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E-Learning: Access and Scope of Digital Education

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  • Published
    27th Jan, 2021
  • There has been a ceaseless march for accelerating the pace of digital education and remote learning initiatives across India in general and rural India in particular.
  • The Central Government along with State/ UT Governments has been constantly working towards socio-educational reforms through diverse programmes of digital education and virtual learning.

Digital Education: Concept and Pedagogy

  • Contemporary COVID-19 pandemic has yielded the effect of fast-tracking digital initiatives particularly in rural India.
  • Generally, digital education is considered as a type of education and learning that is "accompanied by technology or by instructional practice that makes effective use of technology.
  • It encompasses the application of a wide spectrum of practices including blended and virtual learning".
  • Use of mobile technologies, and other digital devices have accelerated the pace of digital education and digital learning.

Related Terminologies of Digital Education in Rural India

  • Online Learning: Online learning is the learning by accessing available online resources. Thus, it is associated with the provision of electronic contents available on a computer/mobile device.
  • Web-based Learning: Web-based learning refers to the process and practice of learning by using web browsers.
  • E-Iearning: E-Iearning is the process of using electronic technologies for teaching-learning processes in which the learning activities take place either entirely or partially online. They can be conducted by means of electronic media without the use of the Internet.
  • Blended Learning: Blended learning generally combines virtual learning with traditional classroom learning. An example of blended learning is the flipped classroom where online activities are completed outside the classroom providing an opportunity for more in-depth discussion during the face-to-face time spent in classes.
  • Virtual Learning: Creating virtual classrooms for rural and remote communities of the country is the need of the hour.
    • Virtual learning is a learning strategy
    • Remote access to an unlimited array of educational services worldwide
    • Virtual classrooms and learning situations
    • Individualised learning process
    • Use of different learning styles
    • Safe and secure learning environment.
    • Flexible learning in terms of time, location, and pac.
    • Cost-effective and time-effective, etc.

Pedagogy of Rural Digital Education

  • Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching. In a broader perspective, digital education is applied to enhance the learning experience rather than replace traditional methods.

Access and Scope

  • As per the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and its subsequent Amendments, it is important to ensure equity in education with equal access to quality teaching and learning along with innovative use of resources.
  • In the present scenario of COVID-19 and educational development of rural India, students, teachers, parents and community members are open to access the varied interventions of digital education and virtual learning.

Innovative Digital Education Initiatives

  • DIKSHA-Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing, launched in 2017, is a national platform for school education to address the challenge of remote learning especially in rural areas. It is available for all the learners of grades 1 to 12 and it can be accessed through a web portal and mobile application. Salient features include:
    • Autonomy and choice within a national framework
    • Online-offline and varied types of devices
    • Diversity of content and energized textbooks
    • Data provides the ability to see and empower
    • Local language content and open licensing framework
    • Bridging the physical and digital world
    • Diversity, flexibility and evolving, etc.
  • ePathshalais a joint initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi for the purpose of 'showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio-video resources, periodicals and a variety of other digital resources'.
  • SwayamPrabha Channels: Through 32 channels earmarked for school education and higher education separately, high quality educational programmes are telecasted by the MHRD and the same are open for people of rural India for accessing remote digital learning.
  • NROER-National Repository Educational Resources is a collaborative platform for sharing of open educational resources. NROER hosts large number educational resources in many subjects and in different Indian languages for Primary, Secondary and Senior Secondary classes.
  • ICT Scheme under Samagra Shikshahas integrated the efforts of Computer Aided Learning(CAL) ofSarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA) with the ICT interventions of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)
  • Shaala Darpanis an e-Governance platform for all Kendriya Vidyalayas.
  • Shaala Siddhi also known as The National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation (NPSSE) enables the schools to evaluate their performance and thereby bring improvement.
  • E-Granthalayais an integrated Library Management Software developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan (DISHA) to impart IT training to people including Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and authorised ration dealers in all the States/UTs across the country.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan (PMGDISHA): The major focus is to 'bridge the digital divide, specifically targeting the rural population including the marginalized sections of society.
  • Role of UNISED: Similar efforts have been made by UNISED INDIA for implementing various digital initiatives particularly in rural India that includes Low Cost and No Cost e-Resources, Solar Energy Operated Smart Classes, Projector Based Learning, Computer Aided Learning, ICT Integrated Education, Formation and Use of Professional Learning Groups, Capacity Building on Early Grade Pedagogy and Virtual Learning and unique interventions under RashtriyaAvishkarAbhiyan (RAA).


  • India is moving towards becoming a global knowledge super power in which educational technology, digital initiatives and virtual classrooms play prominent roles especially for the people of rural and remote India. Hence, digital education and virtual learning need to be the essential prerequisites of most of the rural development programmes.

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