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Should online education system go the Netflix way post Covid19?

 

With Covid 19’s devastating impact on traditional ways of living and learning, online education is fast emerging as the new normal. Safe, economic, location agnostic and easy to handle – e-learning is going to be the next big thing which will disrupt the education system of not only India but the entire world.

 

Moreover, Union Budget 2020-21 also spoke about the need to make India’s youth more employable through better higher education opportunities. This push to widen access to higher education and raise the profile of Indian institutions globally, restrictions on online learning are starting to lift and the top 100 institutions in India’s National Institutional Ranking Framework have been given the right to apply to offer fully online degrees, in certain subject areas. Sensing the urgency of going online, most players in the Indian education field are joining the band wagon to go online.

 

Hundreds of edu-tech platforms are already in operation in India, along with hundred other from across the globe. From academics to art, music to media studies and fitness to fashion – online platforms are offering learning of all kinds.

 

However, the need for holistic learning platforms offering an array of courses spread across different domains is now being increasingly felt among parents and students. This is the age of omnichannels and aggregators, stakeholders of education must start thinking along this line. Sectors like financial services, healthcare, retail, media and telecommunication have already implemented this with considerable success.

 

Players in the edu-tech space too must work towards building a cross-channel course strategy that customers/students can utilize productively to enhance their user experience and achieve greater learning impact. Millennials today, prefer multiple options in everything including learning. Hence, a platform where the courses and their supporting resources are designed and orchestrated to incorporate multiple channels of learning would just be the thing today’s kids and youth would love.

 

Challenges of online education aggregators

 

Online edu-tech businesses have failed to build an aggregator for three primary reasons:

 

The job is complex     

Customers buy products getting some distinct job done and we see that the biggest aggregators like Netflix (get entertained), Uber (getting from point A to point B), Amazon (buy something online), Airbnb (a place to stay), and Facebook (connect with friends and family) have very clear jobs done. However, when it comes to online education, it becomes tricky. This is because here the customers have a varied range of jobs to be done than that of any other aggregator including – find a job, learn new skills, satisfy curiosity, keep brain sharp, explore new fields et al. This diversity makes it complex for an aggregator to adequately solve any one of the demands.

 

Supply not satisfactorily modularized

While booking a car, we do not care who is going to pick us up, till the car is clean and is on time. But education is very different. Students will be very particular about who is teaching a course. This gives faculty with proven records power over the platform, making it harder for the aggregator to influence its power and force faculty members to accept its terms.

 

Requires immense effort from the user

In most aggregators it takes extremely little effort from users end. On Amazon, we can search for, find, and buy a product in two minutes. Uber sends us a cab at the touch of a button. Netflix recommends us shows we enjoy, and we continue to watch its content for hours without leaving our settee or bed.

 

On the other hand, education aggregator platform requires genuine effort. Students will have to settle on what they want to learn, hold yourself accountable and take the effort to find the right course, and spend hours listening to lectures, note-taking, reading etc.

 

The fact that online education has involved a lot of work for very less guarantee of its success, in the form of jobs, promotions, or skill on a topic – has kept big players away from making an education aggregator platform.

 

Benefits of using such a platform

There are a plethora of benefits one can attain from an education aggregator. The flow of information, content and courses is ever increasing. Every day, new data and info can be added thus helping students stay on top of information.  Such a platform will also be budget friendly for users which will be an added advantage. The benefits may vary, depending on the type the platform use, but most advantages will help both the students and businesses remain competitive and successful.

 

Here are some key benefits-

 

Cost reduction 

Costs will be lower compared to if one would do it separately on multiple platforms. As businesses including edu-tech are looking for ways to stay within a budget, using content aggregators are viable options.

 

Simple and easy

As the content aggregation is done automatically on the platforms, minimum input is required from the user, making it simple and user friendly while creating significant and positive impacts. Moreover, aggregation streamlines the process of curation and puts things in an easy-to-handle position.

 

Customizable

A comprehensive mix of courses including academics, music, art, drama, fashion, movies et al, will not only offer the learners a one-stop-destination for all their learning need but also truly personalise and democratise education. One of the most effective benefits of an aggregator platform is its customization options. With multiple options available, students can customize their aggregator courses tailored only to what they want.

 

Competitive monitoring

On the other hand, like all other aggregator channels, it will ensure unified customer experience including better monitoring and tracking of one’s learning performance and progress. One of the biggest advantages a student can have is to know what fellow students are up to. While there are many ways to do this, an aggregator learning platform is an easy method to do it. Keeping an eye on competitors can also help a student prepare for future while helping in staying on top of the latest education trends.

 

Quick learning

An aggregator learning platform also provides data and information that is up to date. As part of the aggregation process, collected data happens to be the latest. So if students want to learn something about a specific subject, they will know that what they’re reading is the latest that is there.

 

Improved engagement

Such a platform will also enhance their learning experiences and as a logical outcome increase their retention span. This is helpful on its own, but it also allows a student to engage with others, respond to questions, concerns, and write feedbacks. A close level of interaction will foster closer relationships thus enhancing general level of engagement.

 

Greater support and security

Online education aggregators have also helped alleviate challenges in the education sector at grass roots level. By offering audio visual learning material and solutions in forms of PowerPoint presentations and modules, they have created a considerable impact. Being online students have the freedom to decide on the time and method by which they would like to engage. Moreover, by providing help and support round the clock, such platforms prove to be beneficial for last minute doubts and queries. One platform means one time log-in and one password. It also means lesser security hazard and lesser time spent on logging in and out of multiple platforms.

 

Imagine a platform like Netflix, where diverse e-learning courses, online training and skill building modules, updates on competitive exams, and preparation strategy, revision through their dedicated test series, are on offer! Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Author: Baishali Mukherjee

Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.

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