Rengarajan M, Co-founder and CEO, Librari

An out-of-the-box thinker and successful leader with over 18 years of experience in the education space, Rengarajan has worked with some of the leading brands like Aptech, Zee Learn, VidyaShilp Academy, and Sparkles Montessori in the past. He has also played an integral role in creating brands like Kidzee, Mount Litera Zee School, Oi Playschool, and Early Innings.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all strata of society and business. The education sector is no exception to this. The crisis led to the closing of schools and colleges all across the world. It created a void. It adversely impacted billions of students globally who were out of the classrooms due to the sudden closure of campuses. To keep the education system running, and to capitalize on that void, educational institutions have been adapting to the situation. This has led to a surge in e-learning. Teaching is moving online. This distinctive rise of online learning has completely and dramatically changed the face and fate of the education technology sector also referred to as the Edtech sector. It will probably not be an exaggeration to state that the Covid-19 pandemic and the crisis have become a catalyst in upgrading the learning process. This worldwide experiment, a forced one at that, of remote learning has benefitted everyone, from students to educators, from startups to investors. It has proved to be a boon for the Edtech sector making it one of the largest and fastest-growing contemporary industries the world over.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, the sector was growing rapidly but the last few months have seen unanticipated action. Reopening of institutions looks uncertain this year, couple it with the increased anxiety amongst parents about their child’s future, and online education will continue being thrust as the main medium of learning. Things have reached a juncture where, even if schools and colleges return to full-scale operations, online will continue to thrive. 

Universal Education become truly universal

Learning doesn’t stop at school. In times of ever-increasing disruption across industries, continuous learning, up skilling, and re-skilling are the new normal. From early learning to higher education to career development and up skilling continued learning, e-learning offers solutions at every level. Online education has democratized education in the true sense, while it is slowly becoming the main mode of knowledge consumption for young adults, millennial are using it as a tool to skill and reskill.

Convenient and affordable:

Offlet, early education is all about learning through experience. The youngest students can benefit from immersive 360 environments, used to enhance and complement the real-world exploration and play that builds a solid foundation in the pre-school years. There’s so much potential for bringing the curriculum to life using virtual and augmented reality experiences, from visiting far-flung corners of the world to holding the human heart in your hands. VR and AR open up exciting learning opportunities for students with specific educational needs. Many children with autism find the sensory immersion of a 360 video (complete with audio through headphones) a comforting and safe way to learn new concepts – all while knowing they can easily remove themselves from the situation if necessary. Schools are excited to use simple portal to quickly send their own content to student headsets.

The pandemic has indeed disrupted the education industry completely. It has emphasized the dissemination of knowledge and the importance of democratizing it. Today, anyone who has access to the internet can learn. People don’t need a library or anyone’s physical presence to gain knowledge. Online learning is convenient all the more for millennials who are more time-conscious, digitally sophisticated, and always on the go. Everything is on their finger-clicks. 

Personalized solutions in diverse categories:

Online education is not only flexible in terms of setting the pace. It is also flexible for individual needs, abilities, and interests. It makes the learning experience customized. In the online world, there are infinite subjects, topics, and skills to learn and teach. A lot of the universities, including some of the leading IITs, now offer online versions of most of their programs. These can be tailor-made to suit individual preferences. Gamification of content, by addition of audio-visual multimedia like chats, games, community networks, social learning is not only ensuring engagement but retention of information as well. This, in turn, is encouraging people to come back to learn more.

Changing role of the educator:

AI has already been applied to education primarily in some tools that help develop skills and testing systems. As AI educational solutions continue to mature, the hope is that AI can help fill needs gaps in learning and teaching and allow schools and teachers to do more than ever before. AI can drive efficiency, personalization and streamline admin tasks to allow teachers the time and freedom to provide understanding and adaptability—uniquely human capabilities where machines would struggle. By leveraging the best attributes of machines and teachers, the vision for AI in education is one where they work together for the best outcome for students. Since the students of today will need to work in a future where AI is the reality, it’s important that our educational institutions expose students to and use the technology.      

Edtech future:

The future of edtech looks promising. While the world is still battling with and overcoming the Covid-19 crisis, ed-tech startups are expecting remarkable growth as the number of people turning to digital learning is increasing. Startups in this sector are growing exponentially owing to the transformation of the learning process and digitization of the education system. Investment in this space is increasing and startups in the country are expanding globally. 

Online education has been around much before the crisis, but Covid-19 has given the sector a thrust that is likely to ensure the sector remains a sunrise one for the next decade. Although studies on the efficacy of online learning are still under development, there are enough researches that suggest its positive impact. Therefore, it is safe to say that the changes the pandemic has caused are here to stay. 

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