Pradeep Narayanan President, NIIT Digital and Growth Initiatives, NIIT Limited

The education sector is undergoing a paradigm shift with the adoption of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and the internet of things (IoT). This transformation is enabled by 5G networks with significantly high bandwidth and low latency. Industry leaders share their views on the use cases of these technologies, challenges in deployment and upcoming digital trends in the sector…

What are the use cases of technologies such as AR/VR, IoT and AI/ML in the education sector? How will 5G drive the adoption of these solutions?

New-age technologies such as AR, VR, IoT, AI and ML have the potential to address some of the biggest challenges in the education sector such as the lack of quality education, student engagement and personalised learning. The education sector can significantly improve its efficiency by adopting technologies such as robot teachers, chatbot-based learning and beyo­nd-classroom-hours teaching assistance.

What are the ICT solutions deployed by your organisation? What are the main challenges faced while deploying new-age technologies?

NIIT’s integrated digital framework facilitates digital learning services and experiences by incorporating multi-faceted systems across the learner lifecycle, and lear­ning and development value chain. The framework enables demand and discovery, learning design and development, learner experience, education process management, career success and life-long learning. It also includes business engagement that encompasses request process flows, tracking and monitoring processes, reporting and dashboards. Our dedicated learning technology practice focuses on innovative cloud-based solutions and the continuous enhancement of our technology platform.

To cater to a significant number of us­ers who access training through mobile devices, it was imperative to develop a mo­bile-first responsive solution. In certain geographies, end-users encounter low-to-moderate bandwidth/connectivity issues, highlighting the need for optimised str­eaming techniques and offline playback of content. New technologies necessitate the processing and collection of substantial amounts of data, which in turn poses security challenges.

How will the rise of various AI tools impact teaching and learning? How will it influence learner-instructor interaction?

AI facilitates personalised approaches that cater to individual needs, resulting in targeted learning strategies and improved out­­comes. Adaptive assessments, intellige­nt tutoring systems and predictive analytics are examples of AI capabilities that enhance the educational experience.

AI acts as a loyal wingman for teachers, taking on tedious tasks, delivering personalised feedback, and serving as a constant “coach” within the learning ecosystem. This gives learners greater control over their own learning and results in enhanced learning experiences.

Moreover, AI can identify when students require additional support or when more challenging tasks can be assigned based on their performance. In the future, it may even analyse facial expressions to assess learners’ understanding to determine more effective learning approaches.

Overall, the integration of AI tools in education empowers both learners and in­structors, enabling personalised learning ex­periences, targeted interventions, and co­ntinuous improvement in teaching me­thodologies.

What are the three key digital trends to watch out for in the education sector?

The education sector is undergoing a significant transformation driven by various digital trends. The top three current digital trends in the education sector are:

  • Personalised learning: As classrooms evolve and technology advances, personalised education has become the norm. With the help of technology, teachers can now offer students diverse learning ex­p­eriences beyond the standard curriculum. The traditional teacher-centric approach has ushered in a new era, where educators become coaches, role models, and facilitators of the learning process in online environments and applications.
  • Enhanced immersive learning with VR: VR and AR technologies are being utilised to create immersive learning ex­pe­riences as they allow students to ex­plo­re virtual environments, enhancing their understanding of complex conce­pts and providing practical training ac­ross various fields.
  • Gamification: Gamification places an emphasis on learning that encourages deeper engagement and strong performance. Through entertaining quizzes and interactive activities, students can enjoy the learning process while demonstrating their potential, way of thinking and logical skills. The teacher can ascertain the student’s preferences for particular activities and provide the appropriate tools for skill development.