E-Learning

LearnGuild creates customized LMS solutions for Schools,Colleges and Corporates in India and US. This has revolutionized the learning process far beyond the four walls of the classroom or training center and into the world of online education.

E-Learning

Education has also hopped on to the mobile bandwagon.

The world is experiencing a revolution with respect to the usage of mobile phones, with increasing number of smart phones and improving technology that guarantees high-speed data services to complement high-end hardware.

From e-commerce to banking, mobile services have come up in different spheres. Slowly, education has also hopped on to the mobile bandwagon — albeit a bit late — with tablet devices serving as a great platform. With these developments, Education 3.0 or m-education is touted as the next big thing in mobile technology. India with more than 800 million mobile subscribers, and a young population, is in a good position to tap into the benefits of this revolution.

Rajan Gupta, Hub Head, Mobility Business Unit, Tamil Nadu and Kerala Circles for Tata DOCOMO, says, “What we are seeing is that learning is moving to the next level with the integration of information and communications technology (ICT) and the mobile stratosphere. While health has adopted ICT already, education is waking up to its benefits now. ”

Advantages

One of the biggest advantages of mobile education is the accessibility aspect. It helps in making, merging or playing one function of education available to anyone from anywhere.

Mobile education also allows for more interactive platforms to learn and understand concepts better with audio/visual aids. Gupta says, “One of the unique benefits of mobile education is the promotion of interactive education of highest standards globally without any restrictions. The use of the existing mobile technology can support informal learning, including everything from simple voice-based language lessons to more sophisticated mobile Internet-based educational applications.”

With the advent of social networking, another advantage that mobile education offers is that students can share their work and ideas with their peers and interest groups more easily.

Phablets for easy delivery

Gupta points to an interesting fact, “A recent GSMA research reveals that there are lean periods where youth do little, either due to boredom or lack of community services, and this delivers an enormous opportunity for m-Education providers to facilitate a valuable educational supplement to classroom-based learning.”

Going forward, Gupta feels Education 3.0 will play a crucial part in how education is delivered to students especially with the government support in distributing low-cost phablets to students which helps in propelling the market.

The need of the hour is to enable the Education 3.0 ecosystem which will require a broad range of technical support such as IT, network, content, and hosting and data management services.

[09/26/13]   Dear Presidents, Provosts, CIOs, and Directors:

Are you giving your learning and technology teams goals that are big and audacious enough for 2015?

Have you committed to lead rather than follow?

To be out-in-front of the next wave of higher education, rather than jumping on whatever bandwagon happens to roll by next?

A good place to start with a big goal might be mobile learning.

What would happen if you decreed (or maybe strongly suggested - we don't really decree in higher ed), that by 2015 that mobile will be the primary platform that our students will interact with digital curriculum and learning platforms.

That every student will have a tablet or smart phone, and that not everyone will own (or be expected to have access) to a laptop.

That parity will be required between mobile and browser based platforms. That every learning technology, library database, and curricular piece of content will need to be equally accessible and usable from a tablet or smart phone as it is from a computer and a browser.

What would be the advantages of making this "mobile first" edict?

1. Mobile Education Is Coming: Spend some time with Mary Meeker's 2013 Internet Trends Report and one trend that jumps out is the rapid accession of the mobile web. Meeker describes the trends in mobile as "aggressive momentum". Everything from search to shopping to music to games to news is moving quickly from the computer and browser to the smart phone and tablet. Education services through the laptop and browser may not disappear, but they will certainly be complemented by mobile.

2. The Need to Prepare Today for Tomorrow: Ben Franklin once said that "“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If we wait to prepare for a future where our students expect the same mobile access for their education materials and platforms as they get for their banking, news, gaming, and entertainment platforms then we will not be ready when that future arrives.

3. A BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) Motivates Teams: We need goals that take us out of our day-to-day work of spending all of our energy making our existing services work. Yes, we need to keep our high service levels - but we also need to find the cycles to prepare for what's next. A decree about mobile learning from leadership gives us permission to look beyond the problems that are directly in front of our face. We can feel empowered to experiment, try new things, and learn by failing.

How would you respond to a "mobile first" challenge from your leadership?

