Will Education Sector see the advent of E-learning as the Next Big Wave in India?

The open and distance education (ODE) system was introduced to fulfill the aspirations of the young generation of our country. With more than 500 universities and around 30,000 colleges, India at present has the world’s second largest education system.

However, a large section of the society in India still remains deprived of higher education. It is witnessed that only 12% of 18- to 23-year-olds participate in higher education, whereas the corresponding world average is 23%. Experts are of the opinion that 20% in higher education is a minimum requirement for economic development in the modern world. In such a scenario, distance-mode courses have opened up a new path to build, nurture and sustain a strong base of a value-added educational system in the country.

Distance-education courses are convenient in many ways. They are very cost effective and flexible. For example, you can get an MBA degree by studying at home. You may appear for an online exam after studying at home. You also have an opportunity to pursue your studies simultaneously with a career. Now a PhD can also be completed from an open university.

However, one prejudice that unfortunately exists in some sections of our society is that credentials obtained from open universities are less valuable to those from conventional institutions. This is not true at all. One should rather appreciate the fact that this mode of learning has been established to empower learners to study at their own convenience – “Anyone, Anywhere and Anytime,” the 3As are the main philosophy behind ODE.

Courses offered by open universities have a different outlook in the sense that the process of imparting education in open universities is focused on learner-centric flexibility in which the student plays a pivotal role.

The ODE system in India has come a long way in the past 30 years and its impact is being felt all over. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring high quality. While a lot of effort is being put into improving the quality of the study material, steps are also being taken at the national level on enhancing the quality through its integration with Information and Communication Technology (ICT).  ICT, if used creatively, can make a big difference in the way ODE courses are conducted and help students acquire 21st-century skills and abilities such as digital literacy, innovative thinking, creativity, sound reasoning and effective communication.

Moving trends towards E-learning

E-learning is one of the most enriching, high-quality multimedia-enriched personalised and interactive platform that enables the students to learn in the most pragmatic and persuasive techniques. It is extremely flexible and convenient, in regards to its operations from anywhere at anytime.

E-learning is beneficial for professionals who cannot devote full time to conventional learning methods. Besides, E-learning is advantageous for those professionals who wish to leverage their career by taking up courses related to their work area and up scaling their value professionally. Moreover, E-learning facilitates students suppleness to work by themselves independently at anytime from anywhere with the assistance of helpful sources- videos, information, documents, reports, as a guidance to their coursework that enables a complete in depth understanding of concepts. E-learning makes education apt and pragmatic in today’s technological age by means of intuitive multi-media enrichment, making studies simpler and interesting. For instance, text alone does not allow you to get a “feel” of Shakespeare’s plays while a zoology teacher cannot make a killer whale come alive in a classroom. Multi-media enables us to provide a way by which you can experience your subject in a profound way.

The future of E-learning in India looks very promising and the day is not very far off when students will come to this system by choice and not by compulsion.

We would like to know your viewpoints on E-learning- a significant way of transforming education globally.

LCMS- Managing Content Efficiently!

What is LCMS?

The Learning Content Management System (LCMS) offers a collection of documents and procedures to regulate the workflow in organizations and educational institutes. LCMS concentrates on assembling the learning content. This Learning Content Management System gives authors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts the means to create e-learning content more efficiently.

The Learning Content Management System offers the flexibility to create just the required or needed content in time and meet the needs of individual learners or group of learners. The instructional designers create content chunks and provide them to the course developers within the organizations. This persuasive system eliminates duplicate development efforts and allows rapid collation of customized content.

The focus of the LCMS is management of course content rather than learning activity. As such it usually offer a learning object repository for learning objects (courses broken down into pieces) that can be searched and reused or adapted for other purposes. The LCMS manages content at lower levels and easily restructures and repurposes online content. LCMS can dynamically build learning objects based on user profiles and learning styles. It offers course creation and most of the LCMS also includes authoring capability.

What are the LCMS capabilities?

Learning object repository- The learning object repository is a central database in which learning content is stored and managed. It’s from this point that individual learning objects are either dispensed to users individually or used as components to assemble larger learning modules or full courses, depending on individual learning needs. The instructional output may be delivered via the Web, CD-ROM, or printed materials. The same object may be used as many times and for as many purposes as is appropriate. The integrity of the content is preserved regardless of the delivery platform. XML serves this function by separating content from programming logic and code.

Automated authoring application- This application is used to create the reusable learning objects that are accessible in the repository. The application automates development by providing authors with templates and storyboarding capabilities that incorporate instructional design principles. Using these templates, authors may develop an entire course by using existing learning objects in the repository, creating new learning objects, or using a combination of old and new objects. Authors may be subject matter experts, instructional designers, media production artists, a community of practice leaders, and so forth. The tool may also be used to rapidly convert libraries of an organization’s existing content, typically by adding media, customized interfaces, and instructional methodologies. An author may reside within an organization or at an outsourced provider.

Dynamic delivery interface- To serve up a learning object based on learner profiles, pretests, and/or user queries, a dynamic delivery interface is required. This component also provides user tracking, links to related sources of information, and multiple assessment types with user feedback. This interface may be customized for the organization using the LCMS. For example, content may be presented on Webpages emblazoned with the company logo and a look and feel designed to reflect the desired corporate image. The look and feel may also be localized to the user’s region.

Administrative application. This application is used to manage learners’ records, launch e-learning courses from course catalogs, track and report the progress of learners, and provide other basic administrative functions.

The downside of the LCMS proposition is that it takes a great deal of foresight, planning, and skill to design effective learning objects–even when templates and examples are provided. Designers must think in a non-linear fashion and have a fair understanding of all the contexts in which an object might be needed or used.