Mumbai: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of schools and colleges across the world. And adapting to a new normal, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning on digital platforms.
India has witnessed an e-learning boom in the past few months with classes on Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype are becoming the norm for students, parents, and teachers, but yes this immediate transition to online hardly compensates for the absence of the classroom experience.
Medianews4u reached out to experts for their take on how the rise of E-Learning and the growth space has seen during these times of crisis especially when schools and colleges are shut.
Our experts in this story cater to learners from two complete opposite ends, upGrad caters to online professional education platform providing industry-relevant programs designed and delivered in collaboration with world-class faculty and industry.
VOOT Kids, where kids get to watch their favorite shows, read books, listen to stories and learn with fun, all at one place.
Sighting a drastic increase of e-learning adoption, Arjun Mohan, India- CEO of upGrad said, “As part of our research conducted in the Pre – Corona period to now; – 92% of Learning leaders have confirmed adoption of online learning journeys from 68% in the pre corona period.”
On achieving a fantastic ARPU of 2.5 L Mohan said, “With an 85% program completion rate, robust tech platform, outcome-based learning approach, industry-relevant curriculum, finest university credentials, strong mentorship, and steadfast placement support, upGrad has established its position as the leader in the Indian education system and is in a position to achieve an ARPU of 2.5 L, highest in the Indian education sector.”
Sharing recent growth numbers, Mohan said, “We have also crossed the mark of 500K learner-base recently and on-boarded over 30K paid learners. In April 2020 we also recorded 72% growth in booked revenue as compared to January this year | 100% Q-o-Q growth in Q4.”
On the increased time spent for VOOT Kids during times of covid-19, Vigyeta Agrawal, Head of Brand Marketing VOOT, VOOT Select & VOOT Kids, said “In times of the pandemic, parents have sought solutions within the digital ecosystem and within that Voot Kids has come to be a natural choice as something that is responsibly curated, with a healthy dose of fun. The platform has seen high adoption with TSV crossing the 100 minutes mark. We’re seeing consumption across videos, e-books and audio stories, with 1 out of every 2 kids also engaging with the learn section in the app.”
E-learning to replace classroom teaching?
On whether e-learning could replace classroom teaching, especially for toddlers, Vigyeta Agrawal of VOOT Kids said, “Digital learning might be considered a safer alternative, but in the long term, both will co-exist. Such unprecedented global shifts bring about a constitutional change in the ways of working and that might therefore see Digital learning becoming more mainstream and emerging out of its support/long distance/ supplemental learning set-up while conventional teaching will become more focused on providing experiential and behavioral pedagogy.”
On how flexibility and feasibility online learning Arjun Mohan of upGrad said, “Even in India, online education has proved its robustness as compared to the offline institutes that have been shut for an infinite period. Owing to its flexibility and feasibility, learners in the coming times would prefer to take up online programs from the comfort and safety of their houses. While the world will take time to resume normalcy and get back to life in the pre-COVID-19 era, online education will be the way forward. More than the fear of the infection spread, the benefits, flexibility and convenience offered by edtech companies will attract students to learn online.”
A win-win for universities feels Mohan. He said, “As the trend continues, with more and more renowned universities adopting e-learning and investments reducing in infrastructure, the cost of education will substantially be reduced. Therefore, to conclude, I would like to add that the online learning sector is anyway on an upward trajectory and will continue to rise in the future.”
About the courses that are in demand, Arjun Mohan said, “upGrad recently launched the whitepaper with FICCI in which research indicated that 92% of learning leaders have confirmed the adoption of online learning journeys from 68% in the pre corona period. Most of these are in building digital skills in the areas of Data Sciences, AI, ML, Full Stack Software Engineering, Digital Marketing and MBA courses.”
B2C or B2B? What’s the way forward?
Mohan said, “We are largely a direct B2C company where working professionals/students enrol in the online program (post receiving an admit) and pay us upfront for the program. For our enterprise business, the company/corporates pay us for training their employees. With companies, we do have a certain proportion of our fees linked to success.”
On Institution tie-ups Mohan said, “upGrad provides online programs in the areas of Data Science, Technology, Management and Law to college students, working professionals and enterprises. These programs are designed and delivered in collaboration with top-notch universities like IIT Madras, IIIT Bangalore, MICA, NMIMS Global Access, Jindal Global Law School, Duke CE, Deakin University, Liverpool John Moores University and others.”
Catering to the needs of students in rural areas
Arjun Mohan said, “In a first mover’s advantage, upGrad, India’s edtech leader, had announced access of its proprietary tech platform to all colleges and universities, at the very onset of COVID-19 pandemic, before Lockdown 1.0. Over 100 colleges and universities so far are using upGrad’s platform to replicate their offline classes, online. Institutes include Jamia Hamdard University, Lovely Professional University, who are amongst the MHRD’s NIRF Top 100 universities, with the former being recommended as Institute of Eminence by Government of India.”
“Institutes from North India like CT University (Ludhiana), Rayat Bahra University (Punjab), ABES Engineering College (Ghaziabad) to South India like Hindustan University (Chennai), AMC Group of Institutions (Bengaluru) to Central India like People’s University (Bhopal), to West India like Nagpur University (Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University), Sandip University (Nashik), Sinhgad Group of Institution (Pune) to even institutes from the North East corners of India like Rabindranath Thakur Mahavidyalaya, Netaji Subhash Mahavidyalaya and BirBikram Memorial College in Tripura, are availing ‘upGrad Live’.”
“The company also has institutes from NIRF top 100 universities like Lovely Professional University &Jamia Hamdard University, with the latter upGrad has a much deeper partnership for enabling online degree programs as well, the NSDC e-learning aggregator portal namely eSkill India, which offers more than 400 courses curated from various knowledge providers, uses upGrad Live platform to provide their skilling solutions across the country, thus helping us amplify our reach.” said Arjun Mohan.
Increased screen time brings in a new wave of worries for parents?
Vigyeta Agrawal believes that the power of a brand like Voot Kids lies in its ability to make screen time meaningful and facilitate wholesome and happy growth for kids. She said, “With a multi-format app that offers videos, books, audio stories and learning-driven quizzes, parents now have an option that will aid in enhancing their child’s cognitive, social and emotional abilities while keeping the joy of childhood alive, and keeping their kids gainfully engaged in the safety of their homes.”