Education meets technology and then online education is born! Taking an online vocational course for learning a new skill/ finding a course to improve your existing skill, it is all at your fingertips now. Learning is at the centre of life whether it is the basics of education or enhancing the existing/new skills. Technology has taken education/ learning to a whole new level. Udemy, Coursera, Simplylearn are all some of the online education sites that have been trending in the ed tech sector.

Founded in 2012, UpGrad, an excellent example of ed tech innovation and was funded by Ronnie Screwvala and Unilazer Ventures, has its office in Mumbai. UpGrad has the highest rankings of web traffic YoY. The courses provided are all available online and are very industry relevant. Product & Technology, Sales & Marketing, and Data Science are the main Program Domains of UpGrad.

Upgrad not only helps organizations with their training needs it also provides various partnership models like New-Hire training (Training provided for the freshers/newbies), On-Boarding (training for the lateral hires), and Continuous skilling (training for the existing employees). These learning models help organizations to reduce their internal investment of time, business opportunity cost and much more. Apple Inc., HCL, Flipkart, IBM, and Jet Airways are a few among a big list of their Clientele.

The specializations cover Machine learning & AI, Big Data, and Data Science subjects with PG Program and Machine learning & NLP, Machine learning & Deep learning subjects have PG Certification. Digital Marketing, Product Management, Entrepreneurship, Management, and Insurance are covered under the Management Branch in providing PG Certification and Strategic Digital Marketing is an Executive Program. Under the technology branch Big Data, Software Development, and Blockchain are the PG programs, and Entrepreneurship, Product Management, and Blockchain technology are the subjects that have PG Certification.

Mayank Kumar, Ravijot Chugh, and Phalgun Kompalli, the co-founders of Upgrad are a team of IIT-Delhi alumni. The course content of any program on Upgrad is of top quality and provides industry relevant online programs that are designed to provide world-class learning experience anytime and anywhere to its users. The technology industry changes at a very fast pace and the fresh engineering graduates/ employees at all levels find a need to stay abreast with the ever-changing technology. Upgrad provides these fresh graduates and experienced employees to stay on top of the game by some excellent course materials that not only helps them to enhance their skills but also an option of an improved career path.

 There are a number of online education program providers and Simplilearn, Cousera, and Udemy are a few leading ones to be considered to understand the various benefits and drawbacks that we can look at in comparison with Upgrad. Coursera, also an online learning platform founded by Stanford professors offers over 2400 courses and a wide variety of specializations and degrees in subjects like medicine, biology, engineering, mathematics, business, computer science, data science, social science, digital marketing to name a few among many others. ISB of India, University of London, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and the Yonsei University of Korea are some of its strategic partners.

Simplilearn is an ed tech company that is based out of San Francisco and was founded in the year 2010. The executive/ co-founding members are a mix of alumni from IIT, NIT and some premiere American Universities. Simplilearn claims of providing online training in Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, Data science, Digital Marketing, and Project Management. The company also mentions that its course content is designed by world-class industry experts, and claims to have a virtual classroom, online classes, and 24/7 assistance. Providing online training to the existing employee workforce of the industry in various technology disciplines seems to be the forte of Simplilearn.

Udemy, another giant in the online learning platform was founded in 2010. While it was built as software for live virtual classroom, but failed to impress investors. However, 1000 instructors created around 2000 courses and soon it had over 10000 registered users. The founders considered attempting for financing and succeeded with a million dollar of venture funding. Udemy seems to work on MOOC (Massive open online course) design. None of the courses offered by Udemy has any university accreditation. Udemy enables instructors to upload online courses and the topics can be chosen by the instructors from various categories like arts, science, technology to name a few. The Udemy site enables the instructors to earn from the tuition revenue and retains earning based on whether the students were attracted to the site’s marketing.

While Coursera offers courses from some of the premier universities and the schedules of the courses offered are preset and frequent the recent focus has been more on paid courses as opposed to the free courses they offered during the early years.

Udemy has a wide range of subjects and the pace of the courses offered can be decided by the student. However, a large number of courses available on Udemy costs the users a nominal fee and since Udemy enables anyone to create a video with the help of the tool provided, the quality of a lot of courses are low since they are mostly created by instructors who may be looking to make some quick cash.

Udemy, Coursera, Simplilearn and many more top ed-tech sites concentrate on providing courses with or without paid subscriptions in a wide variety of subjects. Upgrad has tailor-made training courses at various experience levels based on the needs of organizations (new hire training for freshers, training for lateral hires) etc., The Upgrad site also provides services like hiring a skilled workforce which enables organizations to hire highly skilled resources which may be challenging to hire from the market with the exact skills. The courses offered by Upgrad seems to be more professional and tailor-made to meet the requirements of organizations from various sectors.

The IT industry is growing at a fast pace and the requirements for the skilled and unskilled workforce is increasing by manifolds and this kind of growth puts a lot of pressure on the HR and L&D departments of the organizations. While depending upon inbound resources to hire and train new and existing employees is a great idea, it might be time- consuming at times and can lead to a bit of a challenge in terms of completing projects. Thanks to sites like Upgrad, hiring of highly skilled resources/ training the existing workforce is all available at fingertips and has become more cost-efficient and less time-consuming.

While online tailored packages of training is a welcome change as opposed to the traditional methods, there is still a long way to go for these eLearning companies since a lot of organizations still adhere to the traditional L&D methods and breaking out of the norm seems to be a gamble for many of them. Considering the fact that Udemy and Coursera kind of eLearning sites provide online courses, tutor interactions and schedules with or without some nominal fees and that has already resulted in a big part of users moving away from the traditional classroom methods of learning and are ready to pursue the modern online techniques of learning it can be safely assumed that the eLearning has arrived in India and it is here to stay. The eLearning sites need to do more research on the requirements of students/ employers so that they can design the courses accordingly and make the courses more scalable.

Indian students have already accepted the benefits of online learning and are slowly moving towards it from traditional learning methods. While the ed-tech companies have arrived in the Indian education scene, it is important for them to consider better-researched, scalable course packages and make them cost-efficient in order to achieve a much bigger ratio of profit.

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