Monday, May 26, 2008

e-Learning : Opportunity and scope for Indian IT companies

Author Mr. Dilip Tikle

Mr. Dilip Tikle, is currently Dean HexaVarsity, He has vast experience in e-Learning domain. He was earlier Vice President MKCL, also founder director of Mumbai Education Trust's Institute of Information Technology. He is graduate University of Pune 1988-1991. We are thankful that he took time from his busy schedule and jotted down his thoughts to share with us.


1. Indian IT companies' role in e-learning

eLearning is today looked as an unsuccessful technology in India. This is not well researched perception. In fact the country like India today and in future this might be the technology for growth if not survival.

We in India have the largest untapped potential market across the globe. We have largest number of learners/youths in any country across the world, Technology expansion especially in ICT (Internet and communication Technology) is on its highest growth path.

IT companies have two major roles to play in eLearning bandwagon.

1. Users of eLearning Applications and Resources
2. Developers of eLearning Applications and Resources

eLearning consist of many IT applications such as

Learning Management System (LMS),
Learning Content Management System (LCMS),
SCORM(Shareable Content Object Reference Model) and AICC* Learning resources,
Assessment Engines (Certifications, Self Assessments.. ),
Collaborative Learning Environment(CLE),
Computer Based Training (CBT),
Web Based Training (WBT),
Mobile Based Training (MBT),
Computer or Computer based Simulators and modeling for advance
self learning contents,
Artificial Intelligent (AI) learning environments, Online Science Laboratories,
Knowledge Management Portals,
Distributed classrooms and learning environment.
They are even more exciting when integrated with
Digital Campus Management (PeopleSoft),
Higher Education and Research (SAP),
Banner (SunGard),
Share Point Portal – Class server (Microsoft),
SAKAI (Open Source Portals) just to name a few. They are many allied services inclusive of Internal, External Certifications for evaluation,benchmarking and self assessment. Applications to identify the learner type

After availability and knowledge of above gamete of IT Applications available at our door step we can develop long tern strategy and vision for organization
Learning and Development. We need to make appropriate use of various IT applications to keep our workforce up best and ready for future business opportunities.

The real challenge is getting quality time from quality trainer especially in IT, when we wish to learn most recent technologies/tools. We need to use technology as a carrier to take this to each and every learner in almost Just-In-Time (JIT) for 24 X 7 where ever s/he is. The need for trainings in recent technologies in IT is a frequent phenomenon in IT industry. Due to geographically diversify operations 24 X 7 is need of hour to match the learners and trainers time zones.

Digital Classrooms, Distributed Classrooms, Virtual Classrooms are becoming preferred real time learning environment as well as offline learning environments for multi location, simultaneous learning with full Video support. There is extensive
use as Video on demand or Seminar on Demand (SoD) through Intranet or professional learning frameworks. In an midsize and small size IT companies the most preferred use of subscription models for eLearning, which have not shown great success for many reasons. It needs a bigger plan in place with smaller activity
set to ensure the success. In a large IT companies it is done in more effectively-efficiently and they could make effective use of it due to scale of operation. In
the cases of Customer specific, Legacy Applications, Induction Programs, Organization specific Process and other frequently demanded courses are the first one to be developed in house with the help of Pedagogical, Instructional and Subject Matter Experts with the help of easy to use tools. This brings large number of employees forward for self learning at there leisure time (actually they make time out of their schedule).
IT companies prepare the Competency Management Framework, Role base Training framework, Learning and Development Framework and accordingly develop and/or
procure the eLearning resources for effective Training and Learning. LMS and other IT Applications allow Education Management Team to Plan, Monitor and Control
large number of learners effectively-efficiently with smaller Learning and Development Executives.
Education Management also improves your Quality of Service (QoS)
to the learners.

2. Content or technology, which is better business

They have equal pro and cons in business. Its also beat the Services or Product business model. Both have equal opportunities.

Content Development, Management is yet to go to its peak. We have tremendous scope to engage small IT evangelists to start on their own. Advanced tools have
reduced dependencies on the skills in graphics and authoring tools, but still the creativity, instructional Designers, Subject Matter Experts and Pedagogical experts play their important role. We have a decent pool of these professionals and with minimal investments we can take up these assignments. We have many excellent teachers having good clarity on concepts and excellent teaching skills. We also have
tremendous scope for local language content developed for local learner communities. Content is also developed in the local context specially Behavioral,
Management and Leadership trainings. Large number of learners wishes to operate from or work from other countries and wish to learn that country language
before landing their in self paced and learning mode.
Many learners placed in colleges in remote areas may have issues of quality trainers as well as most recent and appropriate case studies; these can be resolved by
the use of good content. Today content is getting developed through web cams, digital cameras, mobile cameras and voice recorders and so on. It is known as
grassroots videos.

