Education sector has always been considered to be one of the biggest gainers from the Internet. Ever since Internet became mainstream in India, we hoped the digital education would take off soon. However, in spite of some significant steps taken in this direction (such as e-learning websites, educational gadgets like tablets and laptops), we haven't seen the digital education/e-learning segment becoming mainstream as yet.
However, a new push to the digital education is expected from the e-commerce players. Recently, Flipkart launched Flipkart Students section under which it offers content such as e-learning material, online tests and certification courses. Snapdeal also launched a similar services earlier this year.
Arrival of e-commerce players in the e-learning segment is definitely a welcome move, but will it really help the overall education segment? Why are e-commerce players now interested in the e-learning? Will this help make digital education accessible to more people? We attempt at analysing the trend:
Why e-commerce players are so keen on education
India's education market is growing at a rapid pace. According to India Ratings and Research Pvt. Ltd., the education market is estimated to be around Rs. 5.9 trillion in 2014-15. The e-commerce players want to tap the potential with their customised services.
“eLearning is one of the fastest growing industries and the large players want a share of that pie. All the three players need new categories to expand beyond their current customer base and eLearning gives them exactly that. In addition the eLearning category would be a positive margin category thus helping them build a better bottom line,” says Mr. Ashish Jhalani, Founder, eTailing India - "Voice of Indian eCommerce".
“eCommerce's major consumer base are Indians and a lot of those are students. By offering this category the players are simply extending their offerings for the customer base they already have.”
How it impacts the segment
The likes of Flipkart and Snapdeal are big names in the e-commerce segments. With these players targeting the online education category, the segment will receive the much needed wider visibility, competition in the category that will bring down price, and most importantly users have an ease of a large platform to get content.
“The e-learning industry in India today is one of the fastest growing categories in the Internet space. Valued currently at over 4 billion dollars, online education is poised to experience a boom in the near future with big e-commerce players beginning to take notice of this category,” says Mr.Pavan Chauhan, MD and co-founder – Meritnation.
“The benefits of cost effectiveness and flexibility associated with e-learning are increasingly finding many takers. The number of online courses that are now being offered to meet the demand is also growing exponentially.”
Why it matters to you
E-education brings customized content as per learning style, collaborative learning, self-paced learning, saves on time and definitely is cost-effective. One of the best advantages of e-learning/education is reducing dependence on traditional system of learning, and allow teachers and students open up to the global knowledge.
Mr.Pavan Chauhan points out, “Lack of quality teachers, coupled with infrastructural deficiencies, the education sector today is facing several challenges – uninspiring or outdated textbooks, high student-teacher ratio, disinterested students etc. Online learning can be an answer to several of these problems.”
If the e-learning/education market grows, it will gradually revamp the education landscape in India. While the tall claims of bridging the digital divide in India never delivered, the new development can actually bring about the much-needed change in the education segment.
What do you think about the new trend? Let us know your views in the comments section below:
Image source: 360training.com