India makes up 11% of edX’s global learner base – Amit Goyal

online education India, online courses india


With a mission to provide quality education to everyone, ‘edX’ an online learning destination and leading MOOC provider, brings together the world’s best universities and institutions to learners across the globe.

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX offers over 1350 courses on numerous subjects like computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, marketing and architecture amongst others.

Team NewsBarons spoke with Amit Goyal, India Head at edX about India as a market for online learning, demand from Tier II locations and growth plans.

NB: What courses do Indians prefer to opt for?

Amit: As for the courses, edX offers 1350+ courses from over 110 institutions across the globe. With over 11 million global learners and over 1 million in India itself, edX is growing exponentially in this market.

Some of the most popular courses for Indian learners are –
1. Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel – Microsoft
2. Introduction to Python for Data Science – Microsoft
3. Introduction to Computer Science – HarvardX
4. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python – MITx
5. TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide – ETSx

Overall, the most popular courses on edX reflect the fact that learners come to the platform to improve their lives – whether that is to learn a skill that will help them launch or advance their career or if it is to meet their desire for lifelong learning on any topic. The most popular courses are:
Introduction to Computer Science (CS50) – HarvardX
Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python – MITx
Introduction to Linux – LinuxFoundationX
Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel – Microsoft
English Grammar and Style – UQx
The Science of Happiness – UC BerkeleyX

NB: How is the response from Tier II areas across India?

Amit: We are energized by the fact that edX has received phenomenal responses from every nook and cranny of India, making it as our second largest market globally. Our courses are specially preferred by learners from non-urban areas who do not have access to the best in class education and resources in person. They don’t have to leave their homes and travel to cities to get better education, motivation and a click is what it takes to learn from the top universities of the world, regardless of one’s location.

Amit Goyal, India Head at edX
Amit Goyal, India Head at edX

NB: Which is the largest market you cater to and where does India stand in ranking to the countries you cater to?

Amit: India has always been a priority market for edX. India makes up 11% of edX’s global learner base and has consistently been the second largest population of learners behind the United States. Along with offerings from Tier 1 global institutes, edX also has strong partnerships with Indian institutions e.g. IIT Bombay and IIM Bangaloreand blended learning partners e.g. NIIT and Pearson to impart job-ready skills to Indian learners. We look forward to continuing to grow our presence in India and to offer Indian learners more and more resources that will allow them to improve their lives and advance their careers through online learning.

NB: How big do you estimate the Indian market for edx will be by 2020?

Amit: It is just a matter of time when online courses will be accepted like classroom education in India. India as a nation has been used to the traditional way of education. However, the fact that India is the second biggest learner base for edX, after the United States, speaks volumes about the kind of recognition MOOCs are receiving in India. Employers now are giving importance to MOOCs but it will take some time before being accepted as a standalone degree for employment in India.

EdX recently launched MicroMasters programs, an initiative that is helping to bridge the knowledge gap between higher education and the workplace by offering content and credentials in the most in-demand fields and skills needed for success in today’s rapidly-evolving and tech-driven world. These credit-eligible, career-relevant programs are free to try, and can help advance careers and offer a pathway to an accelerated Master’s program. Top employers, including industry-leading companies like IBM, PWC, Hootsuite, Bloomberg, Fidelity and more, recognize MicroMasters programs for real-time, real-world relevancy. Today, edX offers more than 35 MicroMasters programs and each program is recognized by a leading corporation.

NB: What are your expansion plans?

Amit: Our expansion plans include:

1. Category enhancement

As a response to the growing acceptance of MOOCs among Indian corporates, in the last year, edX has made significant corporate and strategic advancements in India, which makes up 11% of edX’s global learner base. Chief among them include the launch of edX for Business site in December of 2016. EdX for Business provides Corporate L&D solutions for the evolving workforce, offering access to thousands of in-demand courses from the world’s best universities and leading institutions by creating a flexible and convenient way to empower employees to gain deep knowledge in highly relevant fields like IT, business management, data analytics and more. With edX for Business, companies can develop the workforce they need through customized solutions that allow them to train, engage and benefit employees in a cost-effective, flexible and scalable manner.EdX for Business offers services that include Content Curation & Mapping, API & LMS integration, Learner’s performance tracking, and flexi payment options.

2. Geographical reach

EdX courses are easily accessible to anyone with an access device and internet connection without any geographical limitation. With edX, the whole world is a virtual campus regardless of any location barrier. EdX has a strong focus on India and considering the last mile connectivity issues in some parts of India, we have ensured that our courses are accessible even on lower bandwidth. India has one of the highest penetration of smart phone and mobile internet in the world and anyone can access edX platform through mobile web, or our free Android and iOs application.

3. Strengthening process

In India and around the globe, skilled workforce populations are on the rise, and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other online courses can offer a necessary competitive edge in any market. Additionally, skills needed for employment are changing faster today than ever before. The jobs people will have five years from now, may not even exist today, which is why continuous education is exceptionally important in today’s job market.

In a recent survey of edX learners, we found that 47% of edX learners listed their edX certificate on their LinkedIn or resume. And, we’ve heard from many individual learners who say edX courses help them secure a job, like Cheryl and Akshay.

For example, Akshay Kulkarni an edX learner from India, explains how edX helped him gain a job at Microsoft. With the help of edX, he took the Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python by MIT. After this he went on to take Introduction to Computer Science offered by Harvard University, Data Science for Genomics from Harvard. He also took on Engineering Software as a Service from UC Berkeley and was a community TA for these courses during the next term. All these edX courses and the SaaS courses from UC Berkeley in particular played a huge role in him getting a job at Microsoft.

From a corporate perspective, offering employees courses and programs (like MicroMasters programs and Professional Certificate programs) that are focused on reskilling and upskilling of existing workforce is a cheaper and most viable option for corporates to cope up with the ever changing business skills requirement today.