With the emergence of technological advancement, especially in the digital world, education has found a whole new dimension. Whether it is for kids or for adults, learning has become much easier and faster with the amalgamation of education and technology. Technology is making education more interesting and quickly graspable even in India where K-12 (Kindergarten – 12th Grade) education system has always been in practice. With the use of technologies like ML, AI, Virtual Reality and virtual classrooms, education is no longer confined only to books and notes.
Apart from the traditional classroom education, Indian students are keen on learning from the study materials available online. According to a study by KPMG called ‘#IndiaTrends 2018’, India has the largest k-12 education system and it is increasing at a CAGR of 20 percent. The same report has also demonstrated that India’s online education industry is growing exponentially and is expected to touch USD 1.9 billion in the next three years. So, is Ed-Tech industry ready to penetrate this new wave of Indian language internet users? Let’s look deeper into it.
New Opportunities for Students with E-learning:
With reduced data charges and affordable smartphones, more students are getting access to the internet and this has opened the door to new opportunities. Online education industry in India is flourishing and it comes with myriad benefits as well. Whether it is the cost-effectiveness, 24*7 accessibility or the ease of study, e-learning, as opposed to traditional classroom lessons, offers a lot of benefits.
The KPMG Assets report published on online education in India has shown that the largest market for e-learning at present is Reskilling and Online Certification courses. The report predicts that Primary and Secondary Supplemental Education will be the largest category in online education and by 2021 and it is going to touch USD 773 million as per the current growth rate of 60%. The fastest growing category in this domain will be Test Preparation (CAGR 64%).
Target Indian Market with Localized E-learning:
From the recent reports published (in year 2017) by KPMG and Google, it is quite comprehensible that in the next 3 years there will be a huge number of Indian internet users who will prefer to access the internet in their own language. Every 9 out of 10 Indians will use Indian language internet as opposed to English which is expected only to grow by 3% and touch 199 million by 2021. Hence, it is quite obvious that English language digital learning platforms can only cater to the 10% of the enormous Indian internet user-base. Here are the different aspects to localization to make e-learning more accessible to the Indian language internet users.
E-learning Website Localization:
To make online education more accessible to the Indian language internet users, it is imperative to localize the user interface of an e-learning website. With the cutting-edge tools and technologies, localization of multilingual websites is no longer a time-taking and expensive task. E-learning websites, if available in Indian languages can really help non-English speaking students to come forward and enroll for new courses online. Also, as we have seen earlier that 70% of Indian internet users trust Indian language content, it is also important to cater to them in their own language. Without trust imparting education cannot be possible.
Steps of E-learning Website Localization:
It requires some planning to get a website or app fully localized in Indian languages. Here is how localization should be done for the e-learning websites.
Step 1: Localization of The Written Content:
The first step to localization is to localize all the written content which are available at the e-learning websites. Most of the time people confuse between translation and localization. While translation is converting a text from one language to another, localization implies making the content adaptable for a target language audience and taking into account all the cultural nuances. While localizing written content, one should also consider the length and the word count of the content as it tends to change when localized from one language to another.
Step 2: User Interface Localization:
In order to tap into the humongous Indian language user-base, a website or app must have a localized interface that will increase the ease of use for the customers. Starting from sign up/ login to the drop down menu and website navigation – all these must be available in Indian languages for the better understanding of non-English speaking Indian users.
Step 3: Localization of Online Courses:
For schools in India, there are different language mediums but when it comes to online education, English is the only language available. This makes online study materials inaccessible to half the netizens in India. Since entertainment apps, chatting and social media apps are available in most Indian languages; it encourages students, especially teenagers to engage more in those activities. But if online education is provided in Indian languages, there will be an unbelievable transformation in the entire education system in India.
E-learning platforms include Images, audios and videos too which are an extremely important part of the online courses. To make these more comprehensible for the Indian language speaking students/learners, it is imperative to localize them. Videos can also have subtitles available in multiple Indian languages which might enhance the experience of the Indian e-learning platform users and also help them learn from various teachers/faculties all across the globe without facing the language barrier.
Encouraging Local Language Educators:
Not only the students, the local language speaking teachers can also come forward and join online classrooms to impart knowledge. This will not just support these educators financially but also help them break the geographical barrier and connect to a larger mass. Local language speaking educators in turn can help in the on-boarding of new students and promote faster adoption of digital education.
Education is the backbone of any country and since digital education is rapidly progressing and almost replacing traditional classroom education, we Indians should not stay behind. We must also buckle up for the new wave and prepare ourselves to dive deep into the sea of knowledge that is available digitally. And, the only way to educate India through online medium is by breaking the language barrier through localization.