Sanjay Purohit, Managing Director , iProf India
Mobiles have changed the world as we once knew it. Out of the seven billion people on earth, there are as many as 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions. Looking at this data, one is forced to wonder – when did this happen? When did mobiles cross over from being ‘a luxury’ to ‘a necessity’? All this progress is a result of continuous evolution in mobile technology and diluting cost of mobile devices in the last 20 years. And this is a milestone set in the history of time!
A recent UN report said, “In India, there are more mobiles than toilets.” Now this might be an jibe at the inadequate sanitization facilities in the country, but it doesn’t shy away from the fact that mobiles have found their place in peoples’ lives as an indispensable object that connects them with their families, becomes a friend in emergency situations, a teacher that lets you in on the secrets of the world and an entertainer after a long day of hard work.
Smartphone, the younger, more versatile generation of mobile phone, along with the emergence and availability of high speed internet has opened up yet another dimension – M-learning, which translates to learning on mobile. M-learning is the future of learning and education and as the name suggests is based on optimum usage of mobile technology coupled with digitized content and network facilities.
India, the world’s second largest smartphone market, currently has around 140 million smartphone users which are expected to rise up to 650 million smartphone users in 4 years, according to a survey conducted by networking solutions giant Cisco. The biggest chunk of these users are students, presently ‘students’ as a group has 3 times more penetration than any other group of smartphone users. This has given M-learning a fertile ground to flourish, and flourish it has.
India has rapidly picked up its pace in the field of online education. M-learning is proving to be the requisite solution for the many challenges faced today by education industry in India. Major challenges include unavailability of adequate resources to take education to every corner of the country, a wide variety of spoken languages and the inability to set up a homogeneous medium to keep standard curriculums throughout the country along with ease-of-access and cost.
Upcoming in M learning are dedicated smartphone apps that aim on and are capable of revolutionizing education by filling in the gaping holes of regular classroom education. These apps are versatile in their mode of operation and can be used as a one-stop solution for delivering high quality education to each and every part of the country.
Learning is not restricted to students; in fact learning and education has no age. A working professional could also need to learn and improve his/her skill sets without the availability of additional time for the same. Mobile education apps have proved to be boon in such situations. Since, all the information of the world is available at the push of a button, it is easier for working professionals to improve their knowledge anywhere and at any given time.
India is a land of vast and varied terrain and not all classes, regions and cities have the same educational facilities available. Students often have to migrate to the hubs of education in search of better learning opportunities, which is a convenient option for students belonging to affluent families but is financially crippling for lower and lower-middle classes. Here is where mobile education plays an important role to solve such difficulties with ease. With a low entry cost, smartphones and M-learning have collectively made it possible for families of limited means to have a fair chance at quality education and all the assorted benefits associated with it.
There are two schools of thoughts regarding M-learning, one believes that M-learning is a passing trend that will never equate to the importance of regular offline learning while the other sees M-learning as the evolution of education system as we know it, which is expected to only improve with time. We belong to the second school of thought and that’s the reason we created iProf, an M-learning education marketplace, completed with an app and web, which aims to revolutionize education in India and give it a new face. Have we managed to put a dent in it? Only time will tell, but 1 million+ app downloads in a matter of 127 days is definitely a good start.