Bright Days Ahead for The Education Industry

As per a recent newspaper report, India has the highest population of illiterate adults, 287 million, 37% of the total population of such people across the world, according to Unesco’s Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring report. This comes at a time when India is increasingly seen as an IT hub and globally technology is being leveraged to fill the looming education gap.

We all know that the traditional classroom is changing dramatically from what it was a decade ago. Technological advancements and access to computers have meant that methods of teaching and learning have changed significantly. More information is available digitally than twenty years ago, and both inside and outside the classroom, tablets and other personal devices are making learning an anytime, anywhere activity. Research in the area of education technology has seen great advancement with the use of analytics to identify at-risk students, while cloud computing has helped teachers and students become more interconnected, instrumented and intelligent.

However, the education sector is not without challenges. World over, educational institutions struggle with budget cuts, shortage of qualified educators, and just the sheer complexity and difficulty in negotiating the individual learning paths of students. IBM believes that on a smarter planet, the classroom of the future will shift towards a personalized learning environment – one where the classroom will ‘learn’ and be able to adapt based on the needs of the student.

A key solution to making this a reality lies in making educational technologies more efficient. Over the next five years, the digitization of the education industry and the emergence of cognitive systems will link to give rise to personalized classrooms that have the potential to motivate and engage students at all levels.

Today, anyone with a device that connects to the internet has access to a wide range of freely available online courses that allow for self-paced learning. This content can be used in a classroom setting, or for self-learning via a personal device. This is the smart classroom. Not only do people learn, but the process also generates huge amounts of data on teaching as well as learning. For an educational institution, this data can be collected over a period of time and analyzed using cloud-based cognitive systems to give educators the information needed to provide personalized learning experiences for students. Through this, students with learning difficulties could be identified early and adequate steps taken to overcome these challenges. In addition, technology can also help institutions better manage their administration and infrastructure.

While it is clear in a broad sense that technology adoption is imperative, it cannot be just any technology. For instance, the current generation of urban high school students, having grown up with computers, smartphones, and social media have different expectations from students twenty years ago. Students in rural India are still grappling with lack of adequate teaching staff and resources required for learning. No doubt, the approach towards technology implementation has to be strategic and comprehensive – making the mobile environment fully accessible to students, faculty and staff.

Recognizing the ongoing revolution in education, which has been fueled by the rapid growth of digital learning techniques, materials, and policies IBM will sponsor a workshop on Digital Learning in New Delhi, India, February 27- February 28.

The blogger is Mukesh Mohania, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect, Education Transformation Research, IBM Research – India.


Mukesh Mohania

Mukesh Mohania, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect, Education Transformation Research, IBM Research – India.


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  • February 13, 2014


    Very well thought out. Watson with it’s cognitive capability has the potential to change education landscape and possibly provide very personalised and affordable education particularly to the poor and illiterate, young and old especially in countries like India. This will be a dream come true. Well intentioned engagement between IBM and governments can truly make this the next killer /game changing education ecosystem. This is a topic close to my heart .

  • March 25, 2014

    Mark Sanchez

    i am Mark Sanchez