While Indians are busy searching for food recipes on YouTube during their quarantine, many are finding it a perfect time to learn about the pandemic, science of well-being and how to manage time. Ever since news of the coronavirus outbreak, learning habits have massively changed. Education-technology companies are witnessing the biggest-ever surge during lockdown. Most online brands that cater to either K-12 education or professional courses have seen a significant uptick. The registration for courses increased as high as between 50 to 1500 per cent.
While traditional favourites Data Science, Python Basics and Machine Learning are among hot-selling online courses, for the past three months, people have taken a keen interest in learning communication skills, technical drawing to meditation and musical instruments.
The industry experts believe that people are looking for ways to be productive under quarantine. Many are proactively focussing on an upskill or to re-skill in response to the uncertain economic situation. Some are trying to hone soft business skills like team management, chatbot certificates and so on.
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To earn a little extra, many professionals like teachers are creating their own content. Ed-tech company EdX has a course for educators who wish to move their courses from in-person to online. “We’ve also seen a 125 per cent year-over-year increase in new instructors creating courses on our platform as experts look to share their knowledge and find new sources of income,” commented Irwin Anand, MD, Udemy India.
Coronavirus courses attract global interests
As per leading online education company Coursera, since going live on February 18, Imperial College London’s course Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19 has seen over 68,000 enrollments, making it the most popular course launched on their platform in 2020 so far, second-most in India. There is also a 360 per cent increase in registration for epidemic/ pandemic courses.
Some of the popular ones are Epidemics – the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases by The Pennsylvania State University; Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks from the University of Pittsburgh; Epidemics from The University of Hong Kong and Outbreaks and Epidemics from Johns Hopkins University.
“We have seen an overall 3,406 per cent increase in enrollments in public health content in India,” informed Raghav Gupta, MD, India, Coursera. Meanwhile, courses like ‘Science of Well Being’ and ‘Science Matters: Let’s Talk about COVID 19’ are among the 10 most popular courses in India on Coursera’s platform.
To tap the surge in healthcare courses, online learning platform Udacity too has come up with an AI for Healthcare Nanodegree programme. The project-based courses will provide practical experience and resources needed to work and advance in the healthcare field.
Meanwhile, the higher educational institutes in the country like Lucknow University and IIT-Guwahati have added coronavirus as part of its existing courses. These programmes are meant not just for medical practitioners but technology and management students as well.
Unwind yourself, follow your passion
People are also relying on online learning for lifestyle and health support as well. Interestingly, in the last two months, Udemy has witnessed a surge in courses on Pilates (402 per cent increase) and meditation (111 per cent).
There are many candidates who are pursuing either a new or long-standing passion in music or drawing. These ed-tech platforms are helping people to start at the beginner level, and then gradually, move to the advanced one. “I always wanted to learn to play the guitar but due to my professional commitments, could never get time. I have enrolled in guitar classes and it’s fun. I might not perfect this art but it is a good stress-buster,” shared 32-year-old Priyank Singh, a chartered accountant.
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People are not just worried about their physical health but mental too. Working from-home and for-home is the new normal. As per reports, there is an increase in stress and anxiety due to the pandemic and social distancing. To deal with these unprecedented times, many are taking refuge in helplines or are enrolling for courses that can help them deal with it. According to Udemy, people want to learn stress-management, decision-making and self-discipline for personal development. “I usually do not shout at my colleagues but as I am finding it difficult to coordinate, I do get loud. Remote working has its pros and cons. I have enrolled in a course on self-discipline, probably it will help me figure out how to manage myself before others,” remarked 34-year-old Raveesh Khullar who works as a manager in a travel company.
Turn to soft business skills
Due to the impending economic sluggishness owing to Covid-19, many are proactively looking to upskill or re-skill in response. Not just at the junior level but those at the CXO level too, want to upgrade their skills. According to Aditya Malik, CEO, TalentEdge this trend is here to stay. “Since the lockdown, our platform has witnessed a 45 per cent surge in the number of inquiries from professionals looking to up-skill themselves, especially from senior executives with over 15 years of experience. Due to current economic condition, we believe that the trend is expected to continue as more and more employees are looking to re-skill/up-skill to stay ahead of the curve in difficult times ahead,” he said.
Further, corporates are increasingly exploring relevant courses in leadership, strategy, and general management domains for their high performing employees.
As might be expected, there is strong growth in course enrollments for core work-related skills like learning chatbots, Microsoft Azure, and OpenCV as well as soft business skills like Growth Mindset, Innovation and Communication.
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