nspite of the technological advancements, the traditional classroom approach was followed by the schools since the pre covid stage.
The biggest innovation that was in place was the smart classroom with the LCD projection of youtube videos.
Few teachers felt traditional teaching can’t be replaced at all by the technologies like AI but never ever would have thought that an invisible virus would stop it from happening for a while.
But one thing I believe as a teacher is that the liveliness that a human being can create on their learners is something that the machine may take a while to adapt. Being a researcher and practitioner of learning technologies, one thing i have realized during this lockdown period is that teaching can be made better through the online platforms only if the teacher has some aura in them.
The digital generation gets distracted very easily when it comes to the online learning environment as there can hardly be any strict surveillance of their presence during the lecture.
The institutes that have hesitated for flipped learning methods for a long time have quickly adopted to the same when there is a disruption. This is primarily due to the fact that the disruption is a prolonged one. But in the past we have repeatedly said the same reason that “we couldn’t complete the portions due to lack of time”.
If we would have practised a bit of flipped sessions that time itself, we would have made wonders. The hesitation was not only from the teachers alone, even students were of the feeling that anyhow they are attending the classes why should they learn something online. So what is going to be the game-changer in the post covid era? The key aspect that we should be focusing upon is the learner engagement. Faculty must be extra cautious with the question that may arise “why should I come in person to attend the classes?”
Learner Engagement is the key issue that we may face in the post covid era because of the exposure to the online learning tools. The learners got the flexibility in learning that too at their own pace with respect to an online learning environment. The biggest factor that was preventing self directed learning these days was the applicability of the certifications achieved through these platforms. Moreover, until these days full fledged course offerings through online platforms are at the nascent stage and were recently introduced only at the PG level courses in management. However, with the students of regular courses in engineering, arts and science facing problems with respect to employability, there could be a thought on offering these courses partly online and partly offline in the near future. So, the institutes should focus on quality learning that happens once the students step into their classroom and lab sessions and it is the only way to keep the values of the institutes high.
Faculty as Facilitator
“Educational institute should be learner centric rather than teacher centric” is a debate that lasted for more than a decade. At last, the time has come in order to ensure that by enforcing stringent measures to transform teachers into facilitators. The importance of flipping the learning is realized by the institutes across the globe to produce the employable graduates. These flippled sessions usually enable the learners to learn the basic contents online through video lectures, PPTs, etc. and the high order thinking based problems are solved with the help of the teachers during the live interaction with students. In this entire process the teacher acts as a facilitator for learning by the way of guiding the learners in what to learn rather than how to learn. Another important aspect of any learning activity is the qualitative assessments and identifying the lapses in the attainment of outcome. Teachers play that role better than anyone else, however, for the given number of students in a class giving personalized advice for the students would hardly be possible for any teacher. Hence, the future demands an automated solution that assists the learner in exactly identifying their lapses and the corresponding action to be taken for that. With the learners becoming familiar to the online learning these days, the institutes should incorporate the online learning platforms to augment their classroom based learning and enable online assessments in the years to come to give necessary indications about the learners’ learning ability. This would thwart any derailing student from going to the extreme of dropping out from the education.
Investment on education and its returns
The huge investment on Infrastructure and Manpower by an education institute should reflect in the livelihood it creates for its students and the society at large. With the governments struggling to fund the scholarships and the lost job/business of the parents, the education becomes a burden for the lower and middle income groups. A recent survey on the western media highlights the impact of education on creating the opportunities for the students and deciding the lifestyle of the learner based on that. Investing on courses that doesn’t have any future scope or investing on the institute that doesn’t provide the opportunities in the branches that has a better scope are of no use.Its high time parents need to choose the right course and right institute for their wards as the investment in these tough times should pay the return after 3 or 4 years.
(Authored by Dr. V.R. Raghuveer, Principal, Indore Institute of Science and Technology)