What would you do differently if you knew that the primary screen that your students interacted with your e-learning platforms and content was going to be a smart phone or tablet by 2015?

[09/26/13]   Education has also hopped on to the mobile bandwagon.

The world is experiencing a revolution with respect to the usage of mobile phones, with increasing number of smart phones and improving technology that guarantees high-speed data services to complement high-end hardware.

From e-commerce to banking, mobile services have come up in different spheres. Slowly, education has also hopped on to the mobile bandwagon — albeit a bit late — with tablet devices serving as a great platform. With these developments, Education 3.0 or m-education is touted as the next big thing in mobile technology. India with more than 800 million mobile subscribers, and a young population, is in a good position to tap into the benefits of this revolution.

Rajan Gupta, Hub Head, Mobility Business Unit, Tamil Nadu and Kerala Circles for Tata DOCOMO, says, “What we are seeing is that learning is moving to the next level with the integration of information and communications technology (ICT) and the mobile stratosphere. While health has adopted ICT already, education is waking up to its benefits now. ”

Advantages

One of the biggest advantages of mobile education is the accessibility aspect. It helps in making, merging or playing one function of education available to anyone from anywhere.

Mobile education also allows for more interactive platforms to learn and understand concepts better with audio/visual aids. Gupta says, “One of the unique benefits of mobile education is the promotion of interactive education of highest standards globally without any restrictions. The use of the existing mobile technology can support informal learning, including everything from simple voice-based language lessons to more sophisticated mobile Internet-based educational applications.”

With the advent of social networking, another advantage that mobile education offers is that students can share their work and ideas with their peers and interest groups more easily.

Phablets for easy delivery

Gupta points to an interesting fact, “A recent GSMA research reveals that there are lean periods where youth do little, either due to boredom or lack of community services, and this delivers an enormous opportunity for m-Education providers to facilitate a valuable educational supplement to classroom-based learning.”

Going forward, Gupta feels Education 3.0 will play a crucial part in how education is delivered to students especially with the government support in distributing low-cost phablets to students which helps in propelling the market.

The need of the hour is to enable the Education 3.0 ecosystem which will require a broad range of technical support such as IT, network, content, and hosting and data management services.

[09/26/13]   India has over 900 million mobile subscribers. The demand for postsecondary educational services in India will dramatically and completely dwarf the supply. India could leapfrog our bundled, campus based model of higher education and jump right to mobile courses and mobile learning.

Microsoft and Nokia could catalyze this shift.

India could lead the way into mobile learning at scale, the rest of the emerging world could follow.

[09/26/13]   Benefits of Teaching Online

September 20, 2013

The confluence of technology and education is undoubtedly significant. As we navigate through intense change in education delivery and access, the road ahead can seem uncertain.

In my role at Udemy, an online platform for teaching and learning, I work every day with a diverse group of individuals creating online courses. Our instructors come from universities, companies and organizations, and arrive at online education for myriad reasons: a new challenge, new students, new opportunities, new income; and, sometimes, out of fear of staying current.

Online Learning Needs More Educators

Whatever the reason, online education has reached a broader population, and I see many businesses and entrepreneurs taking advantage of online teaching for greater reach and additional revenue. While it’s exciting to see such varied audiences creating online courses, the truth is that we acutely need more individual educators to help shape online teaching.

Make no mistake, teaching online demands a willingness to try new things. You’ll test new tools, topics, and ways to communicate. For subject matter experts, it’s sometimes off-putting to fumble through cords and cables on your way to your first online lesson. Yet, I’ve seen time and again a profound sense of freedom and accomplishment wash over instructors when courses hit the Web. I’ve also witnessed online teaching reinvigorate a joy and passion for teaching.

Margaret Soltan, associate professor of English at George Washington University, teaches a MOOC on Udemy that extends her reach to thousands of students from around the world. Her video lectures have ignited a global community connected by a passion for poetry. Joseph Caserto, adjunct assistant professor at New York University, offers several free and for-fee courses on Udemy that balances with his offline teaching. Using video, he lets students see from his eyes how to navigate design tools. Chris Impey, professor at the University of Arizona, uses his MOOC to share up-to-date astronomy news and discoveries. Next year, he plans to offer it as part of a flipped classroom experiment that will allow for more in-class lab time. These are the higher-ed pioneers of popular online education, but imagine if there were more of us.

