Education is the prime tool of empowerment. It is the machinery that enables children to become productive members of the economy and lead a respectful life. As such it is important to understand the role education plays in a fast-changing world where it is not just enough to be well educated but requires constant updating.
In the past few years, there has been a lot of growth in the Edtech sector. With more and more companies capitalising on the convenience of online learning. Let us look at a few distinguishing factors differentiating online and classroom learning:-
- Environment: As important as it is to be dedicated to your education, the environment in which you learn also plays an important role in your overall learning experience. By environment, I mean the quality of your co-learners, faculties and the level of discussions. When you learn alone, on your own, you are limited to the intellectual capacities of your individual mind, but when you learn together your thinking is opened to new dimensions and your potential grows manifolds.
This is where I feel classroom learning scores better than online learning. Although online learning generally has platforms for group discussions, such platforms can never match the quality of interactions that happen in an in-person classroom environment.
- Timings: Many of us have already joined the workforce or have a busy daily schedule, but are still passionate about exploring our learning interests. If such is the case then online learning is the best option for you. In an online learning platform, you can schedule your classes in a way that best suits your needs. Further, you can even have access to recordings of the classes that you have missed.
- Value: These days not just how you study but also where you study can add value to your education. A degree from a reputed university can act as a launchpad to give you a headstart in your chosen career. That is because such universities typically have a rigorous filtering process and they take a student only if he/she is good enough. Besides such universities have exceptional learning environments.
Generally, all such Ivy League colleges offer comprehensive classroom learning programs. Hence, in terms of value, definitely classroom learning is better.
- Access: One of the most important features of online learning platforms is that you can have access to education from any remote location with just an internet connection and a computer. In fact, edtech startups and non-profit organisations are helping a great deal in providing universal education.
- Changing needs of the industry: Another important thing to note about today’s education is that the world and the needs of the industry are changing at a much faster rate than what the education system can cope up with. This scenario provides two problems: rapidly updating learning curriculums and finding qualified faculties to keep up with the innovations.
Again this is what edtech startups are capitalising on. With the multitude of courses they have on offer and the access to excellent faculties, online learning platforms can teach you what traditional systems are not capable of.
Now let us look at some notable edtech companies that are making great strides through their innovation:
Founders: Ankur Nagpal and Conrad Wadowski
Total funds raised: US $ 13.5 million
About teachable: The USP of Teachable is that it enables any expert/lecturer to create their online courses and sell them on the platforms.
The company’s founder Ankur Nagpal came up with the idea when he was instructing a marketing course through an online platform. It is then that he decided that he could build something much better, that had more customizations and was more profitable to the course creators.
By 2020 more than 100,000 experts had joined Teachable and earned more than US $ 500 million cumulatively.
Founders: Jon Chapman, Ray Martinez and Tom Davidson
Total Funds raised: US $ 251 million
EVERFI provides education in off-curriculum but highly valuable areas like financial literacy, digital literacy, substance abuse prevention and other core areas of life skills.
It describes its mission as follows- “To us, digital learning isn’t just about realizing your potential—it’s about maximizing it. With our scalable learning solutions, we’re empowering organizations everywhere to instil knowledge around critical topics in the classroom, in the office and in the community. Together, we’re connecting education to the real world and opening new doors of opportunity for all.”
Founders: Luis von Ahn, Severin Hacker
Total funds raised: US $183.3 million
Duolingo is an online learning platform that offers around more than 90 different courses in around 40 distinct languages. It also enables students to learn new languages anytime and anywhere. The platform offers language learning for free although there is an option for students to upgrade to a premium version that has more features.
With hundreds and thousands of downloads, Duolingo is quickly emerging as one of the world’s leading edtech companies.
Founders: Michael London and Shailu Tipparaju
Total funds raised: US $ 122 million
Examity is an online exam proctoring company. With an increasing number of people opting for online education and courses, it had become essential for course providers to be able to conduct online exams with high levels of integrity.
Examity’s online proctoring service uses AI-powered technology to detect signs of cheating and help course providers to conduct exams in a fair manner.
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