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.