Report claims m- and e-learning expanding in India
India is emerging as an important centre for e-learning courses, a report has claimed. RNCOS study Indian Distance Learning Market Analysis predicted that the market for distance learning online within the country should have expanded by around 24 per cent by 2015 to 2016 when compared with levels from 2011 to 2012. As a result, the sector will have a total value of INR 87 Billion (£981.5 million) by the end of 2016, with some of the factors leading to this expansion including the ongoing growth of internet access in India, rising awareness of e-learning solutions and increasing levels of "faculty crunch", or a lack of manpower within educational facilities. Virtual learning environments will be accessible through mobile devices and several telecommunication providers have already started to implement m-learning services. These include general knowledge tutorials on vocabulary, question sets, the school syllabus, dial-in tutorials, test tips and results alerts, assistance for physically challenged learners and English lessons. According to the RNCOS study, the use of online learning spaces that use mobile innovations is rapidly evolving within India and is beginning to have a significant position in the education sector. Some of the drivers supporting the health of the industry include the adaptability of the technology, low prices, small sizes and good levels of portability, while the state is providing students with cheap tablets in a way that is also "propelling the market". Currently, mobile value-added services have an m-learning penetration of between seven and 12 per cent within India, although the report forecast that this number will also rise significantly in years to come. E-learning firms within the country are continually developing and improving products, with high demand realised for many offerings, the investigators stated. Rapid growth of multimedia, the internet and communication technology has brought many Indian regions together, the researchers continued. "It is expected that soon, India will emerge as an e-learning and m-learning hub," they remarked.