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Innovations in E-Learning: A Dream in India

Author: GIFTLEEN K. JEBAKUMAR, Asst. Professor, SRM School of Management, SRM University. Mobile:9884424684 Co-Author: K.SUBATHRA, Asst. Professor, SRM School of Management, SRM University. Mobile: 9751001987

Forget the four-walled classroom, the standing teacher, blackboard,

chalk piece, alarm

belland most importantly the tuition fees. Today, you can get a degree of your choice without these, online.People and organisations have started turning to online universities, that are becoming popular and gaining acceptance. For people who have the drive to learn but lack resources, it becomes the ideal choice, especially for subjects that dont need much of practical learning. Learning via online is not restricted to within the four walls of the classroom, but its as wide as the world wide web. Electronic Learning, popularly referred to as E-Learning in India, is a form of study which comprises all forms of teaching and learning processes achieved with the use of electronic equipment. Examples: Hughes Global Education, which collaborates with several reputed universities in India like the IITs, IIMs, MICA and NLU, offers online education and training programmes on a large scale. University students, corporate professionals and anyone who has access to the net can take up its courses. Hughes technology allows two-way communication between students and teachers via a professional studio. Courses and exams are both held online. Hughes offers degrees, diplomas as well as certificates, depending on the course. It also noted a rapid increase in the number of students getting enrolled in India. Advantages of e-learning Nothing can replace traditional classroom teaching, but e-learning complements the process and can help reach out to the masses. There are several companies that are working towards e-learning in India. Main focus is on providing simple, cost-effective e-learning tools for individuals and It has to reach out to every computer user who wishes to create his own

content, enhance it using multimedia, append to it as and when information changes, share it with others, and make effective use of the same for self-learning as well as to teach others. The biggest advantage of e-learning lies in its ability to cover distances. For an organisation that is spread across multiple locations, traditional training becomes a constraint. All trainees need to come to a classroom to get trained. Additionally, the trainees learning pace is not addressed as all trainees are treated as having equal abilities and there is little flexibility in terms of timing and completion of the course. The major advantage is the consistency that e-learning provides. e-learning is self-paced, and learning is done at the learners pace. The content can be repeated until it is understood by the trainee. It can be made compelling and interesting with multimedia, and the trainee can be given multiple learning paths depending on his or her needs. A Creator of Its Own - Initiatives In a market such as India where the concept is still new, one crucial element that will make a difference in generating a good response is marketing. This not only holds true for segments such as government and education, but for the corporate sector as well. Experts are of the view that there needs to be a mindset for the adoption of e-learning. Over the past five years, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has been busy attaining the goal of making education accessible to every child, particularly among the marginalised sections in the rural areas. Also addressing the gap that exists between the market demands and the available skill sets among professionals through the participation of private sector in the curriculum framework.

The government launched the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT). An amount of Rs 4612 crore is being incurred during the 11th Five Year Plan for the scheme. There was a budget provision of Rs 502 crore for the financial year 2008-09. In 2002, deliberations of various committees were held that led to the setting up of the UGCINFONET towards the end of 2004. UGC also joined this crusade of introducing e-learning. Wholly funded by UGC, UGC-INFONET provides electronic access to scholarly literature

available over the Internet in all areas of learning to the university sector in India.

Yet another project to provide web based training is the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), which is being funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD.) This was first conceived in 1999, to pave the way for introducing multimedia and web technology to enhance learning of basic science and engineering concepts, was launched in September 2006. Significant infrastructure has been set up for production of video-based teaching material by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), the Bangalore based Indian Institutes of Sciences (IISc) and Technical Teacher Training Institutes (TTTI.) Gyan Darshan, which was launched on January 26, 2000, as an exclusive higher education TV channel to provide quality distance education by IGNOU, can be considered as an effective effort in India. At the institutional level many institutes, mainly private as of now, have entered into online distance education and the much talked about NIIT Varsity offers training to 500,000 students annually across 33 countries. One of the world's leading management schools, the Indian Institute of Management at Calcutta (IIM-C), amongst others, entered into a strategic alliance with NIIT, to offer executive development programmes through virtual classrooms.

Bottleneck to growth

Process focus To make an e-Learning project successful, enabling processes are very essential. These processes are required to determine learning path for students, feedback collection and using the same for changes, quality control and student support. In Indian context, lack of organizational alignment process is also a major impedient . Pedagogical processes also need to be much stronger to make the project successful. Implementation expertise India lacks individuals and organizations with successful e-Learning project implementation expertise. This is true in both the academicia and in private sector organizations serving the academic community. Lack of this expertise, leaves most projects to the fate of experimentation. Coupled with other factors mentioned here, most projects are doomed to fail. Technology focus Indians by nature, are technology-oriented. This has been accentuated by the phenomenal growth of Indian IT industry. The by-product of this growth has been the presence of many small and large Indian IT companies almost across the

country. At the last count, we estimate there are more than 80 such e-Learning companies in India . All these companies, with their legions of marketing and sales team, emphasizee too much on technology with their academic clients.

Future Trends

Here, e-learning comes to aid by providing constant updation for employees so that they remain competitive with on-the-job training. As an add-on, this is not accompanied by the time lag associated with classroom based training, to the relief of time starved employees and managers. This has given way to an encouraging trend of government agencies, educational institutions, and NGOs waking up to the benefits of e-learning. Developing countries can heavily rely upon e-learning to infuse learning among workers, thus increasing their productivity.. Blogging and e-learning

Though integrating blogging into e-learning initiatives is still in its infancy, it is taking on the education and training needs of learners and instructors with storm. The classroom applications of blogs enhance interaction, build strong communities, and increase student performance through better comprehension, apart from assisting in receptive learning, directive learning, and guided discovery. Blogging technology as a learning tool is coming of age and the time is ripe for educationists to exploit it in the context of pedagogy. Blogs can be successfully integrated with e-learning if the following points are taken into consideration. Without proper stimulation for learners to use the blogs, they often avoid using it. Interest for blogging can be generated among students by giving them direct assignments that promote the use of blogs. That their blogs are being are widely by read by students and instructors alike is also a motivating factor for the learners to stick to them. CONCLUSIONS

Introducing blogging into your e-learning initiative is one of the best ways to render it more effective, but it needs to be done with care nonetheless. e-learning in a massive way has

increased productivity through learning in organizations. Implementing e-learning , with the current along with the wide use of internet can bring a revolution in the way India Learns.