Education is only a ladder to gather fruit from the tree of knowledge, not the fruit itself.
Digital education is the innovative use of digital tools and technologies during teaching and learning and is often referred to as Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) or e-Learning. Exploring the use of digital technologies allows educators to design engaging learning opportunities in the courses they teach, and these can take the form of blended or fully online courses and programs. Digital learning is a learning that is accompanied by technology or by instructional practice that makes effective use of technology. It encircles the application of a wide spectrum of practices including mingle and virtual learning.
Digital learning enhances personalized learning. Digital learning offers huge learning opportunities. Digital learning amplifies competency based learning. Digital learning enables self paced learning, flexibility to access and also enables Distance learning.
BENEFITS OF DIGITAL LEARNING
- Live and interactive' digital learning empower the learners to receive par excellence, quality education anytime and anywhere. Whether it is a career and technical education or project-based learning, it gives learners a more interactive platform for learning and assessments.
- Free online courses open up avenues for both education providers and students. People are more confident to take these courses and when they see results, they do not hesitate to pay for more
- Online education allows students to plan their future course of action and fast track their careers
- Through live and interactive digital learning, ed-tech firms are imparting comprehensive and specialized knowledge which will enable children and adults to learn with a purpose and instill a sense of belief in them
- Such offerings are changing the way India learns by giving students an edge in learning, along with an opportunity to progress in their career.
- The impact of new technologies in educational contexts has been mostly positive as new technologies have allowed educators to enhance their knowledge, skills, and therefore, enhance the standard of education through a constructivist learning environment with digital storytelling
- Audiovisual aids, interactive, educational simulations help understand concepts and theories enabling better learning
- The students gain knowledge from masters of the subjects from world-class institutes which is something they have always desired
- They also benefit by learning from eminent corporate leaders, business academicians as well as the industry connoisseurs. These experts share their valuable insights on the relevant, practical, and must-know aspects of the corporate world, enabling the students to gain comprehensive and specialized knowledge.
IMPACTS IN REMOTE AREAS
- Digital education is breaking the numerous barriers that are preventing students in rural India from receiving a quality education in the physically bound classrooms:
- 'Direct to Device' technology will empower these students to get quality education, anytime and anywhere
- It will enable them to save time, by having more freedom to move at their own pace as well as help them save money by avoiding "hidden costs" of education, like transportation fees (gas, parking fees)
- By not having to be at a certain class at a certain time, it will assist working students to not limit their work schedule, helping them to not lose on wages that they can potentially earn
- With the flexibility of online courses, students can conserve more hours and more money.
- Future Implications
- With the Digital India program's vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, the education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come. Technology-led reach and easy access will bring about a socio-economic difference in the lives of Indian learners.
GOVERNMENT STRATEGIES FOR E-LEARNING
According to the report, the Digital Education Division of MHRD in collaboration with Education Departments of states and union territories also highlights the critical task of providing digital education at the doorstep of the students. Some of the major mediums to connect to the students were using social media tools like WhatsApp Group for all the classes, online classes through YouTube channel, Google meet, Skype, etc, an e-learning portal, TV (Doordarshan regional channels), Radio (AIR), use of Diksha was the most prominent choice of all the stakeholders.
A statement issued in this regard said: “School education is envisaged as a comprehensive and convergent program committed to universalizing digital education across the wide spectrum of schools from pre-nursery to higher secondary classes. The quality of digital education has acquired a new urgency in the present context of globalization.”
DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, Online MOOC courses, On AIR – Shiksha Vani, DAISY by NIOS for differently-abled, e-PathShala, National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) to develop e-content and energized books, telecast through TV channels, e-Learning portals, webinars, chat groups, distribution of books and other digital initiatives along with State/UT governments.
SCOPE OF DIGITAL LEARNING IN INDIA
In India, internet usage is currently showing an increasing trend. According to the research report, Indian internet usage will be around 550 million by 2020. The e-learning market is showing an increasing trend with the increase in internet usage. In India, the estimated e-learning market size is $22 Billons and expected to reach $ 32 B in 2020 and the education sector is contributing the most.
PROBLEMS FACED BY DEVELOPING NATIONS
Some of the major challenges for digital education are:
- Resource and internet connectivity related challenges. One of the main challenges for digital education in India is poor internet connectivity in rural areas and some part of urban areas. The majority of the population across India still has no access to the internet and a large population in rural areas is still illiterate in the field of digital technology. More Innovations are required to make digital education more interactive and robust.
- Shortage of trained teachers. A major obstacle in the use of digital education in rural areas is the lack of knowledge and skills. There is a shortage of teachers, formally trained on digital technology.
- In some of the academic institutions in rural areas, school teachers and college professors are not interested in using digital tools for conducting classes. They feel that a lot of information is explained to the students at one go through the digital medium and they prefer traditional teaching methods of chalk and blackboard. In rural areas, primary teachers and senior teachers are reluctant to get trained and adopt digital technologies for digital education in school because they are in the view that these disruptive technologies are out to replace them permanently.
- Poor maintenance and up-gradation of digital equipment. In rural areas, maintenance and up-gradation of digital equipment are some of the major challenges. This is largely due to budgetary constraints by the government. The digital education projects in rural schools are not self-sustainable. At the initial stage, various projects have been launched by the government for the development of digital education, but later, they have not been taken due care for the maintenance of digital equipment which is affecting the digital education development in rural areas. Insufficient funds Digital education involves effective and efficient usage of appropriate and latest hardware and software technology available in the market. In developing countries like India, digital technology implementation into education systems is a difficult task as it requires huge funds and infrastructure. Through the Digital India program, the government has promised availability of funds for technology implementation but lack or insufficiency of finances leads to redundant and obsolete infrastructure and equipment in rural areas.