NIIT, a global leader in skills and talent development, and edX, the non-profit global leader in online learning co-founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), entered into a strategic partnership to redefine the online education space in India by bringing online courses from elite institutions such as MIT and Berkeley. Through this partnership NIIT and edX aim to create high-impact learning experiences for learners by offering the next generation Blended Learning MOOC model that provides an engaging and live interactive experience that goes much beyond the core MOOC content.
Through this partnership, NIIT and edX aim to create high-impact learning experiences for learners by offering a blended learning MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) model and plans to reach out to around 5 lakh people in the next three years. The initiative will be offering up to 10 programmes that will cover fields such as programming using Python from MIT, HTML5 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University, and Data Science and Engineering with Spark from University of California, Berkeley. Students will have to pay anything from Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 for a 3 to 4 week programme. The programmes have been customized for students as well as working professionals who seek to upgrade their skills.
edX and NIIT pioneers in their respective domains have a track record of offering the best education and training experiences to their learners across the globe. Over the last 15 years, NIIT has continuously invested in its Blended Learning delivery capability through innovations such as its Imperia Synchronous Learning delivery model and its Cloud CampusTM with student-centric learning enablers. Under this partnership, the live synchronous delivery capability and on-ground student servicing capability of NIIT will be combined with the world class MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) provided by edX and its university partners to offer futuristic talent development programs to learners in India. edX is already in partnership with several Indian institutions like IIT Bombay, IIM Bengaluru and Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani. It has more than 7.3 lakh Indian learners and has witnessed a 96 per cent growth in its Indian learner base over the last year.
To start with, programs aligned to the changing future-skill-sets requirement of the industry in areas like Programming using Python from MIT, HTML5 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University, and Data Science and Engineering with Spark from University of California, Berkeley, will be offered jointly by NIIT and edX. These could be availed by students at the college, recent graduates or working professionals looking to upskill themselves.
Additionally, many organizations in India are also looking at integrating MOOC offerings in their overall talent development plans to bring in range and flexibility while promising to lower costs of upskilling employees. Select pilot courses would be made available to organizations looking at MOOCs for upskilling. NIIT will work closely with industry bodies such as NASSCOM and the member organizations to add value to the learning development initiatives.
Despite the popularity of MOOCs, recent studies have found that completion rates of the programs are low with some reported to be significantly lower than 10%. The low retention and completion rates are major concerns for educators and institutions. Only 5% of enrolled students complete a free MOOC. Even MOOC courses with paid verified certification options see completion rates of only 60 percent or higher. So there is significant scope for improvement which this initiative is targeting with its unique Blended Learning model.
The alliance between NIIT and edX will bring the best of eLearning and instructor-led education to the students. For select courses, NIIT and edX will offer a pre-configured course that includes the MOOC, blended services from NIIT, and the certification exam from the Institutional partner. Thus, the students will be able to earn a Verified Certificate from the concerned Institute.