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Will online education work in India?

 The coronavirus pandemic came unannounced to shake millions of school-going students across the country, which led to the closures of all the schools in the nation, leaving millions of teachers, administrators, and students at the mercy of online learning.

The time could not have been better for the launch of online education in India on a massive scale. The digital medium e-Learning offers various advantages, including the attributes and endowments of individual learning. Besides, the digital medium provides access to unlimited content and learning resources at the touch of a button, including the flexibility of operating from a non-physical learning environment. Schools have advanced digital resources to accompany online learning and ensure that those platforms are utilized to their fullest i.e., digitized textbook, PowerPoint presentations, videos, imagery, interactive sessions, and YouTube videos.

Students want a personalized, mobile approach to education, and that is exactly what e-learning provides. As students in traditional classrooms may not get the personalized attention they need to get their concepts clarified.

 This pandemic is giving a hike and defining moment for online learning platforms. Introducing an expanded version of ed technology is going to change how students learn and how teachers educate. The schools which up till now are regularly increasing focus on the traditional whiteboard approach to education, all the more ready to move towards the online methodology of education. They are embracing online education with open arms.

Online education in India provides students from all over the country to enroll in courses online without having to visit the faraway school premises. As it eliminates all restrictions, allowing individuals from all over the nation to complete the courses.

The online platform providers play a pivotal role in the online education ecosystem. Primary and secondary supplemental education like tutor marketplace, video content, adaptive learning, and abundance of free content along with the government initiatives to drive adoption of online education such as SWAYAM, E-Basta, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RSMA), Skill India, and Digital India will enable the infrastructure needed by students to study online.

Now with the launch of national education policy 2020 integration of technology to improve multiple aspects of education will be supported and adopted, given the explosion pace of technological development allied with the shared creativity of tech-savvy teachers. New technologies involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, smart boards, handheld computing devices, adaptive computer testing for student development, other forms of educational software, and hardware will not just change what students learn in the classroom but how they learn.                                                                                                                                                                                       

The thrust of technological interventions will improve teaching-learning and evaluation processes, supporting teacher preparation and professional development, enhancing educational access, and streamlining educational planning, management, and administration. Including processes related to admissions, attendance, assessments, etc.

New circumstances and realities require new initiatives. Teachers will need suitable training and development to be effective online educators. It cannot be assumed that a good teacher in a traditional classroom will automatically be a good teacher in an online classroom. Besides changes required in pedagogy, online assessments also require changes as per the instructions of the National Education Policy 2020. There are numerous challenges to conduct online examinations at scale, including limitations on the types of questions that can be asked in an online environment, handling network, and power disruptions, and preventing unethical practices. Certain types of courses/subjects, such as performing arts and science practical have limitations in the online/digital education space, which can be reduced partially with innovative measures. Further, unless online education is blended with experiential and activity-based learning, it will tend to become a screen-based education with limited focus on the social, affective, and psychomotor dimensions of learning. 

Technology in education is a journey and not a destination, and capacity will be needed to orchestrate the various ecosystem players to implement policy objectives. A dedicated unit to create the ecosystem of digital infrastructure, digital content, and capacity building will be created in the Ministry to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education. Since technology is rapidly evolving and needs specialists to deliver high-quality e-learning, a vibrant ecosystem has to be encouraged. To create solutions that not only solve India’s challenges of scale, diversity, equity but also evolve while keeping up with the rapid changes in technology. This center will, therefore, consist of experts drawn from the field of administration, education, educational technology, digital pedagogy and assessment, e-governance, etc. 

That’s how online education will succeed in India with the help of government initiatives and the new education policy 2020.

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