My search for the best restaurant serving organic menu ended at Zomato. Our family’s effort to reach the place with ease ended with Uber. My wife’s dream of enriching the kitchen inventory with organic ingredients ended with Amazon. The gastronomic appetite for organic food was fully satisfied, thanks to the ‘ZomBerZon-isation’ of my kitchen. Is such a solution available for cerebral hunger also? Can the thirst for knowledge be quenched by ‘ZomBerZon-isation’ of education?
A digital restaurant discovery platform, Zomato aggregated all restaurants together to provide an institutional information exchange. Transportation’s digital tsunami came in the form of Uber that aggregated individuals with own or leased cars and other vehicles to provide the last mile service through innovative data patterns.
The world’s second-largest private employer, Amazon, integrated institutions and individuals as buyers and/or sellers into a digital market space powered by innovations of mind-boggling proportions. Result: Many end-users’ different needs have been captured as product or service commodities available at door-step through the power of ‘phygital’ economy. Such a possibility exists for education at all levels.
Different institutions offer courses that meet learner requirements with different levels of customisation—general to specific. However, the aspirational dream of learning Strategy from Michael Porter or Art and Theatre from Amitabh Bachchan will continue to be a dream if such names are not members of an exploding knowledge economy. Can contemporary institutions in their brick and mortar mode of educational transaction embrace the bits and bytes mode of educational transformation to usher in the defining moment for education?
At the policy level, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has created SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active—Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) with enabling regulations from statutory bodies such as UGC, AICTE, etc, to encourage facilitated online course completion. Another pathbreaking regulations in the form of online universities is also in the pipeline.
Backed by a strong infrastructure ecosystem like the National Knowledge Network and other initiatives that have the last-mile reach, we need a robust online educational superhighway that brings together institutions and individuals delivering products and services. Products such as smart hand-held devices, video lectures, bandwidth, etc, and services such as assessment solutions, tutoring and facilitation, mentoring, etc, need to be offered in this online boutique.
Such a knowledge marketspace must bring together recognised certifying institutions (Zomatoise), renowned subject matter experts (Uberise) and integrate them in a digitally empowered and enlightened marketspace (Amazonise) to ensure that phygitisation of education is complete.Success stories in higher education pilots with the learning experience can be replicated for more success in all forms of education. We cannot afford a red signal for this grey matter cracker which is definitely green!