A lot of people say that online education cannot compete with/replace the conventional education system. As it is a new concept the number of students that prefer digital learning are scant. What people fail to see is that learners are edged with the opportunity to interact and gain knowledge from renowned instructors of different universities.


The epic “Mahabharata” is renowned for all unbelievable/unimaginable events. This online education was also practiced at that time. Dronacharya, the most celebrated tutor of that era trained under him the princes of the Kuru dynasty. But he had one very special student. This mentor- student pair is very famous and stands as an example for how practice makes perfect. You might have guessed it by now, its Ekalavya. We all know the story of Ekalavya, but how does it relate to online studies?

Ekalavya would watch Ashwatthama (Dronacharya’s son) getting trained under Dronacharya and would practice those skills. In this scenario, Ashwatthama can be compared to a medium i.e., internet from where Ekalavya learned archery and eventually became an expert archer although he lost his right thumb.

Two things are of relevance here:

  • The fact that Ekalavya was so eager to upskill that he was not willing to let go of any opportunity to learn
  • Following the instructions of an authorized teacher, even though he might not be physically present to guide or instruct

The urge to learn is something that comes from one’s own interest and the opportunity to fulfill it is being made possible through online education and MOOCs.

Over the past few years, digital learning is gaining tremendous momentum and the government is also doing its best in promoting this. There is a significant increase in the enrollment rates to these online programmes but still, there seems to be some resistance. If low enrollment rates are what is discouraging you from taking to digital learning, just remember, “Since there are a hand full of ambitious students like Ekalavya, the online subscription seems to be less”. So, one need not be discouraged and can hop on to explore the amazing opportunities that digital learning has to offer.

[This blog was written by Harish Mahadevan, Transcriptionist, IIMBx ]

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