A Newfound Freedom

Online instructors can revel in a newfound ability to defy some of the most fundamental aspects of a typical classroom. The whiteboard is no longer erased at the end of the day. Your best moments reach beyond students in your physical presence. Your teaching can be set free in your online classroom.

You’re free to structure content in new ways to reach your students. Try different types of content and multimodal teaching strategies that might not work in a traditional setting. Experiment with new course ideas that are harder to champion in more structured environments. Backward design, flipped classroom, video-based instruction? Instructors can return to a creative place by developing new ideas around curriculum and teaching.

Online teaching is particularly ripe for those outside the tenured world, like adjunct faculty and doctoral students. Adjuncts can enjoy the freedom of another medium, a new way to show their skills and gain a potential income stream. Doctoral students immersed in the latest thinking and research can share their expertise with those of us now outside the walls of academia.

Visible and Accessible Expertise

With online teaching, you, your ideas and your courses are instantly visible and accessible. You now have a three-dimensional way to introduce yourself and demonstrate knowledge to students, peers and other outside audiences. Showcase what you know and credibly claim yourself as an expert in a particular area. Refresh your course with new discoveries in your field. Beef up your C.V. with online teaching skills -- you’ll have a great answer when you’re asked about online teaching experience and familiarity with online teaching platforms.

Impact Learning Outcomes

For some topics, online teaching can have advantages over in-person teaching due to the unique nature of online courses and content consumption. Learning in topics as diverse as music, psychology and science may flourish with the aid of different camera angles and the ability to reach people in their comfort zone and on their terms.

Online learning can deliver on the promise of differentiated instruction. You can talk with students while sharing visual materials and auditory cues more seamlessly than in the classroom. For students you are already reaching in the classroom setting, you can experiment with a flipped classroom model where you share content in online lectures and reserve class time for individualized attention. See if these approaches lead to richer class discussion and increased learning outcomes.

Realistic Time and Resource Commitment

While the concept of online learning has been discussed for years, technology is now available to make teaching online realistic for those of us with limited time and technical skills.

With the help of some equipment you may already own (like your smartphone), you can create an online course and get your voice out into the world in an afternoon. I’ve seen online teaching move beyond instructors with technical expertise to subject-matter experts with only a willingness to spend some initial time getting up to speed with technology.

Shape the Conversation

I love classroom teaching and believe the reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated. There will always be a place for learning and exchanging ideas in person, and online teaching can inform and strengthen these exchanges. My hope is that more educators with hands-on teaching experience will join the online education revolution to mold its future. We’ve only just scratched the surface of what is possible for online learning, and we need experienced educators to jump in and propel us forward

[09/26/13]   Building a 'Perspectful' Edtech Ecosystem in India

India’s education technology industry is poised for explosive growth over the next few years. Over the past 20 years, India has enjoyed an annual average GDP growth rate of 5.8%. Although recent months have seen a slowdown, analysts estimate a growth increase of up to 7.5% within a year. The mobile industry is slated to be the second largest market by 2016, and half of its 1.2 billion people are under the age of 25.

So if you want to make an impact in education at scale, India is the the place to be. Just ask serial entrepreneur John Danner, who co-founded Rocketship Education and devoted a 4-part series on his blog outlining the insights from his travels there last winter.

While the opportunities seem exciting, there are many challenges in connecting Indian startups with investors around the world. Enter Perspectful, a newly launched advisory firm that helps investors make more meaningful and effective edtech investments. I recently caught up with one of the founders, Shabnam Aggarwal, to learn more about her take on the Indian education ecosystem.

What drew you to working in education in India?

I am a Bay Area native, and after studying electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon and working stateside, I realized there were more opportunities to make an impact abroad. In 2008 I moved to Cambodia to dive into the world of social impact. A year later I moved to India to work with a professor from Carnegie Mellon to build English games on low-cost mobile phones for children in rural areas.

This is when I became obsessed with the potential of technology to make an impact on student learning. In April 2012 I joined Pearson in India as the Head of Strategic Partnerships, where I spent a year working with local edtech entrepreneurs to determine how Pearson could support their work. During that time I crossed paths with Josh Engel, who became my co-founder.

