Where is Education Tech Headed?


  • 1+1 = 3 refers to partnerships between education tech companies and universities

  • The New Free Ride slice of the pie comprises the free open courses

  • New American Prepare is the new age "Test preps"

  • Platform EDU are companies providing an LMS to existing universities

  • Tower of Babel itemizes the companies that teach languages - human and computer languages

  • Knowledge Communities is the quadrant where peers contribute content

  • Smart Content is the interactive content available through tablets


Over the last few years education technology has seen an intense pace of innovations. The introduction of new ways of learning like the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) has effectively challenged the current paradigms! Use of Technology has collapsed distances and has made flexi-learning take new meanings!

In this article we take stock of education technology as applied to higher education and highlight the ways Indian Higher Education can adapt and benefit from this innovations.For a vast country like India, with its challenges on infrastructure, access and socio-economic issues, we should embrace the power of technology to the maximum. Understanding and accepting the fact that the conventional campus based education should co-exist with online learning (Distance Learning) in order to utilise the demographic dividend will alone help progress.

On-campus courses are setup in a manner where students are required to log in to the education portal and read the pre-class reading material before they come in to class.

Education Technology Landscape

Moving back, the idea of radio cabs was initiated way back in 2001, when Mega Cabs and Fast Track were the only players available as small fleets. Soon, other operators like Easy Cabs, Savaari etc. all came within 1 year.

The chart below summarizes the new companies in education technology and the sectors they operate in

Applications of Education Technology for Indian Higher Ed Institutions (HEI)

The broad applications for Indian HEIs are in the areas of

1. In-campus education: Increased attention paid by teachers to students. Makes learning a competitive game
2. Distance education: Enables students to experience the campus and the class room.

Application In Campus Education

On-campus courses are setup in a manner where students are required to log in to the education portal and read the pre-class reading material before they come in to class. Class starts with a quiz where students are evaluated on pre-class reading material. The scores on the quizzes are factored into the overall grading for the course. Students are also provided feedback if they consistently under-perform on pre-class quizzes. Class sessions shall involve the teacher discussing a case study that uses pre-reading material as background for the case. Students shall discuss the case in class and arrive at a solution to the case. At the end of the class the students shall be put to complete a quiz and a practice session where exercises are given for skill building - for example through crosswords for learning definitions or through games to learn specific skills. This approach is shown in the table

Table: Pedagogic Approach - Campus Education


Learning (as applicable): Book (reference), PPT, PDF (reference), Digitized Interaction, Animation, Video


??Quiz for Learning Confirmation of Pre-Class Learning (5 minutes)
?? Identification and addressing of gaps (10 minutes)
?? Learning (as applicable) (40 minutes):
?? Debrief (10 minutes)


Learning Confirmation on Classroom and Post-class Learning (10 minutes)
Practice Session on Skill Building.  Read More

Education technology solutions allow teachers to spend more time talking to students through case studies and discussions in class. Since quizzes and pre-reading can easily be distributed and pre-reading can be made as pre-watching with the use of video, it would increase teacher-student and interaction. Over the next year this will make a significant impact on learning outcomes. Further, the fact that student performance on reading, quizzes and assignments adds up a to a "leader board" - a board with each students scores and rank versus all other students, it makes the learning process a competitive game that students enjoy.

Application In Distance Education

The key challenges in distance education are 1. Access to high quality teachers
2 . Staying motivated to complete the course
3. Someone who can answer questions that crop up during the course of study Education Tech today allows HEI to offer the videos by the best teachers available to students. It also enables creation of competitive games that keep the learner motivated to complete the course. And with the innovative use of Question and Answer forums large classrooms can interact and ask each other questions and obtain answers.

A software application dedicated to keep track of the scores and performance of participants in the course enables students and teachers to ask and answer questions. It should also allow video courses of great teachers to be accessible instantly to students. Badges, points and rank to people returing to the application shall motivate them to complete the course.

The Next Big Thing - Internet of Learning Things

The next goal in education technology is to enable students to experience things hands-on and to simulate real life situations. The direction here is clearly the Internet of Things or the Internet of Learning Things as we like to say. The possibilities of hooking up lab equipments, robots, mobile phones and drones into a learning platform which enables students to learn how to build and operate physical objects through a digital interface is where the huge opportunities lie. For a long time now, online learning has been constrained by its inability to interact with real world. This barrier is going away.

Log in to using your Facebook or Google user id and try out. In summary judicious use of Technology as a Differentiator and offering a comprehensive Learning environment to the student will both increase learnability and support large pool of youth to harness education despite all the constraints that we face as a country.

About the Author

S. Vaitheeswaran is the Group CEO at Manipal Education & Medical Group ( MEMG). He has a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Strong business development professional skilled in Pre-sales, Management Consulting, Business Strategy, Business Analysis, and Automotive.

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