Technology has enabled greater penetration of quality educational resources and services, enabling students from rural Indian hamlets to access educational resources often originating in Ivy League universities.
Apps like Coursera and edX are online learning platforms that offer massive open online courses, specialisations and degrees. These apps are famous for providing digital courses in machine learning, big data, data science and computer science among others. There are also apps like Byju’s, Toppr and Duolingo which supplement the school education system by providing various interactive learning techniques and content. Another segment that is extensively covered by educational apps like Internshala, Naukri, Exam Time, Gradeup and Adda247 is linked to success in competitive exams. These apps also help in attaining internships or in successfully cracking the job interviews. Apps like SchoolConnects have also ventured into the space of linking parents to educational service providers and have been largely successful.
Popularity of education apps
Apple's iPad alone contains roughly 65,000 educational apps. Educational apps are finding several takers across various age groups in India. Nearly 90% of Indian respondents in a recent survey said they were willing to pay for educational apps. The survey was conducted by ed-tech focused investor Gray Matters Capital and included over 2,000 respondents and insights from 42 education entrepreneurs. The survey also stated that relevance of the information provided and ease of use were the other important considerations among respondents. Half of those surveyed were willing to spend over `250 ($3.50) per month on e-learning.
The survey stated, respondents in the age group of 18-25 preparing for competitive exams, largely adopt a hybrid model that includes apps and classrooms. However, 85% of such students were open to paying between `100 and `250 per month on educational apps. In comparison, parents of school-going kids were willing to spend more on apps. Out of the ed-tech firms tracked in the survey, about 50 have app downloads greater than a million. The test preparation app Byju’s and Language learning app Duolingo were among the most popular. There are diverse apps catering to different users in the market. Arshan Vakil, Founder and CEO of another English learning app Enguru commented to BE about the app - "The Enguru app teaches you English in your mother tongue right from the basics and is available in 28 languages. The main focus of the company is to help users increase their employability and concentrates on the age group between 15-34 years".
Why is e-learning effective and gaining popularity?
Educational apps act as great assets to one's learning experience as they provide a combination of innovative learning and core learning methods. The apps have made it easier for students to deal with ongoing competition. Mobile learning and mobile tools, now more than ever, have become an integral part of the education system. Many apps include animated videos to enhance the learning experience.
Learning in a classroom is more personal and interactive, but there are a lot of benefits associated with online courses as well. These courses are highly convenient and also affordable. There are no specific age limit or qualification requirements for most of these courses. Education apps have latched on to this phenomenon in a big away - aiding and facilitating various e-learning courses.
App-based learning promotes active and independent learning. It saves time as the students can train themselves not only a day-to-day basis but also on weekends or whenever they are free. Apps also provide features that include discussion boards and chats that enable users to interact with other users and experts. Interactive learning opportunities provided by these apps allow professionals and students to balance their lives while preparing for a career or a career change.
Many of the educational apps are of very large sizes and take up a lot of digital space. Ed-tech apps must look to mitigate this challenge. They must also look to increase their user engagement by creating more personalised learning paths. Monetising these apps is another challenge that needs to be addressed in near future.