the fact remains that students in non-metro and remote Indian cities have a lot to benefit from the digital impact of education, especially when the Startup India mission by the government is a firm believer of digital inclusion of the masses (such as Gradopedia for graduates in all socio-economic classes).

There is no doubt that technology becomes more engaging motivator for young learners. However, the actual situation is that corporate learners and traditional publishers are also adopting edtech fast — especially the solutions around IoT (Internet of Things), AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) to name a few, impact of which will make Indian students become global citizens. This trend will become a strong advantage for edtech if the technology can guide the audience towards what is to be learnt and its impactful assessment. Hence, the pedagogy of technology adoption in the classroom is critical, be it in secondary, higher education, corporate or skill-based learning. The Indian government has a role to play in all these avenues, with the collaborative efforts of PMO, Niti Ayog, DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), DST (Department of Science and Technology) and the ministry of entrepreneurship along with NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation).

Taken as a package, the general impact of digital technology on learning outcomes is constructive. However, it is important that the delivery of technology has a strong UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) play so that every genre of the learner is able to adopt it without difficulty. Overall, the Indian edtech trends reveal that collaborative use of technology is much more impactful than 1:1 individual learning methodologies. Pupils of every age, right from young children to corporate employees, should be adapting to short but focused technology intervention to improve learning. It is also important that technology interventions in the Indian context of learning are best used when it supplements normal teaching and not to be positioned as a replacement for the same.

The writer is CEO, Edugild.

The Indian edtech trends reveal that collaborative use of technology has much more impact than 1:1 individual learning methodologies.