Research on Adoption of e-learning by educational technology firms – ensuring continuity of education during crises or lockdowns.
This research covers the need for education technology companies to invest in and improve the accessibility of online classes through the adoption of e-learning, which would be complemented with Learning Management Systems and Machine Learning (ML) models. In the current crisis, the adoption of online learning delivery curtails the spread of the contagion (COVID-19). Moreover, online learning ensures the continuity of education as an emergency situation causes the closure of campuses and learning centres. During the nation-wide lockdown, remote learning and teaching through online media have been adopted across schools, colleges, and training centres.
The research includes insights on:
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- Short-term Solution
- Long-term Solution
- Proactive Measures Adopted by the Government and Corporate Institutions
- Implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to Enhance e-learning Delivery
Need of the Hour
Crisis situations often demand that the educator and learner attend online classes / sessions at short notices. Hence, in the short term, it is important to effectively manage the immediate technology and learning resources, and deliver regular communication to all the faculty and learners. Both the educator and learner should have access to a variety of tools to move the teaching and training to online and digital platforms. It is also important that while modifying and creating the learning for online delivery, the objective of learning is mapped directly with the learning modules at all times.
Hence, AIMResearch in association with Jigsaw Academy has developed this report to study the adoption of e-learning and other data science technologies and tools on learning.
Jigsaw Academy, with over 400 years of combined teaching experience, including online and remote learning delivery, is adept at training and upskilling professionals and students in key analytics and data science capabilities. Moreover, the academy ensures that all the training programmes are carefully mapped to industry-relevant learning objectives.
- Trainers, faculty, and administrators need to have proactive solutions in place to ensure that learning can be delivered in times of disasters or lockdowns
- The Long-term solution would:
- Utilize several delivery formats
- Leverage diverse tools and systems
- Apply predictive and automated models
- Government and Corporate institutions should sponsor and support critical aspects of the learning implementation including:
- Curriculum planning and design
- Technology implementation
- Cloud readiness
- AI enablement
- In the long-run, AI and ML implementation in learning technology is crucial to
- Predict learning needs
- Provide personalized content based on how the users learn best
- Analyse data
- Integrate discrete tools across systems
As a short-term solution, it is important that trainers, faculty, and administrators ensure:
- Video recordings of all the lectures and assignments are ready and accessible in the form of relevant modules on the LMS to ensure immediate continuity of learning.
- Constant communication and interaction between the faculty and learners to enable engagement, especially at a time of abrupt cancellation of classes.
- Open Collaboration amongst the faculty and administrators, to discuss key challenges in virtual learning.
In the long term, it is important to make learning disaster-ready by utilizing several delivery formats, including e-learning and videos, leveraging diverse tools and systems, including Learning Management Systems and Databases, and applying predictive and automating models, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). This would ensure effective development, delivery, collaboration, learner assessment, and training evaluation.
- Deployment of Learning via Learning Management System (LMS)
Ensure that an appropriate Learning Management System is set-up with the profiles of all the administrators, trainers, teachers, assistants and students updated and ready for use. The following features of the LMS are essential for successful learning management:
- Smartphone and Tablet-Ready
2. Learning Media Formats
Ensure that the learning media of the modules is available in different formats that enable propagation and accessibility over different internet speeds. Moreover, the media formats should be compatible across all devices – smartphones, phablets, tablets, and laptops.
- Synchronous (Real-time) Learning via High Bandwidth – High Learning Interaction: Video Conference with Collaborative online exercises
- Asynchronous Learning via High Bandwidth – Low Learning Interaction: Pre-recorded Video podcasts followed by questions and clarifications via email, discussion boards, or audio messages
- Synchronous Learning via Low-Bandwidth – High Learning Interaction: Group Web Chat with Collaborative online exercises
- Asynchronous Learning via Low Bandwidth – Low Learning Interaction: Text and Images with clarifications via email, discussions boards, or audio messages
Assessments of the various modules that would test the learner assessment in line with the learning objectives should be updated and available on the LMS.
Ensure other technology components including multimedia equipment, laptops, smartphones, and internet connection are set and ready for roll-out
- Availability of Tablets, Smartphones for learners to ensure access for all: While smartphones ownership and adoption is widespread, it is important that moderately priced tablets or smartphones are available ensuring access to the learning environment for everyone (trainers and learners)
- Collaboration: Collaboration tools on the platform, such as Video Conferencing, Audio Chat, Interactive Games, and Messaging should be tested and ready to enable interaction between teachers and learners
- Simulations: Develop simulations using appropriate video and 3-D technologies to ensure experiential and lab-based learning is delivered
5. Hybrid Learning Adoption in the short-term to medium-term
To ensure efficacy of online learning, immediate adoption of hybrid learning – blend of classroom and online training – is necessary. This would enable teachers and administrators to gauge the efficacy of the online learning component of the programme and modify or improve the necessary learning component. Moreover, the implementation of hybrid learning would enable the administrators to continually test and improve the online environment till the full launch of the online environment with LMS and AI tools ready
6. Relevance of Learning
The purpose of a shift to an online media should not just be on the continuity of education, but also on the relevance of the learning, which should be in-line with the objectives.
