Of late, a lot of changes have been introduced in the Indian education system and now since over a year, institutions have ditched classrooms to teach online. E-learning has become the growing face of teaching. A UNESCO report mentions that, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.3 billion students in about 140 countries all around the world were affected by the shutdown of schools and colleges relieving nearly 60 million school and university teachers globally of their services offline classrooms. At present, India is home to more than 4000 big and small edtech startups, more than 400 of which are still in their infant stage being less than 2 years old. According to the estimations by the HRD ministry, expenditure in ed tech is set to touch the figure of $10 trillion by the year 2030. Naturally, the question arises, how will the future pan out for online education in India, and what will become of it once we have beaten the pandemic and lockdown measures are no longer in force. Though, the pandemic enforced lockdown was a major catalyst to the rise of online teaching, online teaching itself has been around for decades in India and there were many popular online classes app and platforms available even before the first signs of the outbreak. The future prospects for ed-tech industry in India seem promising, as a joint report from Google and KPMG project a growth of 8 to 10 times in the next 5 years.

Even the Indian government has put greater emphasis on the development of infrastructure for digital education. It made its intentions clear with the New Education Policy (NEP 2020) which recommends the development of pilot programs for online education to further streamline digital education programs, new tools and methods for online teachers, provision of training for online teachers, using advanced techniques like AI, setting up Virtual Labs for conducting experiments remotely, and designing and developing sleek and efficient digital infrastructure. It further advocates that online courses be made available in different regional languages, focuses on online assessments and examinations, assimilation of digital libraries and repositories to provide centralized and easy access to study material for students. When implemented as proposed, the policy will pave way for further advancement of tech and the development of a myriad of online classes app to teach online. Online education can help us bridge learning gaps due to the socio-economic divide in our country.

Having talked about the current state of affairs regarding e-learning in our country, let us move on to discuss some simple ways in which online education has made a big impact on the lives of students, teachers, and parents. The flexibility to learn from anywhere, from any place, at any time that e-learning provides over traditional education is huge benefit for students as well as teachers. Moreover, some fine online classes app nowadays provide innovative features to teach online like digital whiteboards, recorded lectures, and online teaching through mobile. Secondly, online e-learning is both, more nature friendly as well as pocket friendly compared to offline education. E-learning decreases dependence on physical books, notebooks, and other stationery items to a large extent, which essentially means that lesser trees will be cut down to produce stationery, lesser industries for paper manufacturing, lesser carbon footprint. Furthermore, remote learning means lesser fuel consumption in commuting to and from the campus. Also, e-learning is pocket-friendly roughly for the aforementioned reasons of negligible need for stationery items, no conveyance cost, and likewise. Imagine, how many books can a simple online classes app replace. Besides, there is no geographical or other limitation to the smooth functioning of online classes which means students belonging to rural and remotest parts of India may receive the same quality education that a metro kid gets. E-learning is also a time saver as all you have to do to start your lecture is join a class on any online classes app compared to a lot of time wasted in commuting to and from campuses. Apart from this, e-learning provides useful features like recorded lectures and notes which simplify the task of revision to a large extent, thus increasing student learning outcomes.

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Therefore, the future of e-learning seems promising owing to the ease and numerous advantages it provides for students, teachers as well as parents.

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