For the education industry the pandemic is a lesson in change, tech adoption

India has the world’s second largest education system, after China. From being traditionally dominated by classroom teaching and lack of digital infrastructure, it has transformed itself at a rapid pace to adapt to the vacuum created since the onset of Covid-19.

Prior to 2020, traditional learning methods maintained a stronghold. Since last year, the Indian educational system has evolved significantly, and e-learning has acquired substantial traction in the country. Online education or e-learning has forged its way deep inside the education sector (at all levels), backed by the rising momentum and extraordinary growth in internet usage.

Adapting to change

A resilient education system is one that can rise up to the challenge in times of adversity. UNESCO studies found that approximately 320 million school and university level learners were affected in India alone last year.

This year, universities, schools and educators quickly got to work on transforming their outlook from a no-electronic devices approach to leveraging technology platforms and tools for delivering lessons to every student across the country. Though there are students still out of schools in large numbers, the education sector was largely able to provide holistic learning to students using various mediums like the internet, television and radio. Innovating constantly to cover students in the remotest parts of the country and not just the urban technology savvy population was their biggest achievement.

While commercial digital learning solutions have received accolades for providing the much-needed infrastructure for digitization of education, the contribution of educators in ensuring the best pedagogical practices are maintained during online learning and upskilling themselves quickly to learn new tools and techniques has been exemplary. In terms of higher education, the system has evolved and leads to holistic development of students in the long term:

  • Improvement in collaborative work – From being merely instructional, the new system encourages students to collaborate and work in groups using technology tools.
  • Use of e-books and soft copies – This is a move towards greater sustainability since use of paper is being reduced.
  • Rise in digital literacyStudents and teachers have adapted to the use of digital technologies.
  • Improved exposure – There is greater collaboration across borders, providing access to and increasing the exposure of students to international experts, journals, research and other resources.
  • Efficient Utilization of time – Technology has enabled better management of time among students as well as teachers.
  • Distance learning The demand as well as acceptance for open and distance learning courses have improved, making it possible to learn from different resources and need-based customized lessons or learning programs.

Rising trend of Enterprise Education

The educational system of a country is very important as it prepares the youth so that they join the workforce and contribute towards adding value to the economy. Enterprise education is the new demand of the modern era and it provides an opportunity to the students to choose a field and acquire business qualifications.

Enterprise education is not only helpful in choosing a profession for the students but facilitates the all-around development of the students. With an increasing population, it is necessary that education be tailored towards employability for the students so that they can achieve their objectives. Enterprise education equips students with the skills, knowledge and attitude required for building their own business. It encourages them to set up their own venture and become successful entrepreneurs, generating employment opportunities.

Technology-led learning will remain

The academic year 2022 is set to provide a great opportunity for tutors to consider when it’s time to return to the physical classroom, how digital tools may improve teaching and learning. Teachers will be able to integrate and combine the best of both worlds of virtual and face to face physical classroom teaching.

In terms of upcoming trends, blended and hybrid learning is here to stay. Incorporating digital aspects into daily lessons will provide students with an engaging and interesting experience. Hybrid and HyFlex (a combination of hybrid and flexible) learning, on the other hand, will provide a great opportunity for students in the classroom as well as those connecting from home to concurrently explore the prospects given by EdTech tools. It would not be a surprise if 3D animations, VFX (Visual Effects) and Virtual reality substitutes take over the delivery methodology completely. In the future, classrooms that have already moved to remote learning spaces can be further shifted to virtual reality giving a living experience and real-life learning.

Focus on Students’ Choice and Preferences

Strengthening and implementing student-centred learning is critical for the future of education. The watchword that governs the future trend of providing great education to students is flexibility in learning. Given that each student is unique, with their array of choices and skills, they will benefit immensely from flexible learning patterns in the future.

(The writer Managing Director- RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University)


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