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Education Technology has been a much studied area for over twenty five years. There is deep history and steady progress in online learning. MOOCs and other online platforms and products are many years old and fairly mature in their adoption, though for many, their best years are ahead. This is already a part of standard learning solutions in every serious learner’s portfolio.

But there is a lot more to the story. To simplify – online learning does not work. There is enough and more proof that learning outcomes do not improve except for those who are self motivated learners – who learn under any circumstances. It is not a mass solution. It is a proven waste of money as public provision.

That does not mean that it is not useful as a support tool, but in very specific ways as defined by a very well designed process: India does not even define digital pedagogies yet, let alone design them. To offer tech as a panacea is both old thinking and dangerous as an input to intervention design. To offer tech as a part of the solution is as inevitable as the rising of the sun. To design the tech right is the journey.

(In response to Questions)

Further in the discussion, I added:

Its not a view. It is rigorous study that matters. Obviously it will take off in volumes, that is a given. But how many mistakes we make along the way makes a difference to entire generations. To make broad statements on this is downright dangerous as it leads to huge and very costly mistakes. That’s all.

For example: To say ‘classroom instruction is passe’ is to suggest policies that invest in edu tech bypassing teachers and the classroom. Study after study after study – across countries has proved that this REDUCES learning outcomes.* To use loose language in this terrain is to experiment with the next generation. The first rule of any intervention design is – First, do no harm. The intent to do good is not enough. One must have the knowledge and the skill to do so too. This is a precise and dangerous path through a minefield. This cannot be a broad statement that will be heard by those with power but not enough sense. They will then invest incorrectly, and give fodder to the chatterati. But we have skills, and understanding, then why not do it right? Why destroy value with broad and incorrect assertions? To have a voice is to have responsibility.

*If unsupported. (edit)

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