August 2007

Onward to E-asy Education

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Although its interesting to see every time a headline on e-Learning boom that's just 'round the corner',  the fact was more true some five years ago. This as an industry, has certainly made a big stride in these few years, with the industry leaders thinking innovative, and riding up the value chain all through. The boom is so big that at times it brings the comparison with the dot com bubble. But the industry is relieved that India certainly will find purpose in the competitive landscape of technology integrated education, with the  global market intelligence and advisory firm IDC's projection, 'the e-Learning market will grow from USD6.5 billion in 2002 to USD28 billion in 2008'.

There is a huge need and appetite for quality education in the country. Technology has to play a role in catering to this need. The other cue for the industry players can be, the Indian government seemed to have woken up to the demands of the industry, announcing in late February the broad direction of support for India's technology industry. Together with planned government initiatives in education, and the establishment of three more Indian Institutes of Science (IISc), four to five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and business schools like the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), the policy changes could very well address the areas of weakness in e-Learning. 

As we move towards convergence and integration in digital economy, the field of e-Learning is seeing a perceivable move towards use of real-time technologies. Knowledge management is the other area where learning initiatives will find scope for integration, building learning components into the work flow to integrate performance support. With the Indian technology-led education industry now perched on the point of all-out growth, it is up to those in the business of technology to take it over the tipping point.

This special issue of Digital Learning has tried to capture the view points of the industry leaders, in seeking the answers on how do they subscribe to this scenario. With the providers of e-Learning witnessing phenomenal expansion of this industry and their business, let's leave this thread with the hope that the e-Learning market and the opportunities are going to get better in the time to come!

There was no denying the excitement among the delegates to the 2006 Vision conference 'Digital Learning India' organised by us that handed the industry its 'report card' along with words of suggestions and future directions, and of course, promises of incentives. And the same excitement is evident this year as well, with the 'Digital Learning India 2007' approaching the D-Day. Our work as researchers, educators, service providers and policy makers is conducted in the wider context of our purpose and values. Lets join the platform this year again for the debate of the issues, which still guides us, towards recognising of ICTs and the capabilities to use them critically and appropriately have themselves had an impact in the field of education.

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