Reinventing education

To say that the Covid 19 pandemic has disrupted learning is an understatement. The forced closure of educational institutions has resulted in an abrupt end to education as we have known it. This has pushed school managements to evolve and develop digital learning tools. For over a year now online education has become the buzzword. The pandemic has pushed schools across the world to adapt to online teaching. In every new initiative there are bound to be hiccups but once a pattern sets in, both teachers and students benefit from online teaching. Experts suggest that the greatest advantage of the online education system is that knowledge can become global. In India at present institutes like IITs, IISc and NITs have globalized online education while universities have tried to nationalise their online education system. With the third Covid wave looming, many countries foresee a long term shift away from the classroom and adapting to better online learning modules. However this shift is not without its challenges. Experts believe that the unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation is bound to result in a poor user experience that is not conducive to sustained growth. Others however are of the view that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with significant benefits. The integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and online education will eventually become an integral component of school education
There are, however, challenges to overcome. Students in distant villages without reliable internet access and/or technology struggle to participate in digital learning. This gap is seen across countries. But those with access to the right technology have benefited. Research shows that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. This is mostly due to the students being able to learn faster online; e-learning requires 40-60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom setting because students can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose. In recent times there have been raging debates about a learning app developed by a particular educational institution for schools in Meghalaya that follow the MBoSE curricula. As with every new initiative there are teething problems for teachers and students since adaptation requires time and a mindset change. Not all teachers can transition to online teaching with the same speed. It’s a new learning for teachers as it is for students. But time is the greatest teacher and soon the students, teachers and parents will experience the benefits of such apps and laud the efforts of the app developer.

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