7. Institutional Support for Technology and Resources
Across Government and Corporate institutions, proactive measures to support curriculum planning, technology implementations, cloud readiness, and AI enablement, should be undertaken by:
- Centre for Distance Education and Learning
- Universities and UGC; IITs and other Engineering institutions
- Science and Technology organizations, Regulatory Bodies, and Industry associations, including CDAC, FICCI, and NASSCOM
- Government of India (GoI) and Ministry of Finance (MoF), Department of Telecom (DoT), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEIT)
- Large Domestic and IT MNC firms and Telecom Firms
- Private Learning Institutes, such as Jigsaw Academy
8. Proactive Measures Adopted by the Government and Corporate Institutions
Short-term proactive measures to enable Continuity of Education
Some short-term measures that should be adopted by various organizations to enable the continuity of education:
- Loan of Decommissioned Laptops and other IT equipment till the education institutes are able to arrange Laptops and e-Readers for students and faculty
- IT Firms, NASSCOM, and UGC to provide free access to online learning and certification programmes
- DoT and Telecom / ISPs Firms to provide Telecom and Internet services at preferential rates or through deferred payment plans
Long-term proactive measures to enable Continuity of Education
The long-term measures that should be adopted by various organizations to enable the continuity of education, involve a collective effort by 2 or more Government or Private Institutions.
NASSCOM and IT Firms:
- Sponsor Laptops, Smartphones, and eReaders for students and faculty
- Set-up of LMS and other IT / Network Equipment at low margins
- Lease out any excess network bandwidth to educational institutes
- Provide IT or Tech support, including
- Simulation and animation design
- Training in tools and technologies
- Cloud, LMS, and Database management
- Provide educational institutes access to in-house IT skills and learning programmes, covering Data Science, Analytics, BI tools, among others
- Train faculty in IT and Data Science related subject matter expertise
Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEIT), CDAC, Department of Telecom (DoT):
- Mandate IT and Telecom firms to provide subsidized IT and Telecom services including cloud technology, network bandwidth, and broadband for programme delivery
- Allocate exclusive bandwidth / spectrum to educational institutes at subsidized prices
- In collaboration with IT and Telecom Firms: Facilitate Learning Programme Delivery across Cloud Networks and ISPs – enabling low-latency delivery of learning programmes via cloud by developing and adopting technologies similar to Edge Computing and Streaming
Government of India (GoI) and Ministry of Finance (MoF):
- Provide tax exemptions, credit extensions , and subsidies to educational firms investing in online technology
NASSCOM and FICCI:
Organizations like NASSCOM and FICCI should raise awareness and arrange sponsorships and scholarships from Domestic enterprises. Moreover, the organizations, in association with UGC, Universities, IITs and other Technology institutes should:
- Develop and provide low-cost delivery and technology solutions
- Impart training to teachers and administrators on online training delivery and learning methodologies
- Provide educational consulting and resources including curriculum planning, curriculum objective setting, and learning content design and development (e.g., bite-size learning development and delivery)
- Audit the training programmes for learning objectives, relevance and quality, and provide continuous feedback
- Develop a unified central database of crucial skills-building and learning programmes to ensure continuity of education in the event of a crisis or lockdown
Implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to Enhance e-learning Delivery
While face-to-face learning does offer the advantage of interaction and understanding the perception of the learner, e-learning and LMS systems embedded with AI and ML models can predict both teaching and learning patterns – thus helping the faculty and learners to adapt the learning programmes on the basis of behaviours, assessments, and understanding.
AI and ML help predict learning needs, provide personalized content based on how the users learn, analyse data, and integrate discrete tools across the LMS.
The following are key advantages of adopting AI and ML models in the LMS systems:
- Personalized Learning
The most significant role that ML plays in online learning is personalization. This is achieved through effective data analysis and automation, enabling administrators and trainers to identify areas for improvement based on analytical patterns and pre-set algorithms. For example, the LMS uses algorithms to analyze the performance of the student / learner, and combine it with new information to predict learning outcomes.
- Constant Alignment with Training Objectives: On the basis of the automation and decision models embedded in the LMS, the AI tools can constantly monitor the alignment of the newly developed programme with the learning objective.
- Automated Online Training Paths: ML enables administrators to automate personalized training paths for each learner. The ML system can analyze patterns and trends to automatically adjust the learners’ coursework to meet training needs. Apart from defining learning paths, ML can also assist by helping the faculty understand what the students need to learn.
- Faculty Recommendations: The ML programs apply predictive analytics, assessment of current and past performance enabling the faculty to identify targeted online training recommendations.
- Learner Recommendations: Every learner has access to training materials that are aligned with their training needs and goals, rather than one-size-fits-all training.
2. Machine Learning In Assessments and Evaluations
Predictive analytics and iterative evaluations allow faculty to pinpoint patterns, such as the time spent on modules and assessments, and questions raised online for specific topics. ML models can then help faculty identify effective assessments for learners. For example, automated systems can generate test questions autonomously based on the online questions asked and doubts raised by the learner, or the time spent by the learner on a topic or module. The system can then generate and deliver specific online assessments to test the understanding of the learner in that area. Moreover, post assessment, the ML program can identify areas of improvement and suggestions for revision for the learner.
3. Improve Time and Resource Allocation
ML programs automate many processes across the learning modules, enabling trainers and administrators to devote time to other aspects of the learning process, such as, developing online modules for other subject areas or creating simulations for lab and practical coursework.
To summarize, ML can be leveraged to design intuitive online training materials and streamline the planning process. The administrators and trainers can observe learning behaviours, performance indicators, and emerging patterns to analyse online training in real-time. Machine Learning provides the opportunity to effectively analyze data and identify patterns to create a learner.
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