Abundance of row contents, we need to streamline and do the editing and indexing of it for effective use. Content based on mythological stories and used for learning concepts can be a wonderful option to do with. Content development for schools looks to be powerful option. Parents buying power has increased and they do spend for “Good content” I mean it “Good content”. I am quite confident with the use of advance IT tools for content creation; it will be a very big industry in India soon.

Developing IT Applications in Content, education Management, Assessments, Content creation… is a wonderful idea there exist many success stories in the
country today. It needs good knowledge base and understanding about market. These projects are time taking projects and expect very good understanding of
the subject matter. Managing economy or scale of operation in these projects is the real challenge. It can be very well justified in India on large users (Untapped), awareness, growth of industry, spread of technology, higher cost of services… just to name a few.
One of the significant parameter scoring on developing of IT applications in India is license cost of existing applications in the context of Indian Economy. Similarly looking at to the educational Institutes are taking major steps forward and even
investing looking at the future.

3. Education institutes or corporate, which one is better market and in what sense.

Education market will essentially score over a corporate market but still its in nascent stage. It is yet to in big way. The gap between the out put of Traditional graduates and Industry expected fresher is increasing day by day. This has evoked the need for Finishing Schools. The demand for many additional skills and competencies are pressing learners to additional education on their own such as Computer related courses, Foreign Languages, Project Management, Business English….just few to indicate.
Large numbers, wider spectrum of courses, higher purchasing power, pressing need for better jobs are the factors where educational Institutes will lead over corporate. Corporate have been using decent budget for grooming the fresh graduates in their
system. They will prefer if educational institutes take some load off from them. Campus connect, Early Intervention Program are some examples of it.

Corporate is a market for applications and services/subscription. The time for evaluation of the products, deployment of products and usage ready content is a still a long process. Faster ROI can be drawn on Application Service Provider (ASP) or
Subscription Model. On the long run it may not be as cost effective. Still corporate enjoy flexibility and low risk models to getting started. Cost of face to face training is increasing and effectiveness is also depends on many parameters, success of training cannot be consistent so corporate prefer eLearning to achieve guaranteed benchmarking training. It is more of developing favorable environment, positive mindsets towards that rather then only focusing on technology
and contents. The real drive is required for developing the environment in the organization and today many corporate do focus on that. External Certifications are appreciated and reimbursement is done, they are made as a part of their KRA. Corporate use these decent number of certification as Unique Selling Point (USP) and motivation dose for the teams. Corporate use the new eMBA Programs or similar
Educational Programs as a part of rewards and also use it as retention policy. Learning is seen as value addition by employees over the monitory benefits. Some
corporate use the credit transfer programs with reputed institutions to make most out of their internal trainings.
Availability to complete advance education like Ph D during the working is also an
attractive proposition. Specialized training on allied subjects has become important like Statistics, algorithms, Best programming Practices. Domain Training like Banking, Insurance, HR, Travel, Risk, Quality, Software testing…… list is unending.

Businesses are becoming complex and customers are working in many countries so knowing their business process, law regulations and customer behavior is becoming necessary. Orientation of the team members to work in a particular country is extremely important and training definitely adds the value to it.

4. How successful are Government initiatives in eLearning direction.

Government is going slow but definitely starts using it in some or other form. Technologies are changing very fast, communication methods are changing and wide
spectrum is available to work with. India is probably the only country who has launched Educational Satellite. We have education TV channels; we have open
universities making use of technologies. We have national level of organizations working for contents and delivery of the contents. We know that we have a
long way to go but every step counts. Examples like online admissions, online assessments, communications through electronic media, user friendly processes are
a step towards the goal. Government should establish the classic examples of Public-Private-Partnership to take this drive forward. IT literacy in Maharashtra has been a remarkable step.

There is scope of improvement and expedition but still we cannot discount the earlier efforts.

AICC- Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training)
Committee (AICC) is an international association of
technology-based training professionals. The AICC
develops guidelines for aviation industry in the
development, delivery, and evaluation of CBT and
related training technologies.

: Author can be contacted at


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