Harnessing the power of digital learning in India

11 July 2019

The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come. By the end of 2020, India will have the world’s largest tertiary-age population and second largest graduate talent pipeline.  In  order  to  meet  this  rising  demand,  and  ensure  increased  access  at  a  high  level,  it  is  important that the education sector leverages the opportunities offered by the IT sector.

In India, Internet users are fast multiplying. The penetration rate has now reached 35% of the total population, with some 462 million users. After the United States, India also has the second highest number of people enrolled in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). For higher education, this also represents great potential for expanding access through digital learning. 

In this promising context, IIEP has published the new Foresight Paper Massive Open Online Courses: The emerging landscape of digital learning in India. In the report, author Karanam Pushpanadham reviews major initiatives undertaken by Indian authorities to facilitate lifelong learning for teachers, students, and those in employment that are looking for learning opportunities free of cost. 

“A  revolution  is  taking  place  at  all  levels  of  the  education  system.  People  have  started  to  take  their  learning  into  their  own  hands  and  to  view  education  as  a  lifelong  practice.  As  a  result,  a  new  phase  of  education  has  emerged  which  places  importance  on  digital  learning,” the author writes. 

The report covers an array of e-Learning programmes including those from India’s National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning, the National Repository for Open Educational Resources, and SWAYAM, an indigenous information technology (IT) platform hosting MOOCs. 

It also draws lessons from India’s first generation of online learners. This is especially interesting for countries interested in capitalizing on the development of ICTs to increase access to higher education and to adopt innovative learning methods.

The burgeoning MOOC scene and other digital learning initiatives in India are also highly relevant for the large Indian diaspora, which includes some 25 to 30 million people of Indian origin living outside of the country. 

Specific  recommendations  for  educational  planners  are  outlined  at  the  end  of  the  paper. These include the importance of reliable  access  to  disruptive  technologies,  the  contextualization  of  course  content,  the  design  of  new  credit  transfer  schemes, and the development of active strategies to reach all learners irrespective of their gender, location, and special needs. 


Internet growth in India:


Read the full Report here and see all of our Foresight Papers