What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?

Perspectful wants to channel more investment dollars to promising entrepreneurs in India by enabling more risk-tolerant foreign investors to enter the market and make an impact. Our efforts are focused on 3 core areas:
•Sourcing: Identify education ventures that increase access and offer high quality learning opportunities
•Diligence: Align and mobilize capital
•Mentorship: Provide assistance to entrepreneurs on content, team, product, processes and technology

What are the challenges for edtech investors in India?

One of the biggest problems is finding the right entrepreneurs that meet their investment philosophy and are at the right stage for funding. Through numerous conversations with investors who were curious about the Indian edtech market, a common concern was being able to identify and support the right entrepreneurs, given their limited travel to this region. And even after the investment, support for entrepreneurs require more hands-on attention that can’t come from Silicon Valley.

From our research, there are hundreds of investors for whom "education in India" is a portfolio they'd like to pursue over the next five years. We've personally spoken with at least 50 of them, with a good majority looking to make investments this year.

The most well-known education investment firm in India is Sandeep Aneja's Kaizen, which focuses on later stage ventures to mitigate risk. The latest philanthropic fund is Ashish Dhawan's Central Square Foundation, which solely focuses on nonprofit ventures. These two firms are just the tip of the iceberg when you think about the increase in VC investments and actual dollars going into education over the past decade.

The edtech ecosystem is just starting to develop. There have been a few social entrepreneurship pitchfests, and Pearson’s Affordable Learning Fund, in partnership with Village Capital, just kicked off the first education-focused incubator.

What is one of your current projects?

In April 2013, Atlanta-based Gray Ghost Ventures First Light Fund invested in Sudiksha to build a chain of affordable private preschools. They then decided to hire us to help scale that model to support another 50+ schools. Building, recruiting and creating processes for that type of growth is a daunting task, so Josh is in Hyderabad right now working with that team.

What are the main challenges to the effective adoption of education technologies in India?

India's education technology ecosystem today is where the U.S. was about 15 years ago. We don't have centralized systems for teachers and educators to connect, streamline systems and share best practices.

In terms of actual tech adoption, the challenges aren’t that different from any other region in the world. Currently, almost all the attention is focused on hardware sales--mainly Android tablets/phones--and there is very little software or programmatic support to ensure effective implementation. There is huge potential for products on the Android platform for teachers, parents, administrators to manage and improve learning outcomes.

Which edtech companies have caught your attention out there?

TutorVista is heralded as the darling of edtech in India. It was one of the first Indian edtech companies to expand services to U.S. and Europe, and in 2009 was acquired by Pearson for $127 million. This acquisition also included the subsidiary company, Edurite, a school management company that provides private schools with services to revamp infrastructure, technology, and teacher training.

On the flip side, all the buzz and growth potential don’t always lead to positive outcomes. The case in example is Educomp, which went public in 2006 but has spent the last 5 years in a downward spiral. Despite the fact that the adoption numbers for its most touted edtech product, Smart Class, grew from 100 to 6,550 schools in 2012, net profit margins have fallen 61% in the last four years. The stock has fallen 91% over the last three years. This has created quite a few disgruntled schools, parents--and investors.

What we’re seeing today are smaller efforts targeted at parents-as-payers, such as after-school tutoring products, informal “educational” (often used more for marketing than actual learning) gaming apps and test prep for IIT entrance exams.

Where do you see the brightest spots for innovation in edtech in India?

The areas that excite me most from an entrepreneurial perspective are the unregulated markets: preschools (a $2 billion market projected to grow at an annual rate of 40-45%), supplemental tools for K-12 classrooms, tutoring, assessments and test prep.

Over the next few years, I think we will see services that empower students to play a more active role in their learning process. We will see more and more students in India gaining access, via mobile devices, to tools like Coursera and Khan Academy that are better tailored to the Indian culture and context.

It's an insanely exciting time to be at the front line with such innovative entrepreneurs. I'm meeting entrepreneurs who are able to put adaptive learning tools in the hands of poor children at just $2/month. And companies such as FunToot can show a 20% improvement on learning outcomes at that cost. I don't know anywhere else in the world you can achieve that kind of cost-benefit ratio in education for the poor.

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