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Web-based Training Takes Off In India

Internet-based training is picking up as an easy medium of learning in India.

The speed at which the Web is expanding allows institutions such as the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) to innovate online courses for their Net varsity.

Education is only one of the many fields being transformed by the Net.

This is a form of education where learning takes place in a virtual classrooms on the Web, where examinations are conducted and assessed in that mysterious realm known as cyberspace and where the medium really is the message.

Though online universities are a very real phenomenon in the US, in India, however, it is still in its infancy. A majority of Indian students attending classes online are students of computer-related subjects.

Most organizations offering online education are thus involved in computer-related training.

Organizations such as NIIT offer a number of modular courses online while an institution such as Aptech has incorporated online classes and forums into its regular curriculum.

There are others such as Zee Education, which has plans of going online with diploma and certificate courses in commerce and other subjects, in addition to computer courses.

As Sanjiv Kataria of NIIT's Corporate Marketing Organization explains, "The biggest advantage is 'anytime, anywhere' learning and that is the goal that we are working towards." NIIT's NetVarsity has around 60,000 users worldwide.

Aptech offers online training courses to corporates and individuals wishing to enhance their skills and candidates who desire international certification through the MCSE certified online examination.

NIIT's US-wing NIIT (USA) started the Internet university nearly two years ago and offers focused training on specific brands of software, with an initial module on generics.

Internet technology courses such as Java programming, Web publishing and building Web sites using graphics and multimedia are offered in the NetVarsity.

The varsity also offers courses in C++ and Visual Basic, operating systems (Windows 9x/NT) and client servers (Oracle).

The varsity uses what it calls skilletes to deliver the training. The skillete, trademarked by NIIT, is basically a tool to deliver education on demand.

Therefore, each skillete is specific to a skill that the learners think they need to pick up. Each skillete contains a set of instruction that take about half an hour to go through.

As this is done through NIIT's interactive Web site, NetVarsity claims that it uses skilletes because they are Web playable and developed keeping in mind the handicaps of traditional learnings.

All the skilletes on the site and bunched together in a sequence to form a module.

Modules are then sequenced to form a course. However, a major limitation of online education in India is the fact that a very small percentage of the country's population has access to computers.

Moreover, non-availability of payment through credit cards is currently a major problem.

Additionally, market observers point out, India needs to work in the areas of connectivity and bandwidth, if online education is to take off here.

For online examinations might also be a problem because of the fact that connectivity might be better in some areas, than in others.