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4 trends that will shape online education in India in 2016

Rick C. Levin
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Rick C. Levin
1. Online education certificates will become common on resumes

According to a survey Coursera published this year, 53 percent of Indians who complete open online courses report career advancement as their primary motivation. These are people of all ages and backgrounds for whom the traditional education pathways are insufficient. They need more time flexibility and more focused certificate programs that allow them to gain new skills throughout their careers without leaving the job market to go back to school. New technology platforms and greater acceptance of online certificates by employers are making that possible. Already, Coursera Course Certificates are one of the most commonly shared certificates on LinkedIn.

2. Recruiters will seek out online education certificates that demonstrate mastery of skills

The Indian job market is flooded with credentials that mean little to most recruiters. 2016 will witness more companies collaborating with online learning platforms to expand the prospective talent pool with affordable certificates that showcase the skills they're hiring for from credible sources (like top universities). Many companies that hire for technical job roles, Google for example, have already started listing open online courses as recommended qualifications. I expect to see this trend spread quickly as the pace of change increases across all industries.

3. Mobile phones will become the adults' classroom

The rise in adoption of mobile internet and low-cost smartphones has made India a bullish market for education via mobile phones. According to a report by IAMAI, mobile internet users in urban India have grown 65 percent in the last year reaching 197 million, while rural mobile internet users grew 99 per cent to 80 million by October 2015. For Coursera, mobile usage is steadily increasing as well - 44 percent of monthly active users in India are on mobile at the end of 2015 compared to nearly 50 percent globally. In 2016, we expect that gap to close significantly as more Indians become empowered with access to mobile technology.

4. Big data will enable educators to deliver the optimal learning experience

We've only just begun to see the impact large data sets and libraries of content can have on the learning experience. In the next few years, we will see data analytics leveraged more vigorously to help online learners find success, whether that's by increasing completion rates or creating new courses suited to the specific needs of online learners. Data analytics in online learning will create new pathways for people of all backgrounds to find a fulfilling career.

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