E-Learning space is slowly but surely arriving in India and it ain’t coming easy. Amidst the age old master, student and classroom way of education prevalent in Indian subcontinent coupled with a very price sensitive target consumer, currently e-learning space has not reached half its potential.
But, with more and more people getting Internet and Mobile Savvy, there is a ray of hope for the E-learning startups. Their cause has been helped by the fact that more VC’s are pitching in to invest in E-Learning ventures.There has been a spur of activity in the e-learning space, notable one’s being
- Helix Investments has invested under $10 million in LearningMate Solutions Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai based provider of e-learning education solutions.
- Pearson Investment has invested around $12.5 million in Tutor Vista, a Bangalore based e-learning company
The fact that the VC’s are betting on E-learning ventures is a testimony to the fact that E-Learning is the way to go forward. With more and more of the youth getting hooked to Internet and mobile phones becoming more a need than luxury, the pre-requisites for becoming an e-learning customer are in place.
Moreover, with the race to be the best getting more competitive, E-learning might just provide the winning edge. Be it studies, corporate training or any job enhancing skill under the sun, E-Learning solutions have the answer.
E-Learning can get you access to the right answers from the right person effectively.
Moreover, with knowledge imparted on the Internet or through phone, the target consumer base has no limits too. Now, there’s a win-win for everyone, isn’t it.
So, if I had always wanted to know, "How To Get Into Harvard", who could answer it better than someone who has indeed made it to Harvard. And e-learning is making that possible.
E-Learning has the potential to provide a truly global platform for its stakeholders.
If you are a student of art/culture, imagine being able to discuss it with like minded folks across the globe at the same time.That’s e-learning for you bringing the whole world at your finger steps.
E-Learning can help businesses seamlessly streamline and optimize their training processes.
With global boundaries diminishing and businesses waiting to go truly international, how effective will it be to ensure that the workforce getting the same uniform training regimes.This itself could save companies save millions in training costs.
E-learning is one enabler that can help envision the dream of a 100% literate India.
All said and done, for e-learning to reach its full potential and be the enabler, it has lot many hurdles to clear.
Infrastructure in India is the number one barrier.
Even with all those ads of telecom companies reaching the villages and far-flung areas, we are far from being truly connected. For e-learning to grow and expand, the infrastructure will have to come good and come fast.
Lack of a feasible and viable revenue model.
Setting up e-learning is capital intensive and the woes are quadrupled due to a very price sensitive target customer. Truly speaking, the onus is on the E-learning providers to come up with innovative revenue models or rather personalized and customizable pricing strategies.
To bring my point to justice, let me share a very noble e-learning initiative by a start-up VoiceTap.They help you connect with knowledgeable folks from different streams and let you gain knowledge or ask questions through phone.
Yes, your mobile phone becomes a classroom. But, would you be ready to pay for the call if they charged you on a per minute basis. A poll on their website says, a majority 57% will not. That can be disheartening for any startup.To some extent, I would mind paying because I dont have the option to listen to only what I want to listen or know. What I would be ready to shell out money for is to have my question answered spot on and the ability to revisit the transcript of the call when I want.
So, a uniform pricing strategy is something that I don’t think can work out for E-learning space.The pricing needs to be specific to the target customer. For eg, a working professional seeking queries on GMAT and a IIT JEE aspirant may not be ready to shell the same amount, can they?
With increasing awareness and effective pricing, I am sure E-learning space will get more interesting and help the cause of teaching India. With E-learning spreading its wings wider, I hope the day isn’t far, when we would actually be able to say,
"Padhega India, Badhega India" (Indian will study,India will march ahead)
What are your thoughts on the potential of E-learning space. Do you think it has the potential to educate India at a mass scale?
[This post is written by Ankit Agarwal, an ERP Consultant by profession, a wannabe entrepreneur and stock market stalker by passion]