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Online Learning Gains Momentum In India: Study


Hybrid learning has gained popularity as 62 percent of Indian adult learners like the concept of combining the convenience of passive learning online, with the quality of active learning in-person, according to a data compiled by Pearson India which has come up with a study of Adult Learners conducted across six countries.

The research aimed at understanding adult learner behaviour and interest in non-degree programs and certificates, revealed that Indians were the least price sensitive across the six countries while choosing a course. The survey divulges that most of the Indian learners are keen on short courses, of which 23% of learners prefer qualification awarded by a professional body. It highlights that 27% of Indian learners are already pursuing short-term courses while 28% of Indian adult learners plan to take-up single subject short term-course with one-time fee. With reference to the adoption and demand for degrees, 46% of Indian learners plan to do post graduate and 39% are currently pursuing BA degree courses.

The survey was conducted among adult learners in Australia, India, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom aged 18 – 65 years. During the survey respondents were screened by age, English fluency, enrolled in an education course or program or intend to enroll in an education course or program within the next three years.

Speaking on the report findings, Varun Dhamija, Vice President – Pearson Professional Programs (PPP), Pearson India said, “In today’s dynamic business landscape, advancement of technology has created seismic shifts in industries, making many old job roles irrelevant and creating need for new skills. Nurtured in an education-oriented culture, Indian professionals realize the need and are pursuing or opening to the idea of short courses to upgrade and upskill. Well-structured non-degree courses with measurable impact have the potential to enhance learning and provide an opportunity to understand domain concepts like analytics, blockchain amongst others.”

“Adult Learners like the concept of combining the convenience of passive online learning, with the quality of active learning in-person. Majorities across markets are open to online education and there is a huge potential to increase adoption of online courses”, added Dhamija.

Blended learning gains momentum

While India is making a headway in digitization of education, blended learning is gaining pace with the Indian learners and professionals. Though 32% of adult learners prefer complete online courses, the demand for blended learning is growing substantially as 49% of adult learners prefer a “blended” option to continue education. During the survey, participants stressed upon the importance of social, emotional, and experiential learning to succeed in the job market and highlighted that they should be included in a hybrid/blended learning model. Changing information consumption patterns are also reflected in the choice of course format, with 22% of learners selecting online courses with the video lecture format. Though the rise of e-learning has helped encourage students to take on more responsibility for acquisition of knowledge, 32% of learners across India still prefer teacher-led learning followed by self-directed learning at 26%.

Motivations to continue education

The survey findings show that career improvement and knowledge are two prevailing motivations for Indian learners to continue education. 56% of Indians take courses to improve job/career possibilities, closely followed by 55% Indians who take courses as a gateway to gain knowledge. With the growth of technology and digitization, jobs are also getting highly specialized. Evolving market dynamics and technology trends have also propelled 44% of learners to complete a course to advance their professional qualification.  Additionally, 38% of the learners pursue these courses to get equipped with knowledge and skills that will be beneficial in day-to-day life.

Other trends:

Cost, time, and concerns about life balance the biggest barriers to adult learning. Interestingly, Indian learners are less price conscious, yet more concerned about course credibility Only 36% Indian learners, consider price as a constraint, 47% of the learners prefer balancing courses with other commitments 27% of the Indian learners find difficulty in choosing a credible course from the available options Information Technology (45%) is the most common area of study among Indian learners followed by Management & Commerce (39%) and Society and Culture (37%) 58% of Indian learners remember recent university advertising on TV; most of them remember seeing ads online (74%) and on social media (67%) 49% of learners in India prefer international course providers over domestic search is also the most trusted source to help choose the best program. 44% of learners in India use online search engine to look for relevant courses. 23% of learners either refer rankings or consult teachers or counsellors 48% of students in India are more likely to anticipate the need for a loan to continue education

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