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Report Explores Mobile Learning Habits of India’s Next 500 Million Users

By Henry Kronk
December 23, 2018
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Many edtech companies today focus on existing learners and how to attract them to their platforms and services. In certain areas, however, investors and startups have their attention fixed on another market: new users. Gray Matters Capital (GMC), a VC fund and accelerator based in Atlanta that focuses on the Indian market, has a new report out this month focusing on the next half billion learners that are expected to come online in the next few years and their mobile learning habits. 

The costs of mobile data, internet connection, and devices around the world are dropping. Meanwhile, average earnings in many communities around the world are rising. Within a short period of time, many people and households that currently do not have access to or cannot afford the technology necessary to participate in online learning will be able to do so.

6 Takeaways from the GMC Report on Mobile Learning

But what will this next generation of 500 million learners look like? How will they behave? How will they learn best? GMC, with the help of the behavioral science research firm FinalMile, surveyed a group of 2,000 people from what has come to be known as Middle India to find out more. 

1. New users already have some knowledge of digital technology

The group surveyed has yet to go online regularly. But they also do not live on an island. 97% have used a mobile app before in some educational function. This population, therefore, differs significantly from the first adopters who initially used apps primarily for entertainment, social media, and communication. The concept of mobile learning is not new, but instead, a foregone conclusion. 

2. Mobile test prep is popular

Among 18-25-year-olds surveyed, one of the most common educational uses of mobile learning was test prep. GMC heard again and again from learners studying for government exams and other standardized tests. These leaners notably did not typically use mobile learning as their sole preparatory device. Instead, they favored a blended approach that included classroom resources as well. 

3. 85% are willing to pay a reasonable fee for these services.

The vast majority of these young learners were willing to pay a monthly subscription within the range of ₹100-250 ($1.40-$3.50). As the authors write, “Contrary to common perception that users won’t pay for such products, we actually found that if the product was relevant and easy to use, users did not mind paying a price that was affordable.”

4. Parents are open to their kids using mobile learning.

Virtually every parent surveyed by GMC had either already set their kids up with some kind of eLearning app or were open to the idea. 

5. Parents are also willing to pay for these services. 

Roughly half of the parents surveyed said they would be willing to spend ₹250 or more for their kid’s mobile learning per month. The other half said that the range of ₹100-₹250 was more realistic with their budget. 

6. Issues remain with access to devices. 

Despite this enthusiasm, many parents are wary of getting their children a mobile device. About half said they either could not afford one or did not support giving their children a smart phone. What’s more, others did not have reliable internet access or mobile data. 

As the report authors write, “awareness about mobile education products is still low. The only ones our surveyed audience had used were either ones for test-preparation like Byjus and specifically, within testpreparation apps, a few for government exams as well as apps for English language skill-building like Duolingo. That shows the aspiration of the users with regard to self-learning as well. Their focus is on getting jobs or doing better in jobs with help of English, not just learning for the sake of it. On the other hand, for younger children, we found parents actively look for resources that will improve academic learning and specially reading ability.”

Read the full report here.

Featured Image: Arjun Suresh, Unsplash.