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Affordability will be the Key for Edtech

The COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the business operations of various countries. Right from industries, educational institutions to factories, cinemas, and aviation, everything came to a temporary halt. Millions of lives were impacted due to lockdown measures and businesses were forced to take a different approach to survive in this unprecedented time. However, there were some sectors for whom the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be quite beneficial. One such sector was that of eLearning. With millions of students sitting at home and no information regarding when the education institutes would be allowed to open, many learners switched to eLearning platforms to continue their education.

There was a sudden surge in demand in the number of users signing up to take online courses on various eLearning platforms. Not only students but there was a growing interest in taking online courses among professionals as well. While platforms like Vedantu, BYJUs, Unacademy focused on student learning and cracking competitive exams, others like Simplilearn, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera offered training courses for professionals. Everyone in the corporate sector seemed to realize the need to upgrade themselves with digital skills so as to survive in this time of growing automation.

The present hiring managers look for specialized skills rather than outdated ones. Big data analytics and artificial intelligence have started to penetrate the market and employees have no option but to upskill themselves. As such, they are turning towards eLearning platforms and taking up courses for achieving credentials like TOGAF certification, PMP certification, data science certification, and so on. Taking online courses is suitable for professionals in many ways. As they comprise short video modules, professionals find it easy to accommodate them in their busy schedules. Moreover, they get live instructor-led training during weekends to get their queries resolved and know their progress.

However, these are just the minimum benefits expected from the edtech industry. Since they have seen exponential growth in their user base from the past few months, they need to improvise their platform as per the user needs. Video conferencing, taking notes on the platform during the class, ability to access the recorded classes anytime, interactive quizzes, gamification, and tracking performance are some of the features that are already attracting the learners. But the platforms need to make the most of today’s technological advancements and become more sophisticated over time.

One major concern regarding the growth of the edtech industry is affordability. To get easy access to the eLearning mobile applications, a user basically needs a smartphone and a stable internet connection. Now there are millions of students who don’t have both these facilities. To make edtech a successful substitute for physical classroom training across the country, governments have to ensure that both smartphones and internet connection are available at an affordable price. Many steps are being taken to overcome this issue.

For example, certain state governments are partnering with Google to deploy Google for Education technology in their state. As part of this venture, Google will offer G-Suite for Education free of cost and will enable millions of students to continue their education. Moreover, teachers will be given training and free resources to use such a platform and conduct classes for students. If such initiatives are taken by key edtech players, then this industry can even expand to rural areas.

Overall, the edtech industry has a long way to go and affordability will play a major role in its growth. Many platforms have tried offering free courses from top universities to help learners cope with these difficult times and gain the required skills. The growing number of active users on eLearning platforms would increase the demand for instructor-led live classes to get personalized learning experience. This, in turn, would open the doors for people to work as online tutors and create an extra source of income. Professionals who have lost their jobs during this pandemic can also explore this career opportunity.


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