Digitisation is changing the world, every aspect of Human interactions has had an upgrade in the last decade. This revelation of digital connections in the human paraphernalia is compelling and penetrating the human life. The surge in digital interface is transforming the human awareness to a whole new level. Be it connecting with the outer world or deep cognitive excavation, human beings are subjected to digital coding and it is readily becoming a part of their virtual DNA.

Learning is the essence of one’s own experiences and from the medieval times to this age, humans have been evolving to find novel ideas of gaining knowledge. Digitisation has enhanced the Gurukul idea of social learning by melting the geographical boundaries and the fact that millions of Shishyas can be imparted the knowledge from any part of the globe simultaneously. Today digital learning platforms have become the new normal and books are being replaced by devices. Digitised learning is empowering millions of learners to gain skills at their own pace and from the institutes of their choices.

IFIN has partnered with edX, the leading not-for-profit online learning destination, founded by Harvard and MIT. Through this partnership, IFIN has created a customized catalog of edX courses and created a function specific, online learning path, for its employees. The modular programs, now available through this platform, provide high-quality skilling to help employees advance their skill set, or follow a path to an accelerated in house programs and development.
At IFIN, people are at the centre of all activities. In keeping with trends today, digitisation of learning is the imperative action. I am very pleased that IFIN Academy has partnered with edX as a choice of excellence in the field of digitised learning. With this partnership, IFIN will be able to bring the best of global learning to its multinational employee base,” commented Mr. Ramesh C Bawa, MD & CEO, IL&FS Financial Services Limited.
An edX survey of online learners revealed a growing demand for a series of rich and rigorous courses, influenced by the demands of the job market. Learners want flexible, affordable, real-time knowledge and skills that enable and prepare them for a specific job or career that is currently the most sought after.


The Genesis of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
The Idea of distance learning started in the 60’s, students from around the world were able to do correspondence courses from prominent academies. Correspondence study only lasted till the electronic revolution and led to the use of radio and television as a primary source of distance learning. Those who could not afford formal education used these mediums to get access to knowledge and skills. Subsequently, Video lectures and customized pedagogy were used for the audience of distance learning, but due to its passivity it lacked the main pedagogical factor for learners.
The introduction of multimedia and social media, brought the amalgamation of different pedagogies like formal correspondence material, written assignments, Facebook groups, Wiki pages, blogs, forums and other resources creating a strong community of learners in many countries. The first MOOC was made in 2008, with around 2500 learning benefiting from it directly and it has reached more than 6 million MOOC learners across the globe till the first half of 2017. Today the MOOC learners’ population outnumbers a big city like Los angles.

The rise of MOOCs
It is known that 65% of the world’s population cannot afford education from quality institutions like MIT and Harvard. Students and learners in developing countries have taken this opportunity and enhance their skills to the next level. It is a networking platform which revolutionized learning as learners from across the globe connect to share knowledge and help each other in enhancing the social learning quotient. MOOCs provide the opportunity to gain quality content in a time free / pace free environment at practically no cost. It brings together people from different cultures and add the dash of diversified perspective to learning.
The IFIN edX tie-up will provide the employees of IFIN to go beyond the dominions and get an opportunity to do recognized certifications from institutes like MIT, Harvard, New York Institute of Finance, IIM Bangalore, IIT Bombay, Microsoft, Berkeley, Georgetown, Boston University and so on. This hosting on the IFIN Academy portal through edX, have more than 1500 courses from more than 150 premier institutes around the world.


Few Facts – MOOCs
MOOCs have primarily grown a lot in the western world, with US and Europe almost comprising about 50% of the MOOC learners. In India, the numbers are readily growing and from a 7% in 2016 to around 11% in 2017, MOOC learners’ community in India is growing. You may get this question that is this more for the students than for the corporate world, so the answer to this is that 50% of the MOOC learners across the big players like edX are working professionals who enhance their skills and knowledge while on the job.
The IFIN edX Partnership provides three types of courses for the IFIN employees,

  • Credit-eligible (i.e. the students get credits and may be applied to accelerate a Master’s Degree from the university)
  • Professional Certificates that develop the proficiency and expertise that employers are looking for with specialized training and professional education
  • Courses designed to provide a deep understanding of key concepts through a series of courses

This tie-up brings premier institutes and their faculties to the devices of employees and with no pressure the employees are free to learn at their own pace. Video lectures, discussion boards, graded assessments and interactive content move away from the conventional way of learning. For example, data analysing course from Microsoft, brings the actual faculties from Microsoft to help you learn the concepts through the Microsoft excel tool. This kind of interaction builds the learning bridge which gives an opportunity to the learner to interact with the developers of the tool and also provide feedback to them by highlighting any challenges.

The IFIN Agenda:
IFIN’s people philosophy has been to constantly upgrade its people practices and benchmark with the industry. The organization’s focus on skill building and professional growth are key matrices to bring the best out of its employees and propel this agenda. The Leadership at IFIN has been keen on creating a culture of learning and this new direction helps the employees to adapt to new learning methods.
It is derived from a market research that there will be more than 8 billion MOOCs users across the globe by 2020 and with edX doing its first NBFC tie up in India, this learning platform will bring state-of-the-art learning for IFIN employees. It is important to keep the legacy alive, but it is important as well to move with the changing times and imbibe the legacy into the new order. With IFIN’s philosophy that “People Build Businesses”, there is a continued focus on capability building, finding innovative learning methods and above all keeping the welfare of employees at the core of its businesses.

About the Author
Sudakshina Bhattacharya
Executive Vice President & Head – Human Resources, IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN)

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