Educational OTT Platforms : Imparting Learning Beyond Classrooms
Posted By : Arpita Pal | 24-Nov-2023
Education and learning are no longer limited to traditional classrooms, instead, it has come to people themselves. With advancements in electronic and digital infrastructure, people can directly access informational and educational content through devices such as smartphones, tablets, TV etc without having to resort to traveling longer distances for receiving education. The true pioneer in making education digitally accessible beyond theoretical information has been the introduction of OTT streaming platforms. It allows its users to access vital information through vast content libraries and study from them in conditions preferable to them, such as net connectivity, device compatibility, speed, payment options etc.
This has encouraged an expansive adoption of educational OTT platforms even by top-tier institutions, as big institutions are readily investing large sums to develop their own platform for streaming exclusive academic content. The popularity of platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare etc has solidified such learning platforms' significance as during the pandemic, their demand grew manifolds and people used them to compensate for the sudden unavailability of physical sources of learning. Many similar platforms have witnessed an increase in their users by up to 200%. This article explores what features make educational OTT platforms effective in their role as educational providers and how they benefit the masses in decreasing the literacy gap.
Must-Have Features for OTT Streaming App for Education
1) Offline Mode: When learners are subscribed to a specific course or a program on an OTT platform, to finish the entire course they need to complete multiple sets of videos and interactive tests/quizzes/assignments which is not possible to go through in one single stretch. Moreover, issues like internet connectivity, time availability, memory retention issues etc can stop the learnerâ€™s progress in completing the course. Offline mode availability can greatly resolve these issues by allowing the learner to download the video once and letting them access the video freely as per their convenience. Such an option is great for those students who have work commitments and can spend only a limited time on their program on a per-day basis. It also is easier for teachers as they can provide guidance and information as and when required by the students, instead of having to stay available at all times which is not feasible in a realistic sense.
2) API Accessibility: Application Program Interface or APIs are used in the platform for controlling and monitoring content, analyzing user data and supporting embedded players. API accessibility can vastly improve the technical performance of the platform, provide more customizations and features and improve compatibility with other devices. This makes APIs integral to the performance of the educational OTT platforms as it will allow companies and developers to integrate more features that help in delivering educational information in a more engaging and technically feasible way. As OTT platforms are big on convenience, with the help of API accessibility users are able to access their subscribed program or course from their choice of device. API provides the video with functionalities that can adjust itself to the specifications of the device for an engaging user experience.
3) Live Streaming: For imparting an optimum level of education, direct interaction plays a crucial role in developing a deeper understanding between the teacher and the student. Providing information and getting feedback in return instantly facilitates better learning and improves the trustworthiness of teaching authorities. Livestreaming in OTT platforms can increase credibility for educational providers as they can directly communicate and teach their students over video interaction. In return, students can provide their direct feedback and ask any queries that may arise during the teaching process without affecting the convenience of either. The Edtech industry hugely relies on this feature to deliver education to their students as both can instantly communicate, resolve doubts and collaborate, which is beneficial particularly in cases of difficult subjects.
4) Monetization Through Subscription Models (AVOD, TVOD, SVOD): The success of the ed-tech industry has cemented the position of educational videos as a credible source of learning for students. Monetizing educational videos can ensure long-term revenues for educational providers and allow learners the freedom of choice in selecting the intensity of course, budget and requirements. Students can opt from payment models for OTT platform options such as:
A. SVOD (subscription video on demand): This subscription-based model allows unlimited access to content for a payment made on a monthly basis to the student. This is a great model for those types of learners who have limited time to consume educational content and wish to do it at their own pace. It allows the learners the flexibility to opt out of the subscription when they have met their requirements or at their convenience.
B. TVOD (transactional video on demand): In the transactional video on demand type of model, learners consume educational content on a pay-per-view basis. Generally, OTT has two types of TVOD models, which include electronic-sell-through (EST) where payment is done once for permanent access and download-to-rent (DTR) where a comparatively lesser amount is paid to gain access to a video for a limited time. After paying for a specific course, students would have access to the full content or for a limited time which they can choose to go through according to their convenience.
C. AVOD (advertising-based video on demand): In this payment model, learners donâ€™t have to pay for the content, instead they have to watch unskippable advertisements to compensate for the free content. This feature makes the platform highly beneficial for those who are constrained by budgetary issues. One of the most commonly found examples of educational AVOD model is YouTube.
5) Content & Platform Security & Privacy: For students to access educational content, they would require authorization through a user-login system which would verify their authenticity and if they have paid for the services availed by them. Security features like password protection, encryption protocols, secure and private hosting etc should be enforced to provide both educational content providers and learners with a secure user experience and protect them against online threats within the platform. Also, measures like data rights management (DRM) help OTT platforms avoid getting their content duplicated.
How OTT Can Expand The Dimension Of Learning
1) Encourages Engagement & Interaction: Learning is a process that is incomplete without engagement and interaction between the teacher and learner. Educational OTT platforms enable interactivity among learners and education providers with features that allow students to participate in quizzes, assignments, raise questions in online discussion boards and ask queries during live classes by clicking on the â€œraise handsâ€ feature. The teacher is notified by the platform when a student clicks on this feature which helps them to instantly clarify their queries. The platform also facilitates collecting feedback from students that can significantly help to assess the effectiveness of education being imparted by a specific teacher or an educational video. This feedback would assist educational content providers in decision-making regarding improving and selecting material and teachers for their videos.
2) Better ROI: Content creation for educational videos requires a notable amount of financing and resources from idea initiation to its final upload. By utilizing the digital aspect of the educational OTT platform, it can be used to reach wider audiences that help to earn revenue for extended periods of time. As compared to traditional forms of teaching, where only a few number of students are able to realize the benefit of classroom teaching, virtual classrooms maximize the benefits of education delivered by subject experts. A large number of students are able to join live sessions from distant areas who are willing to spend a considerable amount of fees for quality education, thus improving the ROI for such OTT platforms.
3) Convenience For On-Demand Learning: A major share of learners that use educational OTT platforms belong to the category that are looking to upskill their abilities and may already be engaged in work commitments. Such platforms allow them to study at their own pace within the comfort of their own choice of place. This featureâ€™s convenience attracts a diverse group of people as they get to enjoy the freedom of choosing how they want to learn, what degree of education they want to study, from whom they to study and where they want to learn from educational OTT platforms.
4) Content Repurposing: Education in the form of digital content allows the ability to alter and use it for repurposing to create content for varied topics. As academic content can be in the form of informational videos, live-streamed content, discussions, etc., OTT providers can use existing videos to create relevant content for fresh topics. This aids content developers to save resources, time and finances and have new material ready without external efforts.
5) Affordability: One of the great barriers to accessing quality education is its expensive nature. People dealing with budget constraints or belonging to the lower income group often face a complete stop in completing their education as expensive fees become a prominent issue. One of the prime advantages of educational OTT platforms is that with the help of varying payment models available, students can choose a payment model that suits their financial position. When compared to purchasing entire modules of books for studying, payment models for educational OTT platforms prove to be more economically feasible.
6) Remote Learning & Accessibility: The pandemic in 2020 made the entire society formulate new solutions to counter the sudden stoppage of education delivery in schools and colleges. This is where the ed-tech industry stepped in to fill in the gaps. It made everyone realize the importance of remote learning as it made it accessible to students who were not in a position to travel far to schools and colleges. Educational OTT platforms provide learners with vast and diverse content libraries in a centralized platform where they can choose from many options at their convenience.
As educational OTT platforms pave their way to increase their role in providing academic services, the introduction of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning etc will enhance its capabilities to provide immersive learning and in-depth knowledge to its learners. An effective platform is crucial to support vast content libraries, support interactive features and provide powerful processing capabilities to constantly filter out inappropriate data and safeguard it against online threats. Oodles Technologies can support you in developing your own OTT platform solution for your dynamic and unique business requirements. We offer innovation-driven tech-based solutions that can help you elevate your business performance and achieve operational excellence. Contact us today.