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IIM-A wary of over-investing in online learning; vouches for physical interactive space

IIM-A wary of over-investing in online learning; vouches for physical interactive space

As useful as online learning may have been during the Covid-19 pandemic, IIM-A Director Errol D'Souza says students found the experience completely lacking in peer-to-peer learning.

IIM-A wary of over-investing in online learning IIM-A wary of over-investing in online learning

Premier management school IIM-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is wary of over-investing in online education, batting instead for the traditional brick-and-mortar model of teaching, even as the EdTech sector is booming in India.

“When the pandemic started, we thought it was going to be a transformative period where lots of things will go online and it will be difficult to go back [to an offline learning model]. In fact, it has taught us that some of it can go online, but there is an even higher demand to have things in a physical interactive space,” IIM-A director Errol D'Souza told Business Today.

As useful as online learning may have been during the pandemic, he pointed out that students found the experience completely lacking in peer-to-peer learning.  

Several management colleges, including the IIMs, have been launching online MBA programmes to all in collaboration with edtech platforms.  

Top MBA colleges have conducted online classes for their students even pre-pandemic, especially through their blended programmes. But the flagship full-time two-year programmes require students to be on campus.  

The pandemic, however, forced MBA education, like almost every other aspect of life, to go online.  

“Even from the executive training and long-duration programmes, our learning has been that we should be careful about investing too much in online training, which we thought was the trend even before the pandemic,” said D’ Souza.

It taught us that there is a demand but an online-only model is not sustainable, he added.

Meanwhile, the EdTech sector is cashing in on the accelerated interest in online education brought about by the pandemic to become one of the hottest tech startup spaces in the country. Indian edtech startups received a total investment of $2.22 billion in 2020, up from $553 million in 2019.  

The $2 billion Indian edtech market is to grow to $11.6 billion by 2026, according to India Brand Equity Foundation.

India is estimated to be the second largest market for e-learning after the US. Online learning platform Coursera has 12 million Indian users are enrolled for its courses among its total user base of 80 million learners.