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Investing in Online Education
15 February 2019
Online technologies as a resource for improving quality of education

Online education helps us form a system of continuing education, and lifelong learning in our fast-paced world became a basic necessity. There are motivational components, but, first of all, this is about improving quality of education, because before uploading a course to an online platform, teacher tries to make it better and more comprehensible — Alevtina Chernikova, Rector, National University of Science and Technology MISiS.

For over 20 years, Russia has been exploring online education, using different technologies, implementing it in educational organizations in various ways. But this system could not remain hidden, sooner or later the state should look into the development of online education and launch large-scale serious projects — Alexander Molchanov, Founder, Professional Electronic Education.

When I am hearing about the competition between online and offline, between Russian and foreign projects and other things, I am asking myself a question <…> Why does the school forbid the child to use their mobile phone? Why can’t it capture their attention in any other way? Because if it stops doing it, the child would disconnect from what is going on around them — Aleksandr Laryanovskiy, Business Development Director, Managing Partner, Skyeng.

Investment into online education is growing

The market of online education is an order less than the offline market, but it is growing two or three times faster, it is a global trend, and Russia is following it. Despite the absence of any special programmes or benefits, investments keep coming in — Konstantin Parshin, Vice President and IT cluster CEO, Skolkovo Foundation .

Unified educational online platform increases demand for the programmes

Among the goals of the project, most importantly, was the creation of Russian single-window system that would unify all online platforms – at that moment we already had around 30 of them. And now 30 out of 31 platforms operating in Russia are single-window based. Moreover, a system for quality assessment of online courses has been developed, as well as for assessment of student personality intensification, and also a system for training and retraining of teachers has been created — Alevtina Chernikova, Rector, National University of Science and Technology MISiS.

Difficulties in regulation of online education

Yandex.Uchebnik is a service for schools, and this is the most difficult industry from the regulatory point view. There are two reasons for that: in some places it is very strictly regulated, while in other places it is not regulated at all. Both options are not favourable, as in the first case it is difficult to entry, ad in the second case there is always a feeling that it is going to be regulated one day, and then everybody will be in trouble — Ilya Zalessky, Head of Educational Services, Yandex.

This is a big question for us: how it is going to be regulated, how we are going to interact with the systems that the state is creating now, and how this interaction is going to look like. Through the example of integration with various regional projects, we understand that integration is a highly complex process, involving accurate login exchange and data transfer. It is a huge issue, and often it turned from a technical problem into an impediment for entering certain regions — Ilya Zalessky, Head of Educational Services, Yandex.

Lack of shared point of view between business and state

This is not exactly an opposition, but rather an interface that has not formed yet. <…> A priori innovations and state are always in conflict to some extent, and innovations are born in private business — Konstantin Parshin, Vice President and IT cluster CEO, Skolkovo Foundation .

Low level of computer literacy among teachers

Teachers have a problem of basic computer literacy, but if they understand why they need it, why it is useful, they are willing to learn — Ivan Kolomoyets, President, Co-Founder, .

Establishment of transparent rules at the online education market

Digital technologies are not about replacing a paper book with a scanned one; the principles, business models and approaches are changing. <…> The state has to gradually transit to the service model for purchasing certain assets, resources <…> The state has to draw up an agenda of rules, regulation, and inform in advance what requirements are going to be — Konstantin Parshin, Vice President and IT cluster CEO, Skolkovo Foundation .

Attention to digital content distribution

If we want to raise technological leaders throughout the country, ensure that a student from any university could create a start-up, an IT one or a technological one, <…> we need to greatly rely on digital content, on what is available to each student online, but is not a part of their educational programme — Vasily Tretyakov, Head, University 20.35 Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization.

Creation of convenient and high-quality products

What defines success or failure of Yandex.Uchebnik <…> surprisingly, it is a quite comprehensible web service, that is, if you offer a convenient service to teachers, if they trust it, they use it — Ilya Zalessky, Head of Educational Services, Yandex.

If you make a quality product, if you work with child’s motivation, if children like the product, if teachers like the product, if parents like the product, if it is useful and if they enjoy it, then of course children will use it and learn, so it is all about the product’s quality. If it is a high-quality product that can compete with games, with Netflix products in terms of production quality and interest, then children will use it — Ivan Kolomoyets, President, Co-Founder